Training Tuesdays: The Exquisite (Mental) Anguish of 1-Minute Running Intervals

I have never tried the whole “couch to 5 k” type of approach, which involves running interspersed with walking. I suppose I am incredibly fortunate that I’ve always been able to toss on a pair of running shoes and run a few kilometers.  Sure it sometimes hurt, but I have always been able to wheeze and stumble my way through it even at the worst of times.

Coming back from this injury, I’m really not supposed to be running yet. I’m more so testing the limits of my injury by slowly (agonizingly so) adding in one minute running intervals.  I am supposed to run one minute and then walk five minutes. Naturally, I thought five minutes of walking sounded ridiculous and immediately decided three minutes of walking was sufficient (read: I make my own rules).

This weekend I tested out these intervals.  And I hated it.  Hate is a strong word, I know, but a) I like to be overly dramatic and b) I really hated it. My mind was racing (note: it was the only part of my body that was racing) throughout the experiment.  And so, as part of training Tuesdays, I would like to share with you a summary of the mental chatter that accompanied this experience:

–One minute of running has never gone by this fast! I wonder if I can bottle that sentiment for when I’m back to normal running and every minute feels like an eternity. I sort of miss those days…

–Three minutes of walking feels impossibly long. I compulsively check my timer. I feel like Cookie Monster waiting for his cookies in that iPhone commercial…Sweet holy hell, how has it only been 30 seconds?!?!

–This running speed is impossibly slow.  Am I even running?

–What would really happen if I ran for more than one minute? Would I really hurt myself? Do I really want to find out? No, no I do not.

–Is that pain or just using muscles I haven’t used in months?

–How do people train to run this way?  My body wants to either run or to walk. It doesn’t understand this whole alternating-between-the-two thing.

–Do people watching me think I’m incapable of running for more than one minute at a time? Even if they do, I shouldn’t care…but I do. I am too vain for this approach.

–I hate this with the fire of a thousand suns. I want to run freely, like in the good old days (i.e. two months ago). Why did I ever complain about running? What was wrong with me? I will never take running for granted again. Okay, that’s probably a lie.  Don’t get ahead of yourself.

I am pleased to announce that I emerged from my experiment unscathed. I’m neither better nor worse physically, but I can’t say the same for my mental game.  This is frustrating, y’all, but I’ll be back at it later this week because I’m told this is my safest option for recovery and apparently with age comes wisdom (even I can’t say that with a straight face) so I’m finally willing to err on the side of caution.




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