It's no secret that one of my running goals is to get a wee bit faster.
It's also no big secret that I am very happy to get up and run my familiar morning routes at my familiar morning pace over and over again - not getting any faster for it.
Three weeks ago I made good on the promise I made to myself and I sacrificed my Thursday morning comfort run for my first interval training session in probably three years.
I ran 6x800m intervals around my neighbourhood. I pushed hard and ran at a pretty brisk pace. I loved it. I felt stronger. I felt FAST!
That Saturday I headed out for a 10k run and slogged my way through from start to finish. I stopped twice to walk. My pace was slower than it has been in a long time and I spent the rest of the day feeling pretty worn out.
I blamed it on the heat.
Two weeks later, I did my second Thursday morning interval workout. Another 6x800m. This time all but one of the six repeats were faster that all of the ones I did the first week. And yet they felt a wee bit easier. Not easy but easier.
I was pleased with the progress.
Two days later, on Saturday morning, I set off to run 10k. I was excited to see if I'd be able to run the distance even a minute faster than I usually do.
Imagine my surprise when, for the second Saturday in a row, I struggled. My pace started off slow and stayed there. My legs were heavy and sluggish. So much so that I ended up running 9k instead of 10k because I just didn't have it in me to push for another kilometre.
This time, it wasn't hot out.
This time I think I figured it out. I think my Thursday-morning interval runs are wonderfully exhausting workouts that push my legs to the point where they don't recover on time for a Saturday long run.
I wonder if my legs will adjust after a few more of these workouts or if I'll have to think about switching the intervals to Tuesday mornings instead.
And, since this week I plan do to my first hill workout in forever on Thursday morning, it may mean another tough Saturday slog is in my future.