Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back to the Track - Intervals/Fartlek

Three days ago - we established a benchmark for running (not jogging) one hard mile....

7:09 - which was not that impressive for someone that 20 yrs ago could click of 20+ miles at 6 minutes a mile.

Oh well - it is what it is and every journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step. So, we will now leave the glory days behind and start from where we are at.

Today - it was quarter mile intervals. This is one lap around the track hard, then a jog around the track, then a hard lap, then a walk/jog, etc.

The four quarter mile intervals were as follows:

Interval 1 - 1:57
Interval 2 - 1:42
Interval 3 - 1:34
Interval 4 - 1:37

This is actually a pretty good pattern - the idea is to actually run each interval faster than the one before. It's a discipline thing. It is also a test of the mind and the will. Each interval gets harder to do because you are, theoretically, still feeling the effects of the interval before.

If interval 4 had been at 1:30 - it would have been the perfect set for the first day of interval practice. I would have ended with an interval that was exactly on pace of a 6 minute mile.

One mile in 6 minutes - is now my goal. I am almost 48, 5'7", and weighing in at a 4 yr high of 180 pounds. Obviously, as some weight comes off, the engine won't have as much to pull around that track. If I use the same amount of heart/will that I used this morning (and, yes, I was gutting out that last interval), the 6 minute mile should easily fall by the time I turn 48 at the end of August

"What about your pulse rate, Nutster?" - I know. You are concerned. Immediately after completion of a couple of the intervals, I was pushing 200 - 210. Any book that you read is going to tell you that is WAY up in the anaerobic threshold range and will discourage you from being there.

Here is what I know about my own body - a lot of good things start happening when I start delving into the anaerobic workout. The downside is that, theoretically, one's heart could explode. I am kind of thinking, and have always thought, that most of us have an interior governor that prevents that from happening. In other words, you can only go so long for that hard and then you have to stop.

Trust me - at the end of each quarter mile, I was at the point where it was all I had and it was time for a walk.

The Scandanavians - have a term for intervals. It is called fartlek. You run for a while, jog for a while, run, walk, skip, run, jog, walk, etc for as long as you want. It is an effective workout.

Running is something that I can do - jogging doesn't get it for me. Under the heading, "be your own doctor," the slow pounding of jogging causes too much downward pressure on my feet. It aggravates a slightly arthritic condition right where my big toe hits into my foot. I tried an orthotic for awhile but it didn't seem to be the solution. A faster motion that keeps the weight moving more forward rather than down seems to be OK.

We'll see - how things react this time. I am pushing a lot of weight around on my frame right now. I lost 30 pounds about 4 years ago....funny thing....I found 25 of them.....and I wasn't even looking!

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