61. Keeping count

Running tip #61

snow-hearts

Yesterday, I drew in the snow during my workout … not a lovenote (^) but a series of hash marks to count to 12.   Often on a Sunday evening, I try to come up with short-and-sweet workouts to dash off before dinner.  I let the terrain and my mood determine what I run, so last night I opted for a 25-second stretch of gravel road that ended in a field of snow.  My plan was to use each 25 second burst to work on my form (or, rather, to reinforce my already-good form from 40 years of competitive running).  After the first few sprints, with jog back to start recovery, I realized the cold air and lack-of-oxygen from anaerobic work might cause me to lose track of how many I’d run, so I drew vertical lines in the snow after each interval to keep count.

tick-marks

On not-so-snowy days, rocks may also be used for counting.  Start with as many rocks as you plan to run intervals. For instance, if you are doing 8 X 700m, then you’ll need 8 rocks.  After each 700, toss a rock aside.  Later in the workout, when you are oxygen-deprived and rapidly losing your ability to do simple math, you will know how many intervals you have left by glancing at the (decreasing) line of rocks.

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p.s. Warning!  If you happen to be a young mother with a mischieveous kid waiting on a park-bench as you run round and round each loop, that line of rocks may mysteriously change from 4 to 5 after you thought you were half-way through.

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