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Toughening up

You know what? I HATE running intervals. My head always feels like it’s about to implode, my panting comes in painful ragged breaths and I feel that the amount of lactate my legs are producing could fill an Olympic swimming pool for every lap! And it HURTS!!! And you know another thing? I LOVE running intervals. I absolutely adore the feeling I get when I can hold a rapid pace and then accelerate during the last lap even though I feel like throwing up. And the glorious feeling after an interval session is absolutely awesome! I have a love/hate relationship with running. Do you?

I returned to the lovely Bislett Stadium last week for the first time in ages. Regular readers of our blog know that the old Olympic arena is our favourite place to practice intervals. A modest 6 x 800 m was scheduled for the day, with a 3k warm-up and 3k wind-down. The springy step you get when running on the classic rusty red tracks is phenomenal. I try to keep an even pace throughout – if my last lap is considerably slower than my first, I’ve done a crap job of pacing – with a 60 second break in between. The double laps clocked in at 3:09, 3:10, 3:09, 3:11. 3:08 and 3:07, which I was very happy with. A couple of years ago it was all I could do to run sub-3:30.

Bart Yasso is an American running legend and has been the Chief Running Officer for the American running magazine Runner’s World for many years. He is also the man behind the training program Yasso 800’s which theoretically can predict your marathon time. In short, the exercise consists of 10 x 800 m where you try to keep an even pace for each interval and then jog-rest easily for as much time that it took you to run the interval before you start the next one. Meaning if you can manage to run each 800 m interval in, say 3:20 min, and then jog lightly for 3:20 between every interval, repeating this ten times, you should be able to finish a marathon in 3 h 20 mins.

Six peaks of heartrate corresponding to 6x800 m intervals.

Six peaks of heart rate corresponding to 6×800 m intervals.

I’ll leave you with what is probably the best marathon shirt I have ever seen, courtesy of the T-Rex Runner whose blog I follow from time to time. If you’re in for a laugh or just want to read some very entertaining race reports from the US (she’s aiming for the 50 States, meaning a marathon in each and every state), visit her blog right here.

Best. Race shirt. Ever.

Best. Race shirt. Ever.

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