This year I have really neglected my speed work and tempo runs. My running improves when I add one speed sesh to my training once a week. FYI, it also burns more fat, if that is a goal of yours.
On Monday I decided to do a tempo run that kind of turned into a run-as-hard-as-you-can-for-three-miles. I started on a downhill, ran up hill #1, and into Cherokee Park, ran the loop and hills #2 and #3, and stopped when I got back to hill #1. One of these days I'm going to take my camera to the park so I can snap photos of these hills I run! Each is at least 1/3 of a mile. My first two miles were around 9:30 and my last mile was 9:15, which was surprising because I was getting pretty fatigued. Once I stopped and walked after mile 3, I ended up running another mile because I had to go to a meeting down the street and I didn't want to drive there. The meeting ended up being on the top floor of a building, and I sat there for an hour with sweat dripping down my face. It was hot, in both senses of the word.
It felt really great to do some speed work and really push myself - push myself to the point where I'm winded and I haven't just cruised through it. Now that the Mini Marathon is next weekend, I will probably do one more short speed work session, 2-3 basic runs, and a 6 miler on Saturday. At this point, I don't want to fatigue myself, and there's no way my running will exponentially improve in a matter of 9 days.
In other workout news, last night was my third Bikram class in three weeks. During the last two classes, I couldn't manage to cool down so I had to sit out a pose or two. Last night, I felt GREAT and did every single pose. Our instructor gave us the option of holding Camel for a minute (rather than 30 seconds) and I chose to do so, along with a few others. Here's Camel courtesy of Desert Bikram:
Camel is considered a "Master Pose" in Bikram, meaning it's one of the most challenging yet important. We do lots of backbends in Bikram, which feel great since we don't do them very often in our every day life. It's pretty common to feel nauseated or dizzy during Camel, and it's also common to get kind of emotional. In a lot of poses people tend to hold their breath because it's challenging. If you have a good instructor, they will remind you over and over again to breathe and focus on the breath. If you don't breathe, you'll pass out! I'll end with a quote from Mary Ann, our instructor from last night:
"Let the breath control the body."