Every week Tuesday rolls around and it’s time. With sweaty palms and a sickening feeling deep in my stomach, it’s time to check the Chasers website and see what track session is lined up for the evening. Peaking through my fingers I slowly scroll down to find the right date and what’s in store…
I hate track. No matter what the session involves, track is the one thing that always makes me giddy with nerves long before I even get to Battersea…and then the nightmare unfolds.
As soon as I wake up on Tuesday I’m trying to find excuses to skip it. Maybe I’m ill, am I ill? I’m not ill… Is that a twinge in my leg? Maybe I’ll have to work late? Maybe, just maybe I’ll have something better to do? But it’s a Tuesday and, sadly, I really don’t have anything better to do. I’m scared.
When I first started going to track 2 years ago I was always last. I wasn’t last a little bit, I was last by a LOT. Everyone was just faster than me so I would have to beast myself on every rep, come in last, and then get killed on the recovery, which would obviously be shorter than everyone elses.
Basically I spent the whole session running like this desperately trying to hang off the back of someone else.
My problem was I always, always ran off too fast, I would literally run as fast as I could until I realised pretty quickly I couldn’t keep it up for longer than 100m. I ran off too fast because I was trying to keep up, but it was a strategy doomed for failure. Track Fear was born.
During one session that left me gasping and almost in tears Bryn told me that it was much better to skip a lap, or walk the last 100m, to get the recovery I needed for the next rep than to slow down. If you can’t do the full session at goal pace, cut the session, don’t drop the pace. Since then I’ve stuck to that principle.
This week was a 10 x 800m Yasso session (yep that’s 5 miles in total). The goal was to run each 800m in your target marathon time, so if you’re aiming for a 3 hour 45 marathon you should be aiming for a 3 min 45 sec 800m – whatever your goal, that’s actually a pretty achievable pace for track.
I had a good session this week, each rep came in just under target (although some were a tad fast) but I felt strong throughout so I was happy!
I learned the hard way that track isn’t about running as fast as you possibly can, that will only leave you knackered and open to injury – I’m a long distance runner, not a sprinter.
Track is one session in my training week, an important session, but one session and the reason I go is to build upon and improve my speed. Yes, it should be hard, it should be uncomfortable and it should leave you out of breath but it shouldn’t leave you in absolute bits.
I don’t hate track, not really, but I am scared of it and I do get so nervous my legs turn to jelly as soon as I step on that orange bouncy stuff. But, every Tuesday around 8pm, I walk out into Battersea Park with a sense of achievement and relief. It’s only a lil’ 400m loop after all, it’s not so bad is it?
Until Tuesday rolls around again…