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Crunching numbers

If you would bear with me, please, I would like to do some number crunching. You see, we runners tend to nerd off in the general direction of digits from time to time, especially when it comes to interval training. I have never met at runner who likes intervals. Everybody hates it. But if you want to become a better and faster runner, this is exactly how you need to train from time to time. It increases your speed and your lactate threshold, it improves your posture and increases your resistance to pain, and absolutely most importantly: it forces you out of your normal “mellanmjölkstempo” as it’s called in Swedish. I.e. your relaxed and sheltered comfort zone.

Time to head down to Bislett Stadion for some laps. Since the sun sets only ten minutes after it has risen here in Oslo, it was dark as usual. Discarding the packed tracks that are “inside” the stadium building and are used during the dark winter months, I headed outdoors into the center of the familiar stadium itself. No spotlights were lit, but there was ample light from the street lights outside casting a warm, golden glow over the tracks. The rain was less than a drizzle but more than a moisture in the air, meaning ideal circumstances for me. Don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I simply love running in the rain. And I was completely alone.

And here come the numbers.

15 min warm up down to the stadium, including 1,5 calm laps inside, followed by 6x800m intervals with 60 sec of rest inbetween. Average time per lap: 3:21 mins (4.12-pace), flooring it during the final lap (3:08 mins = 3.55-pace), reaching 96% of my maximal heart rate. Finally a calm run home, finishing the 9,5k in 56:20.

The trick is to hold the same pace during each and every lap, not choking during the final two because you overdid it starting out. You should always try and finish the last lap the quickest, even though your lungs are burning and your legs are stiffening up. Cause that’s what builds confidence and helps you defeat your opponent in a sprint!

Heart Rate (HR) and time in intensity zones, increasing from left to right. Notice the HR being pushed up a notch from interval to interval.

Speed and total distance.

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