Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A long hard interval session

Tonight's coached running session was the last of the current series.  For me it was my second session, as I only started going last week for the first time.  We met down at the Saalsporthalle and started the workout promptly at 7pm.

The first exercise to help us warm up involved running up and down stairs repeatedly, interspersed with longer flat sections.  After that we headed over to the sports fields and did a quick lap whilst Jeff placed some cones on the ground, ready for the next drill.

Just as we finished the quick lap of the sports field there was a thunderstorm and hailstones started falling from the heavens.  It was a little cold so we were keen to get moving again in order to stay warm.  Most of us were not equipped with wet weather gear as the day had seemed rather sunny and pleasant beforehand.  Luckily the thunderstorm quickly passed.

I cannot recall the name of the next drill but it basically involved laying out a course shaped like a cross or 4 spokes of a wheel.  The idea then was that we split into 4 groups, one per spoke, and for six minutes we had to sprint from the centre of the wheel out to the edge of our spoke and jog slowly back, then repeat for the next spoke (moving in a clockwise manner) and so on.  For the following six minutes we had to do the same but in reverse, so jogging slowly to the end of the spoke and then sprinting back to the centre.  After that we did the same but in reverse for a further 3 minutes, and then we reversed it again for the final 3 minutes, making a total of 18 minutes of interval running.

There were 3 of us in our group.  One guy was the same guy from last week who just beat me by a fraction of a second in the timed 1,600m run, and the other guy was by chance someone that just completed the Marathon des Sables 2012 like myself.  So we were a strong group and very competitive.  That meant it was an extremely hard interval session for all 3 of us.  After the interval session finished we all shook hands like good sporting gentlemen should.

A few minutes of rest and then it was time for another drill.  This once involved splitting into groups (and guess who I ended up in a group with) and then seeing which group was fastest to retrieve the cones placed at the ends of the spokes.  Once at the end of the spoke we each had to do 10 squats before running back with the cones.  Our spoke was uphill, so the other groups had to do 10 squats extra as a handicap.  Unfortunately we still did not win, but you cannot win them all eh.

The final part of the workout was a slingshot relay in pairs.  One of the pair had to do squats whilst the other one ran back towards the Saalsporthalle, and then when that person had had enough running they had to stop running and start doing squats.  The other partner would then stop doing squats and start running until they had passed their partner, and continue as far as they wanted, and then the process would repeat until all pairs arrived back at the Saalsporthalle.  I paired up with one of the ladies and we were the first pair back, which pleased me greatly.  I did narrowly manage to avoid getting bitten by a few off-lead dogs on the way though.  I was pretty mad that the owner let them off lead when they can see that there is a group of runners nearby, probably knowing full well that the dogs were likely to chase us.  Even if the dogs were only trying to intimidate us, that is not acceptable.  Owners of dogs that like to chase runners, I call on you to be more responsible in public areas and to keep your dogs on the lead at all times, especially when you can see that there are runners nearby.

When I finished the session I felt a little sick.  Some of the others went to a restaurant to celebrate the end of the series, but I felt like I needed to go home and rest.  I was most likely dehydrated as I had forgotten to take water along with me, and I felt much better after drinking and eating something.  It is also possible that I pushed myself a little bit too hard as well.  I am not used to doing interval sessions yet.

There is no coached session next week.  The following series will start in 2 weeks time.


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