It's been almost 2 years since I started this running journey. I began with Fleet Feet's No Boundaries Couch to 5k program. Training ended with us being able to run 4 minutes/ walk 1 minute. I was an interval runner, which was just fine with me. I loved my walk breaks.
However, there was a tiny part of me that wanted to run without intervals. Now to be clear, when my legs and lungs were burning and my watch beeped signaling a walk break, that tiny part of me was quick to shut up. But there's still been this desire to move beyond intervals.
A while back I learned Fleet Feet would soon begin a 10k training with a goal of running it without walk breaks. This is very exciting because, I know myself well enough to know my chances of success are greater in a group. I also knew a few my friends would be doing the training too. It's much easier to stop and walk when I'm alone than it is when I'm in a group.
A few weeks ago on one of our Monday night runs, we decided to try it without intervals. I ran 2 straight miles. The most I'd ever run without a walk break. Then on July 4th, I ran the firecracker 5k with someone who was finishing the no boundaries 5k training and wanted to run the whole thing. It was my first 5k without intervals, though I did stop and walk a few times. And in the interest of full disclosure, I had to let the person I was running with go ahead of me during the race. She was so fast; I couldn't keep up! But it was a giant step for me to run the race without the comfort of intervals.
Last Thursday at our group 10k training, I ran 3.5 miles without walking at all! Drew Jones is leading the 10k training. Before we started the run he said, it doesn't matter how slow we go just don't walk. So I played that over and over in my head when I wanted to walk and kept pushing. And amazingly, I was able to finish with a much faster time than my normal 3.5 miles.
I'm excited to be a part of this training and to be challenging myself. I've known for a long time that I was physically able to run without intervals...but it's been a matter of convincing my mind. I know it's going to get harder as we increase the mileage, but it will be worth it! I'm planning on running my shorter weekly runs without intervals and keeping my intervals for our long runs and for the marathon. My goal is to start the half marathon training next January in a non-interval group!
* Mark and I will be running our first marathon this October in Dublin with Team in Training. We have to raise $10,000 in order to participate. All the money we raise benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which is a charity we've actively supported and volunteered with the last few years. Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer. Please help us find a cure. Visit our website to make a donation and for more information. http://pages.teamintraining.org/tn/dublin11/emilymark