Honestly, I thought my coach was crazy. Did he just meet me?
In discussing my track workout for the week, he noted that the last time I did 600 meter intervals, I noted they were hard. So what does he do? Give me faster times to run.
“I want you to go anaerobic,” he said.
Perfect. If anaerobic includes blacking out during the run, we would have no problem.
Actually, there was a bit of a problem. I was running with Sue and we wondered if wasn’t going to be too cold to run outside. Nope. The edict was to do everything in our power to run outside.
So I bundled up and headed over to the track. It was all of 27 degrees. There was some whining. But I tried to look for the positive notes:
- There was no wind.
- The sun was starting to rise and it was a beautifully clear morning.
- This would make us tough. This would make us strong. This would be our secret training.
I decided I would just run hard. I let go of what the result may be. If I missed my times, I missed my times. It was going to be difficult and it was going to suck. No way around it. So, let’s just leave it out there and move on with the rest of the day.
But a funny thing happened on that first interval. I was faster than the range my coach had given me. In fact, my first 600 was eight seconds faster than No. 1 should have been.
This is not completely unusual for me. I tend to run the first interval too fast as I continue to learn pacing. I’d slow up on the second one.
Interval No. 2 felt good. I checked the watch. I added one whole second.
And so it went. I pushed the last 100 meters in each interval, telling myself to dig deep. Out of eight intervals, five of them were faster than the prescribed times.
I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. Faster is better, but (a) I was given those target times for a reason that’s much more scientifically based than I can understand and (b) this might mean that he’ll have me run even faster next time.
But then again, something wonderful seems to be happening. I’m running faster. How the heck did that happen?
Props have to be given to my coach who seems to know just how far to push me, just where my limits are, and challenges me without breaking me. He seems to know better what my body might be able to do than I am. I’m learning, but his guidance and progression certainly have made a difference.
There is a cumulative affect to fitness. Approaching the completion of my first year of regular track workouts, the results are starting to show. Speed work isn’t particularly fun. It hurts. A lot. But it hurts for short periods of time. During the 600 intervals, all I thought about was giving a hard effort for three minutes, knowing that I could do anything for just three minutes.
Equally as important has been my recent trend of tuning out my Garmin. Oh, I love the device and I love the feedback it gives me. But what I’ve learned about myself is that I’m far too judgmental for constant immediate feedback. I’m learning how to run on feel – and learning that my mind and body can work together rather well, if I just trust the run.
Letting the easy runs be easy keeps me fresh, builds my aerobic base and gives me more strength. This I’ve known for the past three years. But the what I know intellectually is starting to sink in on a more intuitive basis.
And I’m starting to let go and trust my instincts at a more regular and deeper basis.