I’ve written about the speed work I’ve been running as part of my recent training – this has been repetitions of around twenty seconds of strides/sprints, either on the flat or up the single local steep hill.
I’ve enjoyed this aspect of training and the incremental nature of it, slowly improving over time. I’ve tried not to push myself, both at the outset of the session (gradually building up to the right pace over a few initial reps), and through not overdoing the number of reps; my concern is the fear of injury through short burst intensive, explosive effort.
This week I ran a series of strides on the flat straight section of path by the river. As I neared my goal I had an idea: instead of pushing myself a few reps further, why not move on to the hilly bit and sprint a few times up there too?
A ten minute jog later I was at the foot of the hill and I raced up it a handful of times before heading home. It was a brilliant workout, I felt stretched further than I had before, testing my leg muscles in slightly different ways.
As I trotted back home, I felt incredibly clever to have put these two sessions together in such an effective way. Congratulations to my big brain! But really, was it all that clever? Surely it was staring me in the face all this time anyway, if anything I was slow to realise it.
It wasn’t clever, it was just creative.
There’s a famous Steve Jobs quote about creativity, he said:
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesise new things.
My training plan from the off was always to mix up the runs – long runs, speed work, hill climbs, tempo and goal pace runs. But always on different days, there was no room for cross-breeding any of these together. But training needs learning, it needs reflection, it needs to iterate towards a goal safely (to prevent injury) and reflectively (to avoid aggravating any oncoming injury).
And now I realise my plan lacks the creativity, adaptability, and learning that life needs. We are all creative people, and the connection between things is what we use to create. So let’s go, let’s explore these connections, put the prescriptive training plan in the blender and see what comes out. Big brains unite!