….and darned dogs!
I was looking forward to this morning’s threshold run! A hard session, but not too hard – pleasantly hard, if there is such a thing.
As a rule, I don’t like to run hard sessions first thing, but my day was going to be a busy one and I needed a good hour for this session – 10-15 minutes warm up , 4 x 8 minutes at threshold with 1 minute recoveries, and 10-15 minutes of cool down. I decided to run on a local trail, a disused railway line, so that I could avoid road crossings and other similar interruptions. I set off from home at an easy pace and, after 15 minutes, came to the field I needed to cross to reach my trail. It was very bad underfoot, muddy in the extreme, and I should have considered it a bad omen as mud oozed over my feet to fill my shoes. Almost as soon as I got into my stride I encountered a big dog. He was off the leash and ran at me barking and growling whilst his owner ambled along casually behind him. I stopped and turned my back to the dog, but he continued to harass me and growled fiercely whenever I moved. His owner did nothing – he didn’t rush to my assistance or call back his dog. I called out to him, in tears by this point, to call his dog back. His response was the classic “he won’t hurt you, he wants to play!” Well I’m sorry, but I think his games might’ve been a bit rough for me, so I waited until they were well out of sight before I dared set off again.
I started my threshold running again, but was so stressed I ran too quickly. Threshold running should be kept at the top end of your aerobic zone, before you get into anaerobic oxygen debt and the realms of jelly legs etc. Training at this level will give your lactate threshold a boost and increase your tolerance to lactic acid in the blood. You are, in effect, training your body to run at a faster pace for longer. I think of this as my half marathon pace and build up to 40 minutes of continuous threshold running in training – obviously a half marathon takes about twice as long.
Anyway – feeling stressed I set off too quickly and soon encountered another man with a dog. The dog didn’t bother me, but it didn’t help me to relax either. No sooner had I passed him I encountered a woman on horseback and had to slow to let her pass. I managed to run my 2nd interval of 8 minutes at a better pace, but did encounter another inconsiderate dog owner and wayward dog!! My 3rd and 4th set felt harder than they should because of the faster pace in the beginning and my heightened anxieties.
It’s all training in the bank, however, and next time I venture out in dog-ville I will be armed with an electric cattle prod………to use on the dog owners of course!