Posted by: Drew | January 23, 2007

Intervals at Equivita 1/22

During my workout at Equivita last week, I spoke with my trainer about wanting to improve my cardio fitness by incorporating intensity intervals.  She said they would come up with a good/safe workout to help.  When I went in last night, we talked about what they’re going to have me do (at least for the next week or so).

“Good form is the baseline for good running, and for right now if you don’t have good form I don’t want you running.”

Sounds simple enough.  Run two minutes at a bit under mile pace (pushing at maybe 7 or 8 on the scale of perceived exertion – I chose 8:00 mile pace) followed by one minute of recovery walk.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

My first two reps of this routine were excellent.  Form was good, steps were relatively soft, and nothing was hurting or sore.  Halfway through the third rep, my steps started to get a bit heavy.  I did my best to fix it, and plowed through the final 60 seconds.  I extended the walk to 1:30 to get my breath back and make sure all my muscules were properly stretched. 

I had barely gotten into the fourth rep (I was running a bit slower now, maybe 8:13-8:20) when I started to sound like a herd of horses running through an asphalt parking lot.  I made every effort to control the roll of the foot from the heel strike through to the pushoff, but the muscles in my shins were cramped up a bit and on fire.  Horses it would have to be.  When I slowed for my fourth walk, even my walking was loud.  We had pushed those shin muscles (I don’t know what they’re officially called) to the point of exhaustion and once my heel hit the ground the rest of my foot quickly followed.

I started the fifth rep, going even slower at this point (maybe 8:50-9:00).  It was clear to me that while good form was the goal, my form was going to hell in a handbasket.  I made about 1:30-1:45 in, and we called it a day.  I did a cool down walk for a few minutes, and then we moved on to the rest of the workout.

My total time on the treadmill was 17:00, and I covered 1.54 miles.  I am to only do this workout up to a 1.5 miles for the immediate future, three times a week.  I have no doubt that I could finish a four mile race at this point (time not being an issue), but I know that as winter turns into spring and summer I’ll need to focus again on distance if I’m to run in a 10K and a half marathon.

I feel that it will take a good mental attitude to get through these workouts.  The quick time turnarounds (2 min / 1 min) and intense concentration on form will keep my brain engaged during the training, and I’m hopeful that the muscle pain will become less as things go on.  I didn’t expect running to be easy, and this will be a good mental test. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun.  I enjoy pushing myself and proving that I can do things I didn’t think I could.  But this style of training is something that most normal people I don’t think would choose on their own.  I’ll be interested to see how the form/intensity workouts improve my overall running as time goes on. 

Next run is planned for Thursday.  To make it easier on me in regards to maintaining pace and not running on ice, I’ll probably do the run at the YMCA.

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