I started off training at a 3:1 run/walk ratio (run for 3 minutes, walk for one minute, repeat) and have moved my way up to a 6:1 ratio, progressively over time. Our training group has decided to 'kick it up a notch' in 2009 starting as of last week. We are switching to a 9:1 ratio and my first run using those intervals will be this weekend. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I have confidence that I can maintain the 9:1 intervals for the first 5+ miles since on runs that are around that distance (including 10ks) I have no problem running straight through without walking, however it will be a new experience after that. On marathons I typically don't stay to the strict time ratio and will usually bypass a walk break or two if I feel I have the energy and am not pushing myself.
Running with a group of people is going to be what gets me used to the new intervals and the strength to push through the adversity as my legs become accustomed to the increased running time post 5-6 miles. This past Thursday I was able to get through a 3 mile run (with a single walk break of 30 sec at 15 min) and post my best time at an 'out and back' around my house... improving my previous PR by 3 min. (24 min 26 sec). Honestly, I feel like I am hitting my stride and have high hopes that if I can stay injury free in 2009 it is going to be the fastest year to date.
'Clinky' (like 'cheers' - the sound of two glasses 'clinking' together) to high hopes and to new challenges. That is why we do what we do, right?