I remember the day when I first ran an entire mile. An. Entire. Mile. I thought I was the shiznit, the boomdiggity. I mapped out a plan for myself, I thought that if I ran a mile every single day I could be one of the fastest people in the world. I remembered learning in grammar school math 101 that one mile was 5,280 feet, so what did i do? I busted out a ruler and set to measuring a circuit I could run inside my house. (I guess I couldn’t just find a tape measurer?) I figured out that if I ran around the dining room table and then looped around the perimeter of the living room it would only take me something like a billions laps to a mile. I told myself I should just do that every single night and soon I’d be setting world records.
Clearly I was idiotic, living inside a little fantasy world bubble, and going to be really dizzy. This little confession is made all the worse because it’s not like I hadn’t grown up seeing my parents run. How did it not dawn on me that every day my mom was gone for an hour plus, did I think she was running only one mile and then shooting the sh** the rest of the time?
The only point of my little moronic previous past story is that everything is relative. Then I though a whole mile was a great feat of strength (bust out the Festivus pole!) and now flash-forward and there are days I feel lazy for only putting in an hour and doing 8 miles. Funny how that works.
But it’s really easy to get sucked in. Running, and other things too, has a kind of snowball effect. One day you’re one cloud nine for finished a 5k the next you’d count that as a warm-up. One day you’re watching Two and a Half Men, the next you’re running around half naked dodging Sheen sh**. The snowball effect.
Personally, Im one speed Chock and like me the longer stuff. That slow build of pain is much better than the full on bodyslam of lactic acid straight from the get-go in my book. Well, that and probably in my entire body I’ve got about one fast twitch muscle fiber total.
Still, it’s always good to get back to your roots and not lose touch with those shorter distances. Even if you’re a marathon runner it’s good to toss yourself into a shorter 5k or *gasp* even a mile every now and again. The same goes with training, and I’m as guilty as anyone for avoiding short speed stuff like it’s the devil. But often times it’s what we hate the most that is the best for us, right?! hehe.
Anyways, this workout has the best of both worlds if you please. Awhile ago I did a post on how boring cross-training can get and talked about a pyramid interval workout. Here’s another one and I’ll map it out both to be done as a running workout on on the elliptical/bike/swim/your choice of cross-training here.
Running Style- 800/300’s
*Start with a warm-up
*800 meters hard (This is a half-mile for anyone who has yet to figure out that whole metric thing; two lappers for the track school flunkies.)
*400 meter recovery (take a slow lap to regroup)
*300 meter sprint (3/4 of the track people. I’m sure you know this but just to be extra sure…lol) *400 meter recovery jog
*Repeat. Do a total of 4-7 sets. 4 if you’re on the shorter race end of the spectrum and 7 if you’re planning on going longer. The 800’s should be at or a little faster than your 5k race pace but you want those 300’s to be as fast as you can get them. Working on your base speed will make those 800’s feel comparatively much ‘easier’ or ‘slower.’
*Finish with a good cool-down and stretching.
NOTE: if you don’t have access to a track, you can do them on a treadmill (Though those 300’s might put that baby thorough a decent pounding! A 300 would be 0.18 miles if you go that route. But you can also take it to the streets and if you know about your pace just go for time.)
Cross-training version- 3 minutes/1 minute
*Warm-up 10-15 minutes easy
*3 minutes hard interval- try and ramp-up the resistance a notch or two as well and work on getting that heart rate up; you want it to be hard but controlled, feeling like an 800 meter effort *2 minutes easy pedaling- lower the resistance a couple notches and keep moving but allow yourself to recover
*1 minute power interval- ramp the resistance back up and really motor that minute; should feel like a sprint
*2 minutes easy pedaling
*Repeat 4-7 times. Finish with a cool-down.
That’s all she wrote for today folks! But think back to when you thought one whole mile was the equivalent to climbing Mount Everest and look to where you are today. It’s usually pretty funny. I remember the day I came home from my mile effort (at that point I’d taken my mile outside and did a loop around the block, I meant laps in the house, what was I thinking?!) and was talking to my mom. She asked me how far I went, I told her and then I asked her how far she had run that morning. Her answer was a nice slap or reality. That and later on that summer the Oly Trials were in Sacto, CA and being that I lived there I was able to beg my way to a seat for one of the days. It was inspiring and helped put that whole mile=a marathon thing in perspective….hehe. Hey, at least I wasn’t as bad as the dude sitting next to me, he turned and asked, “So one lap around this track thing, that’s like a mile right?”
1) Do you remember the first time you were able to run a full mile and thought you were the boomdiggity?
2) How long until the snowball effect took you over and what do you think a ‘shorter’ run is for you today?
3) Favorite running, workout, or pump-up song?
Has been and will forever be The Distance by Cake.