I can’t remember the last time I ran on a track. Maybe a time around this photo in the early ’80s. I ran on the Niwot High School track today. In between rain showers. I ran 4×400 meter intervals. I would tell you I’m working on my speed for the Bolder Boulder, but I suspect I’ve lost focus and am now working on my speed to stay competitive on the Shoes & Brews 800 meter beer board.
Intervals are great for increasing your anaerobic threshold. I want that too but am more interested in the benefits of form and breathing technique. The conditioning ironically comes from the rest interval, not waiting for your heart to fully rest before starting the next repetition. But I want the practice of the 400 meter run itself. Running fast while tired.
I thought, hoped really, I could run between 4 and 8 of these, and run them each in 90 seconds. I’m running this fast in my Shoes & Brews 800 meter runs, so I knew this was within my limits. Turns out, I ran my first two 400s in 91 seconds. Spot on. I didn’t time my rest but walked just short of 200 meters, which is what I generally did when I was younger. It became evident after these two that I wasn’t going to run eight. Ran my 3rd though in 90 seconds and 4th in 87 seconds.
I’m pleased with that consistency. All the memories of running these in high school and college came flooding back. Chasing Joe Cepeda around the oval. Not feeling anything for the first 20 or 30 meters because my heart is still beating so fast from the previous interval. And how important arm form is. Attention to a good arm swing totally helps to carry you around the track through the fatigue. I initially thought those 800 meter speed trials would be good for me, but they don’t provide enough repetition to learn good form. Once a week isn’t the same as 4 times in one workout. It’s like anything else, repetition is the key to learning.