The Interval Hound

October 15, 2004

Over the summer I tried to get back into running shape, balancing my desire to run against the pain in my knees. I found myself running about a mile every second or third day. It was fun, but my fitness was hurt by the long rests waiting for the knees to recover.

About a month ago, perhaps a little more, I was running on a hot afternoon and started messing with foot-strike. Bad idea - when I went from forefoot distance to forefoot sprint I ended up giving myself the ten-day calf cramp from hell in my left leg. I did not run for a month after that.

On Monday I was walking the hound after class, wearing sweatpants and my walk-around pair of running shoes. On a whim, we began to jog. I had to take the flashlight, cell phone, and key rings out of my pockets because they bounced annoyingly, but we ran and we liked it. Tuesday morning we did it again, this time without the pocket crap. And again Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning - I seem to be in a new running cycle.

The change between this cycle and what I did over the summer is that I am not running for any distance. Instead I keep reminding myself that I am running because I like to run, will stop and walk when I feel like stopping, and should just go play -- like fartlek only slower and with only the hound for company.

This morning the hound decided that she wanted to run intervals. No, really. She did. We were heading down the hill to the lake and I went cross-country style - arms out to the side, let the feet and legs rotate along, and perform a fast controlled fall down the path. The dog loved it and began to romp and bound at my side. So, we kept up that pace for the next hundred yards or so, then stopped to let the hound poop. For the rest of the run we alternated a fast run with a walk, stopping whenever I started to lose my wind or feel myself pushing or whenever the hound got too tired and made me drag her along by the leash. It was a lot of fun, even if the fast bits were probably only 7:30 or 8:00 pace.

My exercise pattern has long been overwork, injury, over-rest, rinse, repeat. Perhaps this time the hound will keep me under control. I do hope so. I love the feeling of running about as much as I hate the feeling of being injured.

Posted by Red Ted at October 15, 2004 08:04 AM | TrackBack

I think running at intervals is probably quite good for you anyway. Who says we have to do everything in solid blocks? The hound knows what she's doing.

Posted by: Lapis Lazuli at October 17, 2004 04:39 AM

Oh intervals are my secret weakness, like good butter based pie crust, but differently bad for me: pie crust messes up my cholesterol ratios; intervals mess up my knees.

I still do both, but with caution.

Posted by: Ted K at October 18, 2004 07:39 PM
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