Saturday, August 21, 2010

Having doubts running 1:1 intervals

I went running this morning with a few other women from my running group up at Annadel.

It was fantastic!

The fog was lifting above the lake .... and it felt magical! It was just under five miles but it was indeed the best run I've had in a long time.

And as we were standing by our cars parked down at the bottom of the hill, Kathy lifted her hands up and shouted, "Wow! I feel like a runner!"

This woman is one of the top runners in our group. She was a top placer in her age group in our last half marathon race... and yet, she didn't even feel like a runner.

Lately, none of us have felt like runners.

The group I ran with this morning are currently in training for another half marathon but this time, we are doing something completely different.

We are all running one minute intervals with a one minute walk break in between.

This is a specific plan designed to build our endurance and to better our times by running faster at our next half-marathon. And not only that, but he promises we will be sprinting at the finish line because we will feel so good.

Who doesn't want that!?!?!?

Unfortunately, we are all feeling frustrated with the results.

We are worried we are moving backwards and not moving forward. Many long-time runners in my group fear they are losing their ability to run any further than a minute without needing a walk break, as they have conditioned their bodies and mind to only run one minute at a time.

That's unsettling.

But this morning's run reminded me of the joy I felt last winter running with my trail running group. Each Sunday, I would come home from a training run after running further each week than the previous week and feeling so giddy with excitement over my accomplishment.

It was empowering, knowing our physical limits exist, but are far beyond our psychological ones.

Last Sunday we ran 10-1/2 miles. (1:1 minute intervals and attempting to run two minutes slower than our normal pace which is difficult and so far I have not been able to accomplish that goal).

According to to the handbook, when we are done running, we should feel great and feel as though we can run even further.

And that's true. We can run further.

But we don't push ourselves.

Instead, we collect our keys and get into our cars and drive home and in a quiet way, wondering if we really will break our best speed at this next race with the slow pace we are going.

I am open to new experiences. I am always desiring to learn and improve. But there's this dull sense of dread of not really believing in this particular system.

I'm worried. Can I really improve my speed at this next race by using this method? Is this method only for beginners?

We won't know until we know.

In the meantime, I'm going to set aside for additional running beyond the 1 minute intervals and hope that doesn't mess things up.

The race is on 10-10-10 ..... which actually can turn out to be a very magical day indeed.

I'll keep you informed.


Tina @GottaRunNow said...

It's fun to experiment with new training ideas. We're both training for a 1/2. Mine's 10/17!

doodlegirl said...

Tina! That makes me so happy!!! I'm guessin' you'll be runnin' in Houston, while I'll be running in Healdsburg... heart of sonoma wine country. Check out this person's run from two years ago in Healdsburg. (you might skip the first minute or two...):

Amber said...


I am interested in learning how you do at racetime. My nephew runs 4:1s and he has shaved about 4 minutes off his previous race-times. Go for it! I realize you are nervous about it and you invest a lot of time running and nobody wants to go backwards in their training. GOOD LUCK!

Christine said...

Hi Shawn,
I think I'd probably feel the same way as you with this type of interval training, but I think you should just trust the trainer and give it a shot. What's the worse that can happen?... that it doesn't work for you and you don't finish as well as you thought you would have, right? There will be more races after this one. And the best that can happen is that it WILL work and you'll kick butt with your time! Either way, it's a learning experience, something different...

You can do it! : )

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Oops! Actually, I'm running the full and unfortunately, you've got that time stamp on here so I can't say that I must have been sleepy when I wrote that comment! It'll be in Denver.