100 Mile July & Intro to Intervals

Well hot damn if we’re not already in the middle of July! When did that happen?


In my last update, I lamented the 7 missing miles which stopped me from reaching my goal. As penance, I set myself the target of 27 miles this week.  Admittedly, that might have been a little optimistic given that I had a trip to London for work. When in London, the allure of dinner and drinks with friends is strong competition for going home early to put my runners on….


So here’s how I went in week two:

  • Wednesday 9th: 3.5 miles with the JP Morgan Challenge
  • Friday 11th: 5 miles
  • Saturday 12th: 3.5 miles
  • Sunday 13th: 6 miles in the Great North 10k
  • Monday 24th: 6 miles (3 miles with Tempest Runners, 3 miles running home)
  • Tuesday 15th: 4.5 miles
  • Grand total…….28.5 miles!! (46kms)


This puts me on a total of 46.5 miles for the month, and only 3.5 miles short of where I need to be to hit 100. I am feeling strong at the moment, which makes it a pleasure to run. It is a challenge to find the time to run and log the miles, but a weekly goal means that the odd 3.5 mile run isn’t something to be scoffed at, but contributes to the whole. Which is a very different way to my approach to running, where distance is what matters.


This week I was VERY excited as it was SO HOT that I had to wear shorts and a hat

This week I was VERY excited as it was SO HOT that I had to wear shorts and a hat

On Monday night I introduced my running group to the wonderful world of interval training. We did a warm up, followed by: 1 min fast, 1 min recovery, 2 mins fast, 2 mins recovery, 3 mins fast, 3 mins recovery, and then decreased it back to 1 min again. At the end the group said that they didn’t mind them, so either we did them wrong or I didn’t work them hard enough. Or they’re lying to me, and the next time we do intervals, I’ll have an empty running group.


Why does interval training help? I wrote before on the benefits of high intensity training, and intervals are similar in that your body still feels the effects after you stop exercising. So, as you’re sitting on the couch eating your reward chocolate cupcake, your body is still working away = bonus!!


Intervals are typically two parts of a whole: the fast bit and the slow bit. You may also have heard them referred to as Fartleks, though I can’t quite bring myself to say it because I don’t appreciate anything even remotely related to with the bathroom. Sorry, I am a prude. Anyway, here’s a summary of what happens:


The Fast Bit

  • Your body relies on the anaerobic system for energy, which means it’s not using oxygen but glucose as it’s energy source (read calories)
  • The side effect of this is lactic acid, and as you work harder, the body can’t remove the acid quick enough. This is why it hurts so much!


The Slow Bit

  • You return to the aerobic system, and burn fat to help with the recovery process
  • Your body can start to remove the lactic acid buildup in your system


Why it’s a good workout:

Aside from the aforementioned fact that your body will be working long after you stop running, there are a few reasons why interval training is a good thing to do:

  • Your muscles learn how to work effectively at a faster speed
  • Your body becomes more efficient at lactic acid removal
  • Mentally you get used to powering through when you feel tired and sore
  • Your typical pace will feel easier after challenging yourself to run faster for a prolonged period of time
  • The variation will help you over-use muscles, and contribute to injury prevention
  • Over time your general speed will increase


This is how you should feel at the end of intervals.

This is how you should feel at the end of intervals.

Intervals are pretty intense. If you’re not a big runner, don’t over-do it, but stick to shorter times and recoveries. One of the hardest things for me is to know when I’m pushing myself the right amount, I figure as long as I feel like puking by the end then I’m on the right track. But – you heard it here first guys – I’m not an expert, and so don’t take that as an authoritative opinion! Plus, it actually takes a lot of commitment to get to that point in the first place.


I had the company of this guy when I arrived at work today:

photo 2-6

Happy intervals everyone!!


Ellie B