Some time ago, I started jogging intervals (fast, slow, fast, slow, etc.). More recently, I started jogging for endurance (though I couldn’t last longer than ~20 mins.). Anytime I’ve started up a jogging routine, though, what eventually puts an end to it is sore knees. My form is decent, but it’s never an immediate pain that cuts me off from maintaining a running routine… this is an ache that only occurs after I’ve been going for a while or I’m trying to maintain a consistently high speed for too long (which cut down on how intense my intervals could get).
Basically, it’s long-form running that is my mortal enemy, here, not running in general.
A couple of years ago, at the start of a new interval-jogging endeavor, I enjoyed a beautiful, singular moment of letting myself go and running as fast as I could. As I mention in that entry, I was a fast little kid, always the top of my class in terms of speed… which is saying something because I was also always the shortest. Of course, I was also never a distance-runner; in that regard, my longer-legged classmates always overtook me eventually. As soon as I hit puberty, my legs naturally became dense tree trunks of muscle, thick enough that I lost my ability to float on water. I have since lost some of that extra mass as I’ve developed a leaner physique, but there still be power in them thar legs.
So, I can’t run for long, I used to be one of the fastest kids around on short bursts, but I still want to push my body cardiovascularly (not a word, but I do what I want). Where does that leave me? Well, I smacked my head the other night when I realized that the answer has been sitting in front of me this whole time:
I’m a sprinter.
I’m somewhat the antithesis of Usain Bolt, in that I am short and white-skinned, but we do have a grand commonality… we’re great at sprinting. So, this afternoon, I went out into the neighborhood, after having used Google Maps to figure out that a 50-meter dash is about the width of two house lots, and I started sprinting 50’s. I let my heart-rate settle back down to its resting rhythm in-between each run, but during the sprints I gave it everything I had. I read an interesting article which suggested that the body adapts to its terrain — softening its brace on hard surfaces, stiffening on soft ones — so I opted for running in the street vs. trying to find a grassy path nearby. 50-meter dashes certainly don’t seem very long, but I want to warm up to it, first. I got through 4 sprints before my form started to loosen a little from fatigue and I stopped. Running sloppily is a good way to potentially hurting myself, and nobody wants that. NOBODY!
My leg muscles are definitely worked, my lungs burned hard, but I feel absolutely great! The science of sprinting vs. endurance jogging is out there, certainly, but I’m just thrilled that I’m finally making use of my body as I think it was always intended. I’ve always been a sprinter, my legs certainly appear designed for it, but on top of everything — I enjoy the heck out of it. A neighbor road his bike by me as I was in the midst of my third sprint, sweating and pumping my arms hard, and as he peddled on down the road he offered an exuberant, “Get it!”
Oh, I got it, my wheeled friend. I got it 🙂 .