A short interval


Slightly hung over from National Day, I woke late today and hurried out to run some intervals. The sun was up long before I was; I didn’t leave the flat until after 8am, so I was worried that my brain would fry like an egg and I’d have to be picked off the side of the road with a spatula.

I’ve never tried using my Garmin for interval training before, but it’s surprisingly easy. You decide how long your intervals will be (today, 30 seconds), how much recovery time you’ll get between them (20 seconds) and how many you want to do (10). Then off you go, your watch counting down each interval from 5 seconds before the start and end.

If you’re running intervals properly – hard enough that you’re trying to concentrate on breathing through your ears while not throwing up last night’s dinner through your mouth – then you will probably have difficulty counting how many you’ve run and if you’re targeting a particular time rather than distance, it is hard to maintain the requisite intensity if you’re constantly glancing down to see if the time is up or not.

Not having the cognitive load of deciding when to go flat out and when to stop made things easier for me, and I whistled through my session and was home in 21 minutes, in time to sweat like a pig for an hour. Intervals are a very efficient way to stress your body, but I struggle to recover from them. All afternoon I was a mess, hungry and tired and incapable of the simplest of actions. I had to lie on the bed and have my wife drape me with our daughter’s blanket, because I was too weak to do it myself.

Perhaps tomorrow this means I’ll leap from bed, filled with spirit and vim. Or possibly I’ll stagger from my bed, a broken husk of a man. Intervals are a very good way to get fit, and also a very efficient way to break yourself if you’re not ready for them…


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