Last Saturday, I ran longer than I have run since October’s marathon.  Granted, it was only a mile and a half longer than what my non-plan called for.  I did 9.5 miles instead of 8 miles.  I didn’t think that it was a big deal.  I felt fine afterwards, although I probably went to bed a bit more tired.

However, my body decided that it was going to punish me for that extra mile and a half by being super sluggish for the next three days.  I cut Sunday’s run short by a mile.  I nixed Monday’s planned intervals for an easy session.  And instead of adding in some incline during yesterday’s 4 miler, I kept it flat and slow.

Today, I was determined to get those intervals done.  I was hoping that after a few days of easy running, my  legs would be ready to go again.  I truly have a love/hate relationship with intervals.  I LOVE that they make me feel fast…and with a PR in every distance in 2012, I am convinced of the benefits. 

But I HATE actually running them.  I have to really psych myself up.  Usually, my brain will try to convince me during the warm up, that I should just stick with that pace and enjoy a leisurely run.  When I push that thought out of my mind, I have to contend with the fact that I not going to enjoy much of the next 35-45 minutes.

Intervals are hard.  (I know, I’m supposed to be pushing myself.  Something about “if you want to run faster, you have to run faster.”  Whatever.) 

When I am struggling to keep up on my fastest intervals, my brain is telling me that I don’t have to do all four (or 6 or however many I’m supposed to do).  I can just do a couple.  It is so hard to NOT quit…and sometimes I do stop short.  Sometimes my body just doesn’t want to keep going and my mind isn’t strong enough on that day to override it. 

But, usually, I can tough it out.  And when I’m done…then I LOVE intervals again.  Because, as I mentioned, I feel fast.  I feel strong.  I feel like I accomplished something.  And…it is usually time for lunch!

Today’s session was 6×800 meters.  There were some tough moments, but I gutted it out and made it through.  And I feel good.  And I’m enjoying my lunch.  And tomorrow is a rest day!

Do you run intervals?  How do you keep from giving up when your mind tells you to stop?


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