I’m running intervals.

This is the first time I have ever incorporated intervals into my training, and I have to say: HARD! The first time I tried them I couldn’t even last five minutes. Right now I am running intervals 2-3 times a week, plus one long run. My intervals consist of running at 80% capacity for 30 seconds, then 10% for the next 30 seconds, and repeat. In minutes I can feel like I’ve just run a 10k.

My trainer says that my greatest strength is long, steady running and endurance. But when it comes to quick power and fast acceleration, I’m not strong. She is slowly easing me into a phase of plyometrics.

Plyo is a type of exercise that produces fast, powerful movements. In this phase, the muscles I have built will be trained to move in rapid sequence. Essentially, it is strength turning into speed. The physiological descriptions are fascinating, but there’s a mental shift in it too.

When I run far, I set my mind on the long haul. I can fall into a pace and eventually feel like I can go on forever. I can hold out. Save my energy. Plyo is a challenge for me because it takes the way I have always thought about running and throws it out the window. Plyo is about the short term. Full power right now, not later. If I even remotely think about how I will feel ten minutes down the road, my body automatically pulls back and I have already failed.

Plyo is teaching me to trust my own muscles and stored strength. It’s about throwing in everything I’ve got. Saving nothing. And only after I accomplish that can I realize that I have it in me to jump higher than I had thought. Push further than I had hoped. And run faster than I had dreamed.