Thursday, 14 July 2011

Egg's First Track Session

As anybody who has ever had the pleasure of running with me will gladly tell you, it takes a lot and I mean a lot, to get me to stop talking. It is often said that you can tell when somebody is at their anaerobic capacity as it’s the point at which you only receive one word answers in conversation; but I always have far too much to say to make this a feasible option. Sometimes I even wonder if I am missing that important brain to body link that tells you to shut up before you run out of oxygen.

I have been avoiding track-running sessions for a long time. The idea of lap after lap of boring plodding just doesn’t appeal, neither does having one enormously over-developed buttock from repeatedly running around a bend in the same direction.

The other (and real) reason I have been avoiding the track is that it is a little bit scary. The sort of people you see there are the lithe, strapping sort of people you very rarely see out running, mostly because if you did see them out running it would be for only the briefest of moments as they stormed past you with a steely look in their eyes and wearing shorts that only just pass as legal.

All of these fears and concerns got pushed to the side as I rocked up to my first ever proper track session. The plan was simple: 16 x 200m with a 200m recovery. After warming up for a couple of laps I even thought to myself for an instant that running two hundred metres sixteen times is probably not that difficult at all; it’s only 3.2km, barely qualifies as a run at all!

At the end of the first 200m – utterly breathless and displaying a face contorted with pain – I realised that this was not going to be anything like the easy 3.2km I had previously envisaged. In fact by around the fourth 200m I thought that this night was going to be the end of my life. 

The sprints were short but so intense, and every single time I found it amazing that I could go from feeling like I could pass out with sheer exertion to having a little recovery jog and feeling (just about) ready to go again a minute or so later!

I was running at the same pace as a man named Paul. We managed to get into a good little rhythm where he would catch up on the bend and make me go a bit faster and then I would try to pick up the pace and hold it together on the straight. It was around the sixth lap that he asked me what time we had just done that one in, and I tried my best to answer, but all that came out was a short, high-pitched noise. It took five attempts to get my words out. So it turns out I’m not missing a vital link between brain and body, I just am clearly never putting enough effort in when it comes to running!

By around the ninth or tenth lap I was feeling positively nauseous, but good old Esther made me feel much easier about the situation, "that's normal, just make sure you do it on the grass and not on the track". That contorted face I was making was starting to last longer too, whilst at the start it had been there for a second or two as I crossed the line, in the last laps I couldn't manage to make it go away until just about the end of the recovery lap.

Fortunately I managed to get to the end without ejecting any of my stomach contents, and after a cool down lap and a good stretch I was just about able to twist my face back into it's normal state and start looking like a normal human being again. I definitely didn't feel like a normal human being though, I felt like I'd pushed through some sort of massive fitness epic and lived to tell the tale. Another few of these and I reckon I'll be verging on superhuman, might even get some really short shorts...


  1. I know how you feel, Egg! Track sessions are brutal and contorted facials are obligatory as are internal burning of lungs. It does make running seem easier though so keep it up!!!x

  2. Now Egg, those very same people that you are talking about - the ones with the tiny shorts - would be absolutely quivering with fear if they had to do a time trial! Go for it Egg :)