Back at the start of April, I signed up for a group fitness class at the pro club, the “Boot Camp” … a twice-weekly (for two months) running-focused outdoor workout that was supposedly modeled after real military training. Well, it wasn’t anything like what I remembered from going through basic training with the Canadian Military, but I don’t think anyone in the class would have actually wanted that. Paying to have people yell at you is something that only a small group of people enjoy.
Anyway, even without the yelling, it was quite the workout for me… considering I haven’t run any real distance over a block or two since the aforementioned basic training (15+ years ago I think). We started out with short runs of 1 mile to a nearby park where we did a pile of sprints, pushups, situps, pull-ups, dips, etc… then did some hill repeats and finally ran the mile back to the club. Every session after that first one the runs got longer, involving more hills, more sprinting, etc… and every single class seemed to completely kill me… eventually getting up to 4-5 miles (with sprints and/or a workout in the middle of that distance). Sure, I was improving, but the runs were increasing as well so it never really felt like I was doing better. We ended up repeating some of the harder runs though, as the two months were drawing to a close, and they definitely felt a lot easier. Finally, on the last day of the course, we did a two mile timed run and various other fitness tests… all of which we had done on the second day of the course as well. I’m still really slow, but the improvement was quite nice to see… I improved by 20% across the board, in both the resistance training (push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups) and in the running (running the 2 miles in 24.15 the first time, and 19.45 the second time). Still not a good time for a mile (9:22 ish), but I’m not planning on running any races soon and running a mile in around 9 minutes is a lot better than around 12.
Was it worth it? You bet… I would never run that often, that hard, or that far without other people running next to me. For that reason alone, the motivation, I decided to sign-up for the next two months of sessions as well. I almost didn’t, because all this extra running above my normal workouts has left me quite tired all week, and leaves little time for anything else (like late-night blogging, writing, or coding)… but the more runs I get in as part of the group, the easier I think it will be to keep it up on my own after this next 2-month session ends.