The plan today was to inject a bit of quality into my training so I opted for an early morning steady run (5 miles at about 6-20 pace) with a run later in the day that would be an interval session of some sort. 800m reps seemed a good option but as the usual courses would be more like wind tunnels I decided a trip to the woods was in order.
As the session approached I thought of some of the sessions we used to do up the woods with a group of us who at the time were running for New Marske Harriers. The favourite session was a set of 1k intervals with a 1k jog back recovery. I remember the sessions well and they certainly brought my running on as I was running with some experienced and quality runners. Maybe those sessions were worth more than the physical benefits as I have always enjoyed the sort of efforts like that and the feeling that a hard set of intervals leaves you tired, motivated and buzzing from the high that your body has experienced.
Today I was looking to do 8 x 800m with a 2 min recovery. Years ago I would have needed to search out the markers on the tree trunks to tell us every 200m point. The Garmin GPS has made this sort of session much easier and I pre-programmed my watch with the session in mind. Modern Technology certainly has it's advantages. One thing that hasn't changed though with the advent of all this technology is the effort required to do a hard session. This still needs to come from within! I often wonder how my training might have been different if I had access to the range of features and feedback that you can get from the garmin. Who knows! For a while in the mid 90's I was desperate to break 33 minutes for 10k and the more I tried the more it seemed to evade me. I ran about eight 10k's on the trot where I was low 33's and thought it would never happen. In my frustration I decided not to worry about it anymore and ran the Chester Zoo 10k with no watch to refer to, no mile splits to worry about and a sense of freedom to run how I felt!. As we turned the last bend with the finish about 200m or so away I saw the clock at 31:50 and sprinted home in 32.26 (think I was outside the top 10 and nowhere near the prizes but I didnt care as I had finally cracked the 33!). I only achieved this once again in a race at Stafford where I equalled my Chester Zoo time......sometimes it just feels right!
Todays session felt hard and I needed to dig deep...it was also pretty busy on the woods path. I started the 800s positively with a 2:43 followed by three consecutive 2:41's. The next two were a little slower (2:44 and 2:45) partly because of a near incident with a poodle type thing (Grrrr!) and a couple of 6 year olds with parents on mini quad bikes added into the mix! Rather than slip the quality I decided to think on my feet (with a quick re-programme of the GPS) and set out to finish the session with a 4 x 400m with 90 secs recovery. Managed these fine but kept these at slightly under 2:40 (800m) pace.
Overall generally pleased to get the session in but probably not going to read too much into the pace I ran. Sometimes you just need to get a bit of quality in and doing the session on my own always makes it a bit harder.
I couldn't help admire the skill of the Barcelona team last night but also interested in the stats produced by ITV with km run per player....my betting is Ji Sung Park might make a half decent marathon runner one day!