A few weeks ago my son and I were watching a special on ESPN titled something like “The Top 50 All-Time Incredible Moments in SPorts.” One of the top moments was Rosie Ruiz’s cheating to win the 1980 Boston Marathon. You may recall she was the first woman to cross the line that year in that revered race. All the media mobbed her because she was several minutes ahead of the favorite women runners. The video clip they showed on the ESPN special was a reporter at the finish line asking Rosie if she had done a lot of interval training to increase her speed. Rosie replied “I don’t know what interval training is.” Now THAT should have been the give-away that she was not a world-class runner.
After the finish several people commented that they had not seen Rosie pass any of the water stops along the course. Officials reviewed video tapes and did not see her anywhere. Later a witness came forward to say Rosie had started the race, cut off of the course, taken a subway to the finish line then jumped back into the race near the end to cross the line and take the medal. Eventually she was stripped of the medal and it was awarded to the real female winner.
I say that the interval statement should have been a give-away because if you want to increase your speed you must run intervals. It’s the only way to get faster. One reason I know that is because I have not done many intervals this Spring and my times have been poor. I was over 2 minutes slower this year in a 10k I use as my first race each summer. And every running expert you read will as the same thing. Distance builds endurance, intervals build speed.
So, unless you plan to take the subway to the finish line, run your intervals.