Distance runners are no strangers to pain. Not only do we not fear pain, we embrace it. Still, there are some workouts that strike fear into the hearts of even the most steeled and hardened of runners. Some workouts require us to tap into unimaginable reservoirs of strength and determination just to survive.
I have always liked workouts that test my limits. The harder the better. The more I have to push myself, the more I like it. In high school my
favorite workout was fartleks because I could push the rest intervals to make the workout as hard as possible. I loved how pumped up I would feel
when it was over.
Before I got to CU, I had only been on one run over 9 miles. The first time the team went up to Magnolia road (between 8000 and 9000 feet elevation) to do a Sunday run, most of the team was doing 17 to 20 miles. I don’t remember if I went 12 or 14, but I do remember wanting to cry when I was done. I remember thinking, “I can’t do this” and thought college running was going to kill me! I adapted and came to love running 20 miles on Sundays, trying to average as fast as I could. I would be completely wrecked when it was over, but I felt satisfied that I gave it all I had.
When I was in high school we named a 3 minute interval workout “Death Quest” because we were convinced our coaches were sending us out to die. We would run around a hilly grass course in all-out 3 minute bursts, to see how far we could get. Some nights after this workout I wished I had died during practice!
In college Mark Wetmore put us through a workout he called “Anaerobic Darwinism” where we would run 300 meter sprints around a field, altering leads in groups of 10. The object was for the leader to gap as many people in the group as possible by two seconds or more. Any runner who was two or more seconds behind the leader had to take a “miss.” Two misses in a row and the runner was out. We would do this workout until only one runner remained standing. True survival of the fittest!
So what are your favorite or most painful workouts? What workouts make you tremble at the mere thought of running them? Tell us in the comments below, and we will read some of them on our radio show this Sunday!