Today I had a race. A race against my own body and mind. A race of will power.
I had 7 and a half minutes in which to prove myself. To prove that either I’m either up for the challenge of becoming a great runner, or that have to concede that I am a slave to my own hardwired predispositions. These 7 minutes were broken into 6 75-second hill sprints. Lactic hill reps, my coach calls them, while I call the death reps. It’s a pretty simple session; you try to run harder than you think you can up the hill and then walk back down, 6 times.
I get nervous about these session 2 days out and I don’t even batter an eyelid at my 3 hour long hilly runs. The concern that bubbles up inside me is natural, but not to be listened to because success in this session is about being aggressive and pushing past boundaries, especially mental boundaries. For me it’s boiled down this; the difficulty of a run is more to do with the mental effort, the concentrated power of will, than time or distance. The longer the run, the more you pace yourself, especially if the training is prescribed at a comfortable intensity. As you get tired you may get slower, but here the decision is simple and you just keep the rhythm flowing, you keep sitting on that threshold. This hurts, but not in the same way these sorter efforts hurt. In these hill sprints I am straining my brain to tell my body to shut up because I am way out of control, far past the threshold. Here there is no rhythm. There is urgency like nothing else and much more screaming. My consciousness is having a screaming battle with my body louder than in any endurance race.
8 reps next week.