Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Interval Training With J The Machine

on 28 March 2015

P1000977

Picture yourself driving down the motorway, you pass a pretty distinctive vehicle which is doing 10-20mph below the speed limit and just steadily pootling along. If you’re J, it might be a VW camper with the registration ‘Dipsy’, in whatever colour you like. You don’t think anything of it and continue on your merry way until you get to a services, you get out for a leg stretch and a drink, get back in the car and continue along down the road. A few miles further down, you once again pass a VW camper…the same one, except you really didn’t stop for longer than a few minutes right?! How has it got so far ahead of you in that time? If you prefer a more classical approach – read The Hare & The Tortoise, from Aesop’s Fables. Today, I was the hare and J was the steady-pacing tortoise!

The 10k loop by the river was on the cards for today, even with the blustery windy and wet weather. J suffered a few technology tantrums – her GPS watch took ages to finally latch on to the satellites (by which point mine had decided I obviously wasn’t going to be using it and switched itself back into standby – so my final watch count is 0.25km shorter than J’s after it picked up again!), and when her watch had finally established itself, her mp3 player was buzzing like crazy and none of the buttons were doing anything. It decided to behave only after a reset in the car at the end of the run – so she had to run sans music for the whole route.

J’s jogging pace is a little slower than mine, and as she wanted to try doing the 10km distance again, so I decided I would try doing intervals, the logic when I initially came up with this being that I could jog along at my pace, catch her up, and then drop back again. Feeling slightly more intact than expected after last week’s monster jog (ye olde front inner left shin going to need some foam-rollering though), I decided to try and use the opportunity to get my pace up over shorter distances. I’d walk for 2 minutes, then run (not just jog a bit faster) to catch up with J, then drop back again to walk for another 2 mins. The route is very very straight, so when J was still very clearly in sight after the first 2 mins walking, I decided to leave it to 5 mins, and then set off at a far too fast pace, which looking afterwards was 04:34min/km and not sustainable over any sort of distance when you’re in my shape. Back to the drawing board. I caught up with J again rather further along the path – probably halfway to Newburn by this point, and rather more out of breath than I would like to admit! She probably wouldn’t believe me but that steady miles-eating jog carries her further than she thinks! I did a short recovery jog with her, then dropped back again this time to walk for only 2 mins instead of the 5 I’d foolishly tried earlier.

In total, I did 9 intervals over the full route, with an average pace on the catch-ups of about 5:30min/km – a pace I’d like to be able to sustain longer than a few minutes at a time… I found this to be a really useful exercise for me, and I think it would be helpful to do again – especially as J is such a steady runner, and I’d like to try reducing the walk time to 1:30 instead of 2 mins, maybe after doing the 2 mins again – so I’ll have a shorter recovery time and a shorter running distance, but I’ll be run-run-running a higher proportion of the route. I also really need to figure out how to use the lap timer on my watch so I can do something similar on my own. I did find it a bit anti-social compared with when we’re normally doing a run together – usually we chat away pretty much the whole way round (hills excepting!), but hardly had breath between us for sentences doing it this way, even when we were running together – I think the most I got out of J for most of it was “cow” several times, whenever I dropped back to a walk stretch. She was kind enough not to comment on how out of puff I’d be whenever I caught back up again 😛

I think for J, it was a very good exercise in mental stamina! Especially as she didn’t have any music to bop along to, but she has proven she can do 10km again, and has also proven to herself she doesn’t need me as a pacer to push herself to get round it either! She only had one walking break at the halfway mark (compared with my several…) AND knocked almost 10 minutes off her time!!! What a trooper! I’ve got 1hr14 on my watch, which was started 250m later – and the time for the last run on this route and her first time doing the distance was 1h25m and several walking stretches! Definitely a star for the calendar 😛

28-3-15

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