Not everyone likes to do cardio — that is pretty much an engrained, scientific fact. Toronto-based personal trainer Kathleen Trotter drops 3 different interval training workouts that can help keep the ho-hum of routine at bay. Besides being a personal trainer, Kathleen lives her advice, having completed 10 (count ’em!) marathons, an Ironman (well, Ironwoman to be more accurate) and 7 half Ironmans. You can also find her on Twitter.
I hate doing the same workout day in and day out. In fact, being tired of my workout is one of the only things that will cause me to “skip”.
To make sure I stay interested, I spice up my routine with intervals. I usually do intervals while running or cycling, but you can use any cardio machine you like.
Try mixing up the machine you use. One day do intervals on the rower. Another day try the bike, treadmill or elliptical. You could even do the intervals outside while you swim or roller blade!
Workout #1 – Easy Pick-ups
Warm-up for five minutes. Do 10 minutes at your regular speed (and regular level if you are on a machine like the elliptical that has levels).
Then, cycle through the following pattern for 10 minutes: alternate 30 seconds at regular speed, 20 seconds slightly faster and 10 seconds fast. Finish with five to 15 minutes of cardio at your regular speed and level. Cool down for five minutes.
Workout # 2 – Pyramid Intervals
Warm-up for five minutes. Do one minute hard. One minute easy. Two minutes hard. Two minutes moderate. Three minutes hard. Three minutes moderate. Four minutes hard. Four minutes moderate. Five minutes hard. One minute easy. Five minutes hard. Cool down for five to 10 minutes.
(To keep track of your intervals, download one of the many interval tracking apps for your smartphone, or consider investing in a gym timer for your workout area.)
Workout # 3 – Mini pick-ups
Warm-up for five minutes. Do five minutes at regular speed. Alternate 15 seconds hard with 45 seconds moderate for 10 minutes. Recover for two minutes. Then, repeat the intervals by alternating 15 seconds hard with 45 seconds at regular speed. Cool down for five to eight minutes.
If you want to include interval workouts as part of your training routine for a particular race, first pick the distance you want to complete. Then pick the date and location of the race so you can plan your training program appropriately. Once a week do a long run that progressively increases in distance. The length and distance should be appropriate to the race distance you choose.
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So for example, if you decide you want to train for a 10km race, your long run should start at about 6km.
Over a 12 -16 week period it should work up to 10km. Your second weekly run should be an easy short run. (again, ‘short’ is relative to your race distance). Your third weekly run should be an interval workout (try one of the workouts above).
The distance of your interval run should be approximately 40-80% of the distance of your race. If your race is 10km, your interval workout should be between 4km and 8km.
Don’t forget to have fun! The world is your fitness oyster!