Sunday, 30 January 2011

Weekly Running Round Up - Introducing interval training & highs and lows

Hmm, well this isn't the weekly running report I was hoping to write. It's been a mixed week running wise and as I write this I am feeling a little bit disappointed and annoyed with myself. More on why a little later in this post.

First of all, this week I decided to introduce Interval training/running. I was going to wait until February, but was too curious and decided to give it a go.

So my first run on Weds was my first attempt at interval training.

What is interval training? AKA High Intensity Training

Interval running is where you alternate fast running and then slower running (or walking as in my case). And you repeat a set distance (or time) a few times like this.

I'd been reading up a little about it and there seems to be a lot of benefits to it:

  • It helps you to run faster for longer amounts of time, so on longer runs you will find your pace quickening (though I don't think it happens overnight!)
  • It's a time saver! You can get more out of 15 minutes interval running that you can out of 30 minutes slow running as you will be working much harder in a shorter amount of time
  • It burns more fat/calories than longer slower runs. It shakes your body up so it doesn't get used to the same old routine.
  • It will help speed up your metabolism so you burn up calories for longer periods compared to long slow runs.
  • It improves overall fitness by making your heart and lungs work harder.
  • It helps strengthen your muscles.

It all sounds good to me! Also, it's good to add a bit of variety to running.

I made my first attempt on Weds. I did about a 5 mile slow run warm up, chose a piece of flat road (which was about 100ft long), and started my intervals. I really enjoyed doing them!

On my long slow runs I tend to keep the same pace (as it's the only pace I can go on these runs!), and although of course I am moving my body, it's limited in movement compared to the movement on interval runs.

It was a great feeling to go flat out and put everything into a run, albeit over a short distance. My legs were lifted up high, I was using their full range of motions, my feet were lifted higher too, my arms were powering. Wow! I like it!

After a short burst of this running at effort level of about 8/10, I returned to my starting position with a brisk walk. Then repeated it again. Looking at the chart below I did this about 17 times, which I am honestly not sure if too little or too much, but it felt right.

Looking back on the data, there were times when I was hitting between 4-5 minute mile pace! Of course, I could never sustain that pace for any more than a very short time, but it's good to know, and was quite amazed.

This is my running route, just a few laps of a slow running pace, then the repeated intervals in the one area.

The next day I could really feel that my muscles in my leg had be used. It wasn't painful, but I was aware. And I couldn't wait to do it all again!

So the next day (Thurs) that's what I did. And I shouldn't have. I should have listened to my own advice about having a break between runs and waiting to recover, but I didn't. This second interval run didn't go so well. My legs were achy from the day before, but thought they would be ok after a warm up run. And when I started on the fast pace part of the intervals it was HARD WORK. The day before I was able to put in an effort of 8/10, but on this run it was more like a 5/10. My fast pace was a lot slower too.

It was too much too soon. I knew better and but ignored my better judgement. I didn't give myself enough time to recover from the first run and my body was telling me that too. You can have too much of a good thing and I got carried away.

Today (Sunday) I must admit to not being in the mood for a run. I had a fab night out last night at a party and although didn't have a lot to drink, and got home before 1am, I was just feeling a bit tired out. I managed to talk myself into getting my running gear on and eventually got in the mood to run. And THEN, no sooner had I put my trainers on, my left foot started to hurt. It's a bit hard to explain but it felt a bit like cramp. I adjusted my trainer, and tried to walk it off, but it was having none of it, so I have returned home defeated.

So, a good start to my running week, then a dodgy middle bit, then a very disappointing end. Trying to look on the bright side, I have learnt a lot from this week.

  • I really should listen to my body and my instincts and remember my knowledge
  • One interval run a week is enough!
  • I'm still a beginner at running really and must remember that

On a more positive note I went to Hula Hooping class again! It's only my third week and I noticed a big improvement already, which is always a bit of a boost. I can keep the hoop going for long around my waist without it falling to the floor. It still does drop to the floor, but not as often. And whilst it's going around my waist I can now dips my hands in and out without knocking the hoop. I couldn't not do this at all on my first attempt.

So a mixed week. I think the important thing to take from it is remember what I've learnt, and realise that not every run is going to be the best one. There will be highs and lows to come no doubt and I've got to learn how to deal with them in a positive way :)

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