I went for a lovely run this morning, and as I was running from NJ into NY on a quiet road, I passed by a speed alert sign similar to this picture. The one I passed though had messages for you depending on how fast (or slow) you were going. Boy did I feel good.... when I was passing the sign, it clearly stated:
REDUCE SPEED UNDER 25 MPH!!!
I really out do myself sometimes! How motivational! With that, I decided to incorporate "fartlek" training into my 4 mile run. Fartlek running is a type of speed play. Play is the operative word here. It can be compared to interval training but it is not the same. With interval training, you are being very specific with how you approach your changing intervals, for example, running at 95% for 2 mins, and recovering for 1 minute, and repeating it over and over for a specific amount of time (or with distance instead of minutes). With fartleks, the play aspect is very inviting because you can vary your changes in speed/distance and intensity as you like.
While I was running, I would see ahead a certain distance and notice a garbage can or a street sign, and run faster to that point, then I would recover for as long as I felt necessary to resume a more manageable heart rate, and then look for a new goal marker, and speed up again. The interval distances were varied, and the intensities were varied. It was empowering and it truly broke up the monotony of my run. I also managed to incorporate a sense of "training" into my run, which is something I have not done in years. I used to be a serious runner who trained with purpose. I had my "speed," days, "hill" days, "tempo" run, etc. The last few years I have mixed up my workouts to include a vast amount of exercises (elliptical, boxing, pilates, plyometrics, rebounding...endless list) and so I have not focused on running from a "runner's" point of view.
Well, I had a rude awakening with my new found role as a Coach for Track and Field. It's been about 4 weeks, and a truly enjoyable experience, however, it's been intimidating as well. Here I am considering myself to be a well rounded, athletic, 44 year old mother of two and 6 year old children are whipping around the track lapping me like no tomorrow! It was cute the first day or two, but now I am seeing the writing on the wall!!!
This is my new challenge for myself! I have to step it up. No, just because I am 44 does not mean I need to throw the towel in. It simply means that I need to train more effectively because I KNOW what I can do! Those 6 year olds are training to get better, stronger and faster, and SO CAN I!!!!!
Stay tuned for my "IMPROVEMENT" reports!