Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing around with intervals, but my stunted little legs aren’t really built for proper speed, and I always get a bit confused when I see interval sessions written down (“3×400:34×900 divided by infinity:chicken”).
So I just decided to adopt a slightly slower/longer approach, and I’ve found myself doing tempo intervals, which are definitely a Thing.
I basically just do a 10k, but alternate every mile between slow and fast. It’s probably not giving me any of the benefits I’d get from proper interval training, but what it does give me is something to focus on while I’m ambling along. The funny thing is, despite the fact that I run half of it at a gentle jog, I’m finding myself edging dangerously close to a 10k PB, which I’m pretty sure isn’t supposed to happen during an interval session. If this is the way that I run fastest (rather than the consistent pace that humans aim for), then I’ll have to adopt it as my race strategy, which will inevitably lead to me getting punched. Think about it: if you were in a race, and a sweaty grinning buffoon kept overtaking you and then dropping back behind you THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE BLOODY RACE, you’d assume they were trying wind you up.
The thing I’ve not quite decided on with these tempintervals (catchy, eh?) is whether to start off fast or slow.
If I start fast, then the sequence will go: FAST / SLOW / FAST / SLOW / FAST / SLOW.
Whereas if I start slow then, funnily enough, it’ll go: SLOW / FAST / SLOW / FAST / SLOW / FAST
Except it doesn’t. In reality, if I decide to start off slow, I’m almost certainly guaranteed to accidentally speed up (especially as it’s all downhill from my house) and then run a little bit slower during the fast bit to try to balance things up. From there it quickly goes wrong as I try to compensate and end up doing sums in a brain that is only really designed for crayons and soft mushy food.
I think it’s probably best if I start off fast. At least that’ll lend itself well to the downhill bit at the beginning, and then if I’ve got anything left in the tank by the time I get to the last mile, I can allow myself to step it up to a quicker pace.
The day I learn to run without imposing a load of needlessly-complicated rules and caveats is the day I become a grown-up. I can’t see it happening any time soon