I'd been toying for a while with the idea of straying away from the boring grass oval for my training run, but that would mean running on the hard surface of the footpath -- bad for my shins and possibly hips, ankles etc. Today Tim brought it up, and then when I got to the oval I found someone there practicing their golf. I'd rather run away from imaginary zombies than real golf balls, so I headed off on a big loop of the neighbourhood.
I walked the first five minutes, stretched, then walked the whole second five minute "free form run". I wanted to be sure I was completely warm and limber. Then my first 60 second running interval. I started running on the grass beside the path but it was uneven and I had to watch out for sticks so I quickly moved back to the footpath -- and it was so much easier! The end of the interval was up a steep hill but I made it (possibly going slower than I could have walked, but I was still doing jogging movements). Second interval was along a flat bit of footpath. For the last 10 seconds or so I veered off onto dirt and it instantly became much harder to keep up the pace.
But I still hadn't learned my lesson. I was at my destination, an interesting raised dirt path. Although after trying to run on it I shall revise the phrase "dirt path" to "dirt path covered in gravel, big rocks, sticks, leaves, and ants". I only got to 45 seconds on intervals 3 and 4, which made me sad. Was I never going to be a confident runner?
I got to the end of the dirt and scrambled down a steep crumbly incline, back onto a civilized surface. Interval 5 came up (so quickly!) and off I went without much hope in my heart. But I flew through it! I can't say easy, but so much easier! Was this the answer I was looking for? Is the grassy surface I've been running on just too uneven for me, making my legs and ankles work much harder than they do on the even footpath? Even allowing for stretching helping (I stopped a couple of extra times to stretch during the session) and natural improvement from being consistent with training, today's run seems to show that, contrary to all received wisdom, I've been running on the wrong surface.
I got to the free form section of the session -- two 8 minute run/walks with a 2 min walk in the middle. I did SEVEN more runs of around 60 seconds! Such awesomeness! That is ten altogether, not including the 45 second ones. And I didn't finish up limping and gasping, they were ... again I won't say easy, but managable. By the end of the session my shins were a little bit sore, but nothing like as bad as they have been other days.
And going a different way instead of round and round an oval was much more interesting.
I am filled with a new hope.