The frozen grass crackles under my feet. The white reed glistens in the sun. A swan carefully walks over the frozen water, looking for hole to go for a swim. Running these days is like running in a winter wonderland.
Sara and I are out for an interval training. We have no headphones on, but we can both hear Michael Bublé singing Walking in a Winter Wonderland in our ears. Only we don’t walk. We run. Quick, quick and slow.
Today is speed-work day. Sara’s first serious speed-work day. Ten minutes warming-up, followed by 5 times one minute in heart rate zone 4 or 5, with 1 minute rest in between. No specific pace yet. Just getting our heart rate up. As far as that hasn’t happened yet by the fairy-tale picture we’re running through.
Looking at the willow’s branches hanging down, with a little layer of white frost on them, another song pops up in my head; It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, also by Michael Bublé. Maybe it’s all the beauty around us, here in the Liskes in Bergeijk, the Netherlands. Maybe we just played that Spotify playlist too much last weekend.
It’s so nice to do speed-work again. To feel that I can still be fast. Well, fast for me. In my first running life I used to run 4 minutes per kilometer. Today I’m doing the same. Okay, I probably won’t be able to sustain this pace for 5 kilometers, let alone 10k. But feeling some power in my legs makes me happy.
Building a pyramid
Last weekend I wanted to run slow. Running is like building a pyramid. First you need a solid base. Slow running will help you create that. Only when you have a base, can you start working on speed. That’s the top of the pyramid. It’s a bit more detailed than that, but that’s for another story.
For now, I’m just happy doing intervals. I think that’s another difference with my first running life. I didn’t like interval training back then. With the knowledge I have now of training methods, I can see I was doing it all wrong back then.
As fast as possible
Every run I would try to go as fast as possible. Let’s say 80 to 90 percent of my maximum capacity. Now I know I have to do a lot of slow running to improve. 80 percent of my runs should be slow. Which is probably the reason I like it now, when I’m allowed to go fast in those other 20 percent of my runs. It gives me variety.
Fast is not the whole run, just the intervals. But that’s already a joy. And yes, that’s a Christmas song as well, but no Michael Bublé in my head this time. This time I can hear Joy to the world, by Nat King Cole.