A mother version of Interval Training

Text from Amy on Saturday:  Let’s hit Orting trail tomorrow and take kids with bikes.  Will pick you and Zoey up at 10 a.m.  We can do 8 miles.

Going for a run with the kiddos and their bikes?  Score!  Last summer this would have been a disaster with Zoey (the incident at Bradley Lake, where she caused a two-bike pileup after panicking in the path of another rider, is still fresh in my mind).  This year it feels manageable AND enjoyable.  But…eight miles?  That sounded optimistic.  (Read: crazy.)

We were on our way to the trail by 10:15 this morning, loaded down with kids and bikes and helmets and water bottles.  Gray clouds overhead were threatening rain but holding out for the time being.  We expertly avoided Spring Fair traffic, scored a front row parking spot at the trail head, and were off like a herd of turtles in no time.

The turtle pace turned out to be a major downfall.  The kids were having a GREAT time. Logan, the oldest child and quite the responsible one, rode ahead and circled back to check on the girls periodically.  But Zoey and Allison, although they were laughing and swerving and trying to catch Logan, just kept STOPPING.  Zoey racked up the most false starts, so let’s all start praying that by the end of this summer she can hop on her bike and go regardless of the precise position of her foot pedals.  Amy and I would work up to a good pace and settle in just in time to stop and help someone avoid oncoming bike traffic or adjust foot pedals or retrieve a water bottle.  

We made it 2.25 miles down the trail before Zoey and Allison started fading.  And, as Amy pointed out, unless we wanted to carry bikes back, we’d better turn around when the girls started to poop out.  It had only taken about 20 minutes to realize that our dream of an eight mile run today just wasn’t going to happen.

So what’s a mother runner to do?

Intervals.  That’s what.  Neither Amy nor I are much for speed work, but I think we were both eager to break a big sweat this morning.  And the stop-go-stop-come-on-Zoey-let’s-go! rhythm so far just wasn’t cutting it.  Bring on the sprints.

We were hardly scientific about it, but it was just what we needed. I know my running bible, Train Like a Mother, lays out specific amounts of time to sprint and how fast you should feel like you’re going, but of course neither Amy nor I have ever studied those training plans in depth.  So our speed sessions were more like ‘okay, let’s start at that patch of dirt and sprint to where the girls are’.  And I’ll be damned if those girls didn’t move like wildfire on the 2.25 miles back to the car, giving us a forever-moving end point for our lung-burning, heart-bursting sprints.  

But wow.  Interval training definitely puts a jolt in to what would have been an otherwise lackluster low-mileage run.  Instead of arriving back at the car feeling disappointed in not getting the long run I craved, I felt like I had gotten more bang for my four-mile buck.  

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