You’re so vain: The social perils of interval training


It seems that I can’t set foot on a treadmill these days without making a complete arse of myself (see here if you don’t believe me), and last weeks treadminterval™ session was no different.

The gym facilities at my place of work include a small cardio room, just big enough for a treadmill, cross trainer, rower and a couple of bikes*. It’s modest, but it does the job. Anyway, last week I was in the middle of a nice challenging interval session on the treadmill; 400m hard, 2 minutes easy, repeated as many times as I could fit in before having to get ready for work.

All was going well and as an added bonus I had the room to myself, which meant I could indulge myself in as much puffing, panting or singing along to 90’s europop as I wanted.

I’d done a couple of sets and was feeling refreshed as I coasted towards the end of my latest rest period. In a few seconds it’d be time for the machine to bump me from a sedate 9.5km/h to a more gruelling 15km/h. At that moment, the door opened and a couple of people walked in.

What I saw was someone being given a guided tour of the gym facilities by a friend, while I happily carried on with my intervals.

What they saw was a man on a treadmill. A man who had been plodding along at a conservative pace, but who was so desperate to show off that he whacked up the speed as soon as he had an audience.

Still, there was every chance they’d just put it down to coincidence, and wouldn’t actually think I was a complete dick after all.

…except that their little tour of the gym lasted precisely 2 minutes, and as they walked out of the room, one of them glanced over their shoulder.

What I saw at that moment was two people who happened to be walking out of the room as my session happened to drop me back into a recovery period.

What they saw was a wobbly, pasty-faced Narcissus who had grossly over-reached himself while trying to impress two ladies and who was gratefully slowing back down to a near-walk now that the coast was clear.

I think there was a head shake.

Now, in the past I’ve made no secret of my tendency to let a bit of social angst creep into even the happiest run. But in this particular incident the timing was just so damn perfect that, had our situations been reversed (and even knowing about interval training), I’d have thought I was an idiot too.

* and one of these infernal things…
EVERY gym has one. Usually accompanied by a queue of people who seem to think that it’s some kind of miracle machine that’ll give them an amazing six-pack in exchange for 2 minutes of flapping about like a stranded turtle.
PS: Don’t forget, you can follow me on twitter (@borntoplodblog) or check out my shibby new Facebook page. Or neither. Or both. It’s up to you really. 

4 thoughts on “You’re so vain: The social perils of interval training

  1. lol I get the same look with shake of the head from runners who see me after I have done 15 miles – they see a red faced weeble I see me in 6 layers having a hell of a sweat session

  2. Erm – I think I might have done it (set myself up with a blog that is) as am so in awe of your blogging splendidness. It’s erm – quite a bit trickier than I thought – but then to quote a colleague “I am completely computer illegitimate” (it’s true she did actually say this without meaning to).

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