2 Minutes of Rest
So The Day is almost upon me. Tomorrow morning, for the first time after Comrades 2015, I shall restart running Interval sessions.
I hope to do speed training at least once, or at the most twice in a 10 day training cycle. The 1000 meter repeats will have a rest interval of 2 minutes. The 400 meter reps will have a shorter rest interval.
Interval sessions take everything out of me. I am almost sacred of them.
To do them right one has to push through each repeat at an intensity which causes some amount of discomfort.
The ability to keep pushing myself at a time when my heart, body, mind, and spirit wishes me to stop is not an ability I naturally possess. I have almost none of the talents that makeup a natural athlete.
The thing I notice the most when I do the repeats is the malleability of Time. The 2 minute rest interval between 1000 meter repeats disappears at a speed which is unbelievable.
I finish the 1000 meter run and look at my watch and I notice that first 15 seconds of the rest time have already gone. I hardly walk a few steps and take some deep breaths and the beep-beep from the Garmin leads me into the last 5 seconds of the 2 minutes rest period and I fail to understand where the 2 minutes have disappeared.
How I value each of those 120 seconds of rest. If I could only Value each fleeting second in my daily life, as I do those 120 seconds, I could perhaps do far more justice to these wonderful days of my life and good health that I have been blessed with.
No matter the repeat length, 400 meters or 800 meters or 1000 meters; the experience is the same: A good dose of pain along with an increasing awareness of the fleeting nature of Time.
The apparent benefits of interval training are very tangible. In the long term, it improves your cruising speed and your ability to take pain in the later stages of a race.
But the biggest benefit from Interval training is that I train and explore my ‘will power’. I may be saddled with all sorts of limitations. I may have little or no natural talent, little or no strength, little or no natural athletic ability. But If I can control my ‘will’ and if I can ‘will’ myself to put in the effort to run the repeat, as it deserves to be run, then I can make up all those things that I am deficient in.
If I can train myself to start a new repeat and give it the effort it deserves at a time when my arms, legs, body, heart, mind and brain isn’t ready to welcome the pain of the new repeat, then I have achieved the aim of the repeat.
In my opinion, will power, like many other things in life is perhaps not something that one is born with. It is something that can be acquired by practice. One builds-up stores, by simply going into that zone of pain again and again and willing oneself to re-engage in battle one more time.
So as the clock runs out, as the 2 minutes of rest time disappears into nothingness and as I look at the 1000 meters that lie ahead of me, I have to make a decision.
I have to ask myself, “Can I, once again, engage with life. Can I give the 1000 meters that lie ahead everything I have without holding back? Can I give the speed repeat everything it deserves?
Will I have the courage to embrace the pain?”
Will I be a hero?
George Sheehan said that, “Our highest human need is to be a hero.” He said that, “When we cease to be heroic, we no longer truly exist.” He believed that, “though ordinary experiences, the ordinary person can become extraordinary.”
Like thousands of my fellow runners, I aspire for greatness, I aspire to be a hero, I aspire to be extraordinary. Like all of my friends, I battle with myself.
I battle neither for others nor for external recognition nor for glory. I battle only against my own limitations and against the fleeting nature of Time.
My heroism is limited to an audience of one. And my armory has only one weapon. All I have is my ‘will’.
So when the two minutes of rest-time run out tomorrow, all I will have with me to do battle will be my ‘will’ and a prayer in my heart to the God within me which says: “Let me be ready!”