My weekly intervals session … the plan for this was half-a-mile warm-up, 400 metres on at faster than half marathon pace, 400 metres off (a gentle jog back to the start) x6 followed by a half-a-mile cool down.
Fairly simple and straightforward.
Because it was only 400 metres each time the perfect place to do this was around the football pitches. I knew from experience covering three sides of the track around the pitches was around a quarter-of-a-mile, therefore roughly 400 metres.
Perfect, I thought. That was, until, every blasted dog owner in the area decided that there and then was exactly the right moment to take their precious pooches out for their late afternoon constitutional.
“It’ll not touch you. It’s harmless” is a pretty empty promise. I don’t know that and I’m pretty sure the dog running after me wasn’t interested in just passing the time of day or swapping pleasantries.
Honestly, dog owners, if you see someone running please know that is most definitely not the right time to unleash your snarling beasts. To be frank, it is downright rude.
Anyway, as usual, the warm-up was clunky, laboured and very pedestrian. So bad, in fact, that I didn’t hold out much hope for the actual intervals.
Remember, I had to go faster than half marathon pace. My HMP is 11 minutes per mile, so I reckoned that something around 10:30 would be ok.
Maybe it was the annoyance and irritation at the dogs, but I did the first split in 9:30 min/mi pace.
The second was slower, 10:05, but that was because I had to reroute myself over some waste ground part of the way through because another bloody dog and it’s ignorant owner appeared just ahead.
Split three was faster than the first, 9:20, and I more or less maintained that pace for the fourth – 9:26.
These were much faster than they needed to be. I was beginning to get tired so did ease off a little for the final two – 9:56 and 9:44 – although these were dog affected as well. I’m not exaggerating, this was ridiculous.
Still, I had covered each split much quicker than I was required to do and found it not too challenging. I can’t say how much longer I could have maintained it, but it was still good to do it.
What was noticeable is that the 400 metre jog between each speed split was getting faster too. I never expected that but I suppose it’s a welcome by-product of the actual sprints themselves.
Likewise with the cool down run, that came in almost two minutes faster than the warm-up, yet felt a lot easier to do.