Toughing it out

Well, that was tough!

Today was intervals day, although they probably couldn’t really be called intervals on this occasion.

My plan called for 5 x 1k @ 10k pace which, for me, worked out at running each kilometre in around 6 minutes 40 seconds, so it was more a case of maintaining a certain speed over the distance rather than the short, sharp sprints of previous sessions.

I was joined by Bronagh, for which I was really grateful because I was dreading this. I knew she wouldn’t let me slack off.

To boost my confidence I looked at some previous 10k runs just to remind myself that I could do it but I still wasn’t sure.

Thankfully the conditions were a lot cooler than they have been recently, there was even a little drizzle, sheer bliss!

After our warm-up mile to the edge of the industrial estate – our ‘track’ was the dual carriageway – we set off on the first kilometre split.

Remember how I said the target time was 6:40? I did it in 5:59! I know, I know … my pacing went out the window, I shot off too quickly and I was surely going to blow up before too long. I felt awful after it, I was convinced there was no way I was going to be able to do another four of these.

Ummm. The second split, which I thought I was taking slower, came in at 5:58. Really, Martin? Settle yourself man.

I did for the third attempt, but only to 6:04. Logically I should have been starting to tire and therefore slow anyway, but this was another conscious effort to ease off and even then I was still way too quick.

Don’t be mistaken. I was delighted and encouraged that I was able to maintain this, but I was knackered, even if I was recovering pretty quickly after each interval.

Onto number four. I wanted to be more measured about this one and at least try to hit my target pace. I felt I started too slowly but after 500m I saw I was more or less bang on so I attempted to keep up that same tempo and, indeed, came in at 6:35 which was almost spot on. It felt a lot easier, like I had more left in my legs, and I felt fresher.

Number five was interesting. We ran along, chatting if you don’t mind, without paying hardly any attention to speed or distance with only the alert on my Garmin telling me the kilometre was up.

Granted we came in at 10 seconds over our time but this felt so easy and really demonstrated that our earlier exertions paid off. We knocked out a 6:50 kilometre with barely any thought and, strange as it may seem, I was so pleased with this precisely because it was so comfortable.

So what did I learn from today’s session? I learnt that I can thunder along at quite a rate for a kilometre, recover quickly from it and do it again.

I also learnt that I can go what seemed like a lot slower and still post a reasonable time. It was also another useful exercise in practising lengthening my stride which helped with my speed and effort.

If you would have told me I’d be feeling that way after the first split I wouldn’t have believed you! Perhaps I’m fitter, and possess more endurance, than I think.

Relive my run