Home FitnessRunning Life is a Box of Chocolates and Speedwork is What I Tasted Today!

Life is a Box of Chocolates and Speedwork is What I Tasted Today!

by Tanya Agarwal

It’s Week 2/8 of my marathon training plan. The first run of the week today was a tempo run – a speed run that had to be sustained over 15 km. Warm up and cool down always stay separate.

 There was a time in my life when I dreaded tempo runs. Read here to understand tempo runs! To be running fast… kilometer after kilometer was a thought that exhausted me. I ran as fast as I could, just to touch the paces that were on the plane. The first few kms were always very doable and then after half distance, I would see my paces falling. My heart would sink looking at those falling paces and I would stride hard….very hard…almost breathless.

After seeing my run stats, my coach would say…” But you have to run fast..in a relaxed manner”. And that is what makes it the hardest run on the plan…Running fast…Running relaxed…Over many kilometers.

The good news is that  I don’t dread tempos anymore. They excite me. I’ve figured that running fast over long distances is not at all about giving your all. If run too fast, tempos are the buggers that can set one up for a sure-shot injury!

Back to today’s run – the 15 km tempo came with a 3 km warm up and 2 km cool down.

As soon as I was to leave for the run, my help came in saying that it was super windy outside. I ran towards my closet, added one more layer to my already 74735732 layers, and left.

Nobody had to tell me that I looked like a teddy bear, but someone did tell me exactly that while I was going down the lift.

Yes, I was at least 3 kgs more with those extra layers.

And ….I carried 400 ml water and 4 dates too. All in my run belt.

Throughout the 3 km warm up I found myself a little worried. I was already overthinking….I worried about overdoing the paces, disappointing Alfie who had been trying to tell me for the last one month about keeping my paces as constant as possible. I’ve felt his frustration in coaching me in his last few terse messages ( which I know are very hard for him to write and send)! When your coach is more worried for you than you are for yourself, you know that you are a lucky trainee!

The traffic today in Gurgaon was conspicuously bad. But a small-town girl like me knows how to navigate it.  I’ve cycled my way to school in the worst traffic on even narrower roads for years. Also, today it was super windy on the national highway. The tip of my nose was freezing and my hands felt numb.

Ideal conditions, Tanya! Let’s go!!!

Warm up done. It was time for the real deal.

Between trying to keep my breath regulated, my cadence in control, my shoulders relaxed and paces never falling below 5.30, I had executed 15 kms of speedwork. Time had flown. My focus and solitude had synced with each other for those 80-85 minutes. It was an absolutely beautiful run. I felt calm amidst the crazy traffic of Gurgaon! I felt like a star!!!!

It was time for a 2 km cool down and all my real thoughts were now back. I was super hungry and a big breakfast was the only thing on my mind. Work, love, and kids all can wait when I need food. I had consumed four dates on the run today and honestly, my body was ready to consume at least 8 more. No more light breakfasts for this hungry runner girl!

Did I overthink after this run? Of course – I asked myself – if I ran too fast? Yes, I could have run 7-8 seconds slower. Do I feel tired right now? Will I need a nap today? But is there time for it?

Nostalgia – I look back at the January of 2015. It was exactly this week.. 9 years back when I did my first speed run-workout. It was an unplanned one. I was tired from a night as my less than 12-month-old son had entertained me all night!  At 6 that morning, coming out and running in the fresh air felt like the easiest thing to do! I was out on a regular run with my run group, running slow on the Gurgaon Faridabad Express. A runner while overtaking me, looked back at me and asked me if I could match paces with him! I told him that I would love to try! I did 4 fast kms on the rolling hills of Gurgaon on a whim and with a stranger! I didn’t own a running watch or even proper running shoes. It was that era of my run life!

Reflections – We live a planned life. Education, career, marriage, kids – all of this is planned. A lot of thought goes into all these aspects of our life. So then how did I end up manifesting this unplanned hobby… without giving it even one single thought…and how did it become such a big part of my life? Am not looking for any answers, but definitely loving it!

Mumma Gump was right when she told Forrest – “Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get.” 

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Tomorrow 10th January 2023 is an easy 10 km run for me. But my thoughts are more with my run on 11th January 2023. Come back to my blog tomorrow to know exactly why!

PS – If you don’t understand the thread of this blog, read my week 1 of marathon training, here.

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