Today was a Plan B day. After a week of very little running due to work commitments I was keen to get a good week of hard training in. Well, in fairness the work commitment was a school cycling trip that involved several hours of exercise per day. But still, it wasn’t running.
I went down to the track this afternoon with a plan to do a session I hadn’t done in a while, namely 10×600 with half-lap jog recoveries, and a rough idea of how fast I wanted to do them. I jogged to the 200m start line and started my watch. By 300 metres I was hideously out of breath and by 500 my legs were giving up. I crossed the line in roughly the time I had hoped for, but knew there was no way my legs were going to allow me another effort, let alone another 9. I sat on the wall and thought about what I should do. Having not considered the possibility of feeling terrible, there was no Plan B but it soon became ‘run home, get in the shower and have dinner.’ Then the athlete in me kicked in, and put forward his own suggestion of running a short effort (maybe 800 metres or a mile) flat out, thus relegating the previous plan to C. I then started to think rationally. I still wanted to run something fast but there is no point doing a massive session if your legs aren’t up to it, so I opted for 6×200 off 200 jog, a completely manageable session even on tired legs. I went easy on the first two, clocking outside 30 seconds and then pushed it on the next four. I was disappointed not to run the session I had planned but was pleased to have at least got some quality in, even though it was only about one mile’s worth in total. I dragged my weary legs back home, taking a longer route home in the vague hope that a long cool down would help my legs loosen up. It didn’t.
The idea of binning your session and doing something else is one I got from a friend and training partner. It makes perfect sense, I suppose, but you never hear about the pros doing it. Does Mo Farah ever turn up at the track for a session and say ‘8 times one mile? Sod that. I’m going home to watch the Arsenal game.’ I doubt it. Does Geoffrey Mutai ever wake up before a 40k tempo run and say ‘You know what, I don’t really fancy it today. I’m going back to bed.’ Of he doesn’t, that’s why he’s better than me.
Screw being sensible, I’m sticking to the schedule in future.