Why I love Speed work- 2

8 x 800m

A staple workout for all runners. In earlier blogs (links below), I have written about this particular monster, in detail about how it wrestles with my mind and body.

M vs M – 1

M vs M -2

800m is a great distance for interval training. Short enough so that you can push and go fast, but long enough to make it challenging to sustain the pace.

A speed workout after a long break can be daunting. I wanted to do it. But I was nervous, unsure. I started with Mulraj but was very clear that I would run at my own pace. 8 repeats. Uh oh! I am not in my peak form. I am not training for anything. I’m just running because I enjoy it. All these thoughts clouded my brain, almost paralysing my legs. I would do only 6, I bargained with myself. Since we were running on Marine Drive, I would do 3 laps out, 3 back, then would wonder about the last 2, if I survived the first 6. Also, I would go super easy for the first 2.

Having comforted myself, I started. I ran the first one relaxed and the next one, too. That felt good! Come lap 3, being well warmed up I decided to listen to my body and not hold back. After all it was only 800m, not a race. I was pleasantly surprised. I shaved off over 10 seconds on my pace compared to the first 2 “warm up” laps. And I smiled. I liked this strategy. Listen to yourself. Run by effort. How often had I been advised to do this, but I had always been a slave to my Garmin. Find your rhythm. And today I found it!  Following this for the next 3 laps I completed the “negotiated” 6. And guess what? I was fine! I was fitter than I thought. So I went for the last 2.  Warmed up, relaxed and most importantly, confident, I killed them.

I did this workout without a target pace in mind, relying on my own drive to push myself. Had I set a pace for myself I would have probably been marginally faster, but this satisfaction of pushing myself based on effort, would have probably not been there. I discovered my own strength along with my ability to push myself, instead of being whipped into shape following a preset workout. Yes, a framework for a workout is important, but sometimes it needs to be slightly open ended allowing us to explore.

I was doing speed work after a long time. The heady feeling at the end was incredible. Oh, how I had missed the rush of blood in my head!  All of us were dripping with sweat, with puddles around us as we stretched on the side of the road. Predictably, post these mind numbing runs, the quality of conversation was abysmal. Amit declared that he could a lot of nonsense and drive us all crazy, launching into a series of “But why… Oh why”? (taking me back to traumatic the days when my kids were 7 years old!) Not wanting to prolong this conversation I ceded to his supremacy in ability of crazy banter. Mulraj countered him with a refrain of “Yah- so”!

Why, but why?
Yah- so!!!
Roshan was mumbling incoherently, talking to himself about seeing stars at 7.30 am.

And these are grown men with jobs and lives…

Rolling my eyes skyward I realise how detrimental speedwork is to our mental health!

What a great note to start my Wednesday on.

Mundanity is death. Give me this madness any day!
These are the things that we will talk about.
The stories that we will tell.
The moments which we will cherish.
Memories which will define us.

“Like madness, is the glory of this life.”
~William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, Act 1, Sc. 2.

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