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Tuesday 14 May 2013

Speed Session Fail ... but still a good day

Today was supposed to be a good, hard speed session. Well actually … yesterday was supposed to be this session, but after a couple of fairly intense cross country runs on consecutive days I’d had a rest day yesterday instead.

So … TODAY was supposed to be the good, hard speed session. It all started off well enough. I had 5 x 4 mins of 10k pace which was to be 6:30 – 6:45 min/miles with a minute rest, then 5 x 2 mins of 5k pace (6:20 – 6:30 min/miles) with a minute break.

After a warm up - including a run back to the car when I realised I’d left my sunglasses on (only realised when I went for a pre-run wee and nearly dropped them down the loo) – I set off. This pretty much set the tone for the entire session.

For some reason even my warm up wasn’t comfortable. I was doing a steady 8:30 – 9 min/mile which is a reasonably slow warm up pace for me. Stretched the warm up out a bit longer … maybe it was the heavy lunch I’d had a couple of hours earlier … or hayfever … or gnat fear. Was grasping at excuses to try and explain why I didn’t want to do a speed session.

Deep breath and pressed the lap button. Realised I was going a bit too quickly so adjusted my pace down, turned the corner and straight into a headwind. I pushed on, but I found I was tiring quicker than I should have been even with the wind. The seconds were taking forever to tick past and it felt like the 4 minutes would never end. Gasp … drag legs on … splutter … Finally the beep meant I could stop.

One minutes break REALLY didn’t feel like enough. Gave myself a mental shake. This is a speed session. It’s MEANT to hurt. Suck it up, buttercup.

Set off on the second lap … puff, pant. WHY is this feeling so hard? I know I can run this pace! I ran this pace at the end of my MARATHON for the sprint finish. Argh! I finished the lap with nothing left in the tank. Nothing.

I stopped for my minute to see how recovered I felt, but even TWO minutes later I was puffed out. I wasn’t going to manage 5 of these … let alone 5 x 5k pace intervals after these.

The feeling of failing at a speed session is even more extreme than the huge high after a successful one. But it wasn’t going to happen. There was a problem for some reason. Whether it WAS the heavy lunch, hayfever or just a bit under the weather, I wasn’t going to manage this session. Sometimes, doing the right thing just means knowing when NOT to run.

It wasn’t any less frustrating even so. I knew I could run this speed – in fact I’d run intervals at faster than this last week with only 15 seconds recovery, rather than the generous minute today.


I’d managed only 2 intervals, but that didn’t mean that this had to be a failed run. A failed run would be one where I trailed home not having bothered even trying. I’d tried and while I hadn’t done the session, I’d expected to, I still count any day that I run as a good day. It’s my ME time. My time I can please myself and not have to make inane conversation or pick up toys from the living room carpet or try not to get irritated when the car in front of me stalls at the traffic lights. My time to think my own thoughts and listen to my own breathing and the sound of my feet on the trail.

Any day I run is a GOOD day.

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