I am asked to review a Nike+ mp3 workout and am given the choice of
Kara Goucher’s Endurance Boost; or
Serena Williams Spontaneous Speed; or
Lance Armstrong: Run Longer Coaching Mix.
After listening to clips of two of them (the Lance Armstrong one didn’t work), I decide the one I hate the least is the one featuring Kara Goucher.
I’ve never heard of her so I have a look on the official Nike+ workout website and she looks pretty so I hate her already.
With just a little trepidation and a sense of foreboding, I load Kara onto my iPod and take to the street, wondering exactly how far into the 38 minutes and 42 seconds I’m going to lose the will to live.
I press play and off she goes. “Let’s get it started in here” some annoying woman starts to sing, sounding not unlike the Bodyform advert, closely followed by an annoying bloke singing “and the bass keeps running running”. Kara comes on and tells me how she’s going to improve my cardio endurance and strengthen my muscles so I can run further and faster with less effort. Hurrah.
I’m told we’re going to start off with a five minute warm up, followed by four sets of four minute intervals, alternated with a four minute recovery period. Gulp.
Kara asks me if I’m feeling good and to release the energy from, amongst other body parts, my face. My face? What the fuck is she going on about? I’m not sure I have an energetic face. Still, I continue running wondering how to release the energy from my face and then the song changes into something only marginally less annoying and Kara comes back and says everyone knows I’m a tough, no nonsense running machine but there’s no need to prove it just yet. I think that fuck for that. I’m not sure I’m quite up to proving I’m a tough no nonsense running machine just yet.
Kara tells me to pick up the pace and to go fast enough that I can’t sustain a conversation. I think hmm, that’d be about 11 minute miles then. She tells me to stay strong. She tells me to try and find a rhythm I can maintain for another three minutes. I think I could probably try and maintain a walking pace for another three minutes. I don’t think I’m going much faster than I was on my warm up pace but I don’t want to let Kara down and I try to push myself. We’re halfway there and she tells me to stay strong but not to get carried away with visions of glory. Ok, I’ll try.
I’m trying really hard to hate the music but actually it’s not that bad and I’m even on the verge of enjoying myself but I’m hoping the four minute recovery bit is coming soon as I think I’m going to faint in a minute. Kara tells me to stay focused, just 30 seconds left. Hurrah.
Kara says great work, that was hard but I rocked it. Yay. She continues, slow down and take the next four minutes to recover, but don’t slack off too much. Me, a slacker? Never. Damn cheek.
Aarrgghh, there’s Keane or some such shit like that playing now. I want to die. I’m stranded over the marshes with only Keane on my iPod. Nightmare. Keane are just so unnecessary. Almost as unnecessary as Coldplay. In fact, I think Keane are probably more unnecessary than Coldplay. At least Coldplay wrote Shiver, and Keane wrote what? Just a load of shite, that’s what.
Two minutes left to recover I’m told, stay nice and relaxed. Relaxed when Keane are on my iPod? Oh you mad Yanks and your crazy sense of humour. My second interval is right around the corner I’m told. Hurrah. Hopefully it doesn’t involve Keane. At last Keane stop being Keane and Kara says party time is over and it’s time to ramp it back up. I’m not going to any party where Kara thinks Keane is appropriate music but she redeems herself with the next track which is the Fratellis and I try to go faster and Kara says I’m doing great and to try and think positive and stay on pace. I’m trying but I think I’m dragging my heels and probably still going at my normal pace and I think maybe coming out to do intervals wasn’t such a great idea after almost two bottles of wine last night and I’m still enjoying the Fratellis’ track and am almost over the trauma of having to listen to Keane when Kara tells me I’m halfway there and to think about how strong I’m getting and soon I will be invincible and I think yeah, I quite fancy being invincible and the track’s changed and I don’t know who it is but it’s waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Keane, because let’s face it, anything is, but I’m still looking forward to my next four minute recovery bit and Kara says one minute to go and to keep those legs turning over.
Kara says nice work, that’s two intervals down and just two to go, ease off a little and steady your breathing during this four minute recovery. I think it’s Beck playing now and I’m not sure I can do another two four minute fast bits and I slow right right down and I want to walk but I think no, I’m not going to walk, I’m going to do the whole 40 minute workout thing without stopping. I am hardcore. And invincible. It must be true, Kara said.
Kara comes back on, you’re two minutes into this segment, have you calmed your breathing? Think zen, Think yoga, or just calm down. Zen? Yoga? I think I’m going to take the just calm down route.
I’m told to enjoy this easy pace for another minute and start to mentally psyche up for the third set. Stay at that same intensity for another four minutes, let’s really hit it. I’m feeling guilty at plodding along at my usual snail’s pace. Should I be feeling guilty towards someone who made me listen to Keane? If I’d have known that Keane would be on the playlist I would have said the deal’s off.
Now she’s saying good effort, get off of those heels and onto those toes. Hmm, I run pretty flatfootedly and not sure I can change the way I run now. Slap slap slap, that’s the sound I make when I’m running, which is another reason I run with my iPod. “This is the halfway mark, focus on your goal, not fatigue, you have the rest of the day for that, right?” Well, actually Kara, no, I don’t have all day to focus on fatigue, I have to go and shower and wash my hair and tidy up and cook a nine dish Indian meal tonight for friends, you may have all day to think of nothing but fatigue but I don’t. Sheesh.
“Keep those arms pumping, you’ve got just 30 seconds before the break.” Arms pumping? I don’t think I’ve ever pumped my arms. They’re just sort of there. I’m looking forward to the break though. “Awesome job, just one more interval to go, now slow down and recover at your easy pace, I’ll let you know when it’s time to step on the gas again.”
And since Keane fucked off, the music’s been ok, in fact, more than ok and I’m thinking I might even do this again one day and actually it’s quite a good idea, despite my initial reservations and then Kara says I’ve got 2 minutes left to recover, try to conserve my energy for the last speed challenge. Speed? Challenge? I was supposed to be going fast? Oops. Must have missed that bit of the instructions.
“30 seconds to go, commit yourself to doing the best on the final interval.” Ok, I will. “This is it, your last four minute challenge, it won’t be easy but you’ll thank yourself for it later.” “Doing great, only three minutes left.” What, to live? Probably. “Stay tough, imagine that I’m schooling (? – what does that mean) your biggest rival.” Um, I don’t actually have a rival, biggest or otherwise. Oh shit, the music’s gone shit again. Not as shit as Keane, but shit, nonetheless. Still, I think I’ve been let off quite lightly musicwise and there’s not long to go now. “Just 30 seconds left, find a landmark up ahead and focus on it until the finish.” I focus on a lamppost and speed up, in my not very fast speeding up style. “Congratulations, you did it, the hard part’s over and now it’s time to cool down, your favourite part I’m sure if you’re anything like me. Take the next five minutes to slow down to your warm up level and think about everything you accomplished today.” Um, I accomplished getting out of bed and making a cup of tea. That counts though, right? “This was a tough one but you’re boosting your cardio and building stamina, I’ll check in with you as we finish up.”
At last I hear the words “Your workout is over but be sure to stretch and to drink lots of water so you’re ready for your next run.”
Thanks Kara, I enjoyed that.
Apart from the Keane bit.
Next time (and there will be a next time), I will try harder.
Distance: 3.73 miles
Pace: 10:16 m/m
Kara Goucher mp3 workouts: 1
Let’s Get It Started (Black Eyed Peas)
Don’t Phunk With My Heart (Black Eyed Peas)
Say Goodbye To Love (Kenna)
Somewhere Only We Know (Keane)
For The Girl (The Fratellis)
Lay Down The Law (The Switches)
Where It’s At (Beck)
The Middle (Jimmy Eat World)
Sorry Sorry (Rooney)
Come To You (Carina Round)
Chase The Light (Jimmy Eat World)
Stop Stare (One Republic)