Last Wednesday, I went to my first session of timed interval training. I was prepared to work hard and do my best. I was also mentally prepared to face and accept the possibility that I might be one of the weakest/least experienced members of the group – hence my moniker, “rookie runner”.
Turns out, I was absolutely right. We started out with some mobility exercises. I didn’t even know about these. It was all new, but informative and helpful. At the very least, I will take these new exercises away with me. And then we were off. We left the store for a little ‘warm-up’ run to the Spirit Trail where we’d be running our drills and intervals. Right away, as all the other experienced runners pulled away from me, I got the feeling that I was literally in a league of my own. I arrived at our training spot about third from last. “It’s okay,” I told myself, I knew this might happen. Coach Jerry introduced some warm-up drills which I was able to do just as well as anyone. That part encouraged me and I started to think, “Okay, this isn’t so bad…”
And then the intervals started. Progression Intervals: 3 sets of 4:30 – 3:00 – 1:30, with a 1:30 walk recovery between each hard run. Well… let me tell you… I got schooled!!!! The first thing I learned was that everyone else’s “slow” was my “fast”. I had runners passing me by with a “Hey, you doing okay???” Or a “Don’t worry! You’re doing great!!” Of course, I know everyone was just trying to be friendly and encouraging, and I really did appreciate it. However, let’s face it. I was dead last. Sigh…. One of the members actually ran back to ‘run along’ with me and explained to me that this was a group of well-seasoned runners – the type who win races. That made me feel a little better. I explained that I was a true beginner and I was sorry if I was holding everyone back. She told me not to worry and just do what I could. Well, that’s exactly what I did. I sped up when I could, but if I couldn’t maintain my pace, I just slowed down to what I could manage and just kept moving forward. I realized I was perhaps in over my head, but how else was I going to learn and get better? After all, this was the whole reason I signed up for these sessions – to learn and try to improve. I refused to give up and I did the best I could. I might have been dead last to finish each set, but at least I didn’t quit. I had no problem with the distances we were running. It was the pace that challenged me. I ran everything, just a lot slower than everyone else. I completed my sets. We did our cool-down exercises and then had an ‘easy’ run back to the store. My first session was over.
If there’s anything I learned last Wednesday, it’s that I can only go up from here. I’ve always known that speed is not my friend. I will never be a pace bunny. I’m just hoping that I’ll learn a few things along the way and I’ll try everything that we’re instructed to do. I also learned that it’s true what they say – runners are very friendly and welcoming. I did appreciate everyone’s words of encouragement. These sessions are a lot more intense than what I thought they would be. This is not a group of beginners, after all. But I’ll do the best I can. Hopefully, I’ll come out of these sessions a little wiser and a little stronger.
This week’s coming session: hills. Oh goody…. I can’t wait…. (If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know how I feel about those!!) Wish me luck – something tells me I’ll be digging deep come Wednesday…