I had to turn on Endomondo for this moment alone.
As part of my marathon training plan, and for the first time ever in the twelve years I have been willing to run ridiculous races, I have decided to interval train.
Why? Because I want to endure.
I have done alright for a slow-poke on a marathon course and hung around 6 hours. But I know I lose the mojo at the “wall” point of about 18 miles. To push through that wall I had read that doing such things as going and running up a gradual hill really fast over and over and over again will help build endurance.
So, out I went to a series of gently rolling hills near work where I ran, over and over and over again, up and down them. Scared the daylights out of leisure lunchers and dog walkers, but did it.
And boy, did it suck.
I mean, wow, brutal. It’s been years since I wanted to puke after running and for the first time in ages I took myself just up to the point of it. Dry heaves and all. It was the most awful thing in the world since my pole instructor added these fantastic hanging inverts into our warm up. (What are those you ask? Well, you hold on to the pole and pull your knees up. You then count to five and then curse profusely as you cleanly flip yourself over. You then neatly lower back down to the ground with all the grace of a swan who learned to speak at a truck stop. Then you do it again. And again. And then on the other side.)
I have a scheduled ‘dry heave’ now booked into every week of training. There isn’t an end to the pain. We have 1 minute as fast as possible followed by 1 minute of putting my stomach back in my body. We have more hills. We have things called “progression runs” which could be called “progressing into hell.” None of it even sounds fun.
So, yeah, I’m totally doing them.
Every single awful terrible one of them.
Because you know what? They only amount to about 2 miles of hell based on my pace. 2 miles of hell for 26.2 of prospectively more pleasant miles?
I’m down with that. Seriously. The food is going to stay down.
Hills/interval training is a great way to train for that “wall” point! Seriously when I was in basic training for the army our drill sergeants favorite form of punishment was making us run up and down the huge hill near our barracks. Over and over again for 65 days straight we encountered that hill. I could legit run it in the dark, which they often made us do. But I shaved two whole minutes off my two mile time in just two months. And it was because of that damn hill! Two entire minutes! So another thing to add once you start feeling like the hills are piece of cake, is a weighted vests or ankle weights… We would run in our boots with rifles so it was extra weight/reinsurance training.
I’ve been running to the gym with a pack. It’s brutal, but worth it!