Years ago I was introduced to the joys of running 3 stories underground in a car park. Why?; well it works out that the ring road is 400m long, providing the perfect 24/7 flood-lit all-weather track. The temperature stays a few degrees warmer when freezing outside and cooler when Hot. The humidity can be high at times and drivers don’t look out for runners but it is a fantastic place for wet days, track work and speed play. I look forward the smooth rhythm of my weekly underground runs.
For most of my runs my experience is either internal or external. An external run is about saying hi to others, enjoying the view and running new road. Internal is when I must reach inside for a bit extra to push to the end of the run or complete my sets. Racing is when I get to enjoy both the internal and external that running has to offer. Running underground is an all internal experience for me. The view stays the same, security will say hello but this is the only person you see that want to interact with you. Cars come and go but really it stays all just the same. Lab style conditions are created where you can just get into your own head and nut out a good run (most of the time).
This mornings session was not easy for me. Starting out I was a little sore due to yesterdays bike and 2 run sessions. I had to reach inside looking to find the required stuff to finish the main set of 50 x 200 metres on 57 seconds or 10k at 4:45 pace. I was doing well until I looked at my watch 33:14 was not what I wanted to see, I was starting to struggle early. My breathing became harder, a stitch forming as pain grew inside.
With 15 minutes still to go, I started my mental distraction techniques. 1st I tried to sing or listen to a tune in my head, but all I was getting was a 3 second track intro before skipping to the next song, next I concentrate on elbows, saying to myself “drive them back relax your hands”. The elbow thing worked well but only for 800m. When the going gets tough make it a game. I started to work on gaining 1 metre each 400, well I was gaining 2.5 metres each 400 so I keep at it, then I alternated gain 10m drop 10m. My watch lets out an alarm each 57s so I played with my accuracy, can I increase just 50cm each lap how accurate can I be without looking at my watch. A great mental challenge that worked to distract me until the last 400 when I knew that all is well and I will make it to the end. Another session in the training bank.