on speedwork and ‘sprints’…

This week – Week 5- marks the start of the speed workouts. At least for the run part. Raise your hand if you like sprint workouts… I hear crickets. Anyone else hear that? 

Funny thing about us humans – we like being comfortable, right? I’m no different. Pushing those limits? Nah. I’m good here. On this couch. With this beer. And these salt and vinegar chips (What?! Where?). But in pushing ourselves, we improve. Somewhere between sweating and gasping for air and screaming lungs and wanting to cry (maybe just a little) – somewhere in there is something that allows us to become faster, stronger, better suited to compete, to survive and thrive.

Here’s the deal – generally speaking, speed workouts are a necessity if you want to get faster. And I do. Always. I’m always trying to beat myself. Old PRs? They’re only there so I can beat ‘em. Plus, over the years, I’ve found that speed workouts are a great way to mix up your runs and keep them from getting mundane (especially if you’re unfortunate enough to be relegated to the indoors for some awful reason… more on that later though).

Yesterday’s workout was a 15 minute warm up, and then 11 (yes, ELEVEN) 1 minute sprints with 2 minutes of active recovery in between each. Closed it out with a cool down (mine was about 10 or 12 minutes… I forgot to stop my watch so I’m not exactly sure). In all, 50-something minutes of running for me today.  Good stuff. 

Here’s a little snippet of conversation from inside my head today as I completed speed workout numero uno for the season (warning: the things that go on up here are commonly viewed by many as “crazy talk”. But we won’t let them get to us, now will we?).

Ummm, does this count as sprinting? 

It’s only a minute.

I wonder if I could outrun a squirrel…?

You only have to make it to that tree up there. See it? No, double-psych, now the next tree.

Finish this and you can have two whole minutes of recovery…!

Don’t think about the next one or the next two. Think about the fact that you’ve gotten one or two or five under your belt around.

Whoa, look at all of these worms half-squished on the trail. I could definitely outrun a worm. Definitely. 

One minute at a time.

Man, I’m breathing LOUD.

So what if passersby think you’re dying?

Good thing there’s no passersby…

Don’t be a wuss, you can take it. It’s only a minute. (sensing a theme?)

Fast feet fast feet!

Ok, it’s DEFINITELY been a minute now…

One more probably won’t kill you… but if it did, it would probably take DAYS for them to find you out here huh?

Man, I could use a nap.

What?! Only 32 seconds? @#%^!

So what if they can hear you breathing a mile away?

I FEEL fast. I wonder what I look like – do I LOOK fast? Ha, probably not…

This is how I survive – by telling my brain that even though my heart is pumping out 180 beats per minute and my lungs are heaving, this is a victory. I distract myself with baby steps – one sprint at a time, one minute at a time, one tree at a time. Oh look, a bird! If you ever feel overwhelmed with a workout, or heck, a work week (as we sometimes are), try to think small. Small milestones make it easier to achieve things and at the end of it you’ll be surprised at what you’ve managed to do despite yourself!  Good luck out there. Think positive and happy running! 

(PS- On a more serious side note, and in a somewhat of a disclaimer-type fashion, I’m not a physician and I’m not a personal trainer. I’m just a girl who happens to like running and who happens to be very familiar with my own personal limits (including just how capable my heart, lungs and legs are of pushing things to the limit). If you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to consult your doctor or an exercise professional or even a fit friend before you embark on any kind of super-intense workout or training program. Ask questions. And definitely don’t be afraid to start small and work your way up. One hundred and eighty beats per minute is not good stuff for everyone… know your limits and know where your “one hundred and eighty beats per minute” is… it’s different for everyone.) 

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