I don’t like speed work. Really, really loath it. I enjoy running in races, and racing, to some extent, as long as that extent is within my comfort level. If that makes any sense.
Anyway…back in winter I mentioned playing “Slippery Sprints“, and obviously that is a game that can only be played in winter. I decided to come up with another way to make speed work fun. I call this “Hydrant Sprints”. (It’s the game that’s important, not the name.)
I did my research and found out that the hydrants in my town are usually 300-450ft (about 91-137 meters) apart in residential areas. As far as traditional speed drills go, this is probably a little low (this article recommends 200 meter distances). However, this is much easier than finding a track. I’m also not a fan of running in circles and I always lose count of how many times I’ve been around the track.
All that you need to do to play this “game”, is pay attention to the hydrants*. I alternate between jogging and sprinting between hydrants. The first time I did these drills I sprinted between every other hydrant, but I felt that this was a bit too much for me. That could have been because I don’t do a lot of speed work. I think I needed more recovery time in between sprints, so I now jog two distances between hydrants and sprint one. This works much better for me.
Really this is just something different to do to break away from my standard runs. Running, for me, isn’t about racing or being the fastest one out there, it’s about getting my body moving. However, I’m not denying the fact that speed work can make you a better runner. I just don’t find it that much fun to do.
*Spotting the hydrants wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. Many times they are not on the same side of the road, so you have to keep your eyes peeled. It didn’t take me long to know when to anticipate the next hydrant, but there were a few times I was scanning the street frantically for the next one when it wasn’t directly in front of me.
The other day I came up with another game to play while running. I really feel that sometimes it is important to get out of your head and not pay close attention to how you’re running. I can get really competitive with myself and tend to focus on performance rather than enjoy the run.
This game (I’m really not sure what to call it. I kept thinking “musical chairs”, but I don’t really like that and unfortunately I can’t think of anything better.) is pretty simple, but it’s actually a bit difficult to play. Here are the rules:
My end time was 31:08 (I made the mistake of running my old 3 mile route during rush hour and it crosses a few busy streets, so there was some waiting involved). I listened to a full 8 songs and about a minute of song #9. I tried really hard to recall what I listened to. Here’s what I got:
1. Tom Petty – Don’t Come Ground Here no More
2. N*Sync – Bye, Bye, Bye (I’m pretty sure that’s the correct song)
3. Neil Young – Heart of Gold
4. Lady Gaga – Telephone
5. Gorillaz (don’t remember the song)
6. The Beatles (don’t remember the song)
7. Tears for Fears – Head Over Heals
8. Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer
9. Spice Girls – Wannabe (one minute)
There’s no real right or wrong way to play this game. It’s just a fun way to distract yourself from the run. I had a lot of fun with it!
Please note: I think I should point out that although I do encourage having fun while running, I am not encouraging anyone to run on ice. Please be careful when running in slippery weather!
It might sound a little silly when I say that I like to play games while I run. Well, I do. It keeps me motivated and gives me something to think about when the run gets long.
It had snowed before one of my last runs and that gave me a chance to try out a new game. I call it “Slippery Sprints”.
I’ve mentioned before that I appreciate it when people take the time to shovel their sidewalk. However, this game only works if you live in a neighborhood with somewhat lazy neighbors. My neighborhood is a bit like that. About half the people shovel in a timely manner, and the rest (Paul included) hope that the sun melts the snow before they have to deal with it.
Anyway, the game is simple: whenever you see an snow/ice patch ahead, sprint to it. When you reach the snow, slow down to a careful jog or walk to avoid falling. Then repeat as you see fit.
There’s really no exact science to the game (that’s why it’s a game), so I don’t recommend doing this in place of real speed work. It’s just a way to pass the time. And it’s kind of like being a kid again. Don’t even try to tell me you didn’t see how far you could slide on the ice as a kid!
How about you? Are there any fun “games” you like to play when you run? I’d love to hear about them!