Here we’re going to start adding a higher intensity to your cardio exercise. This coming week continue your base runs, but replace two days that are least a day apart to get an interval workout in. Interval workouts are those that switch between a steady base run pace and an elevated “race pace.” Now that you have built your base you need to add intensity to rev up your motor and burn calories. This type of training is important because it increases your lung capacity and it makes your anaerobic metabolism more efficient. In short, you’re able to burn calories quicker and more effieciently.
What to do now:
- Type of exercise: I recommend running on soft surface (grass, dirt, newer tracks) to start out with. Using eliptical machines, swimming, biking, and rowing can work well too. Using machines like the stairmaster or treadmil are harder because you have to adjust the speed and intensity by pushing buttons.
- Timing of your workout: To start, allow at least 8 minutes of warm up that are run at your base pace. Then, set a timer or watch for one minute alarms that repeat. We will be working at a 1:1 work to rest ratio with our intervals, but the duration, number, and intensity of the intervals will change from week to week. End with a 10 minute easy cool down.
- Intensity of your workout: To start out, we’ll do 1 min fast (think running your fastest half mile) and 1 min recovery (think of your steady base pace) repeated 6-8 times (1 min rest and 1 min recovery=1 repetition). Push yourself. Though the first 2 or 3 may feel relatively relaxed, your legs should be shot by the end of the workout. You shouldn’t start off sprinting and slow down towards the end of the minute. Instead, work in a zone that is fast enough that you are challenged to keep it up, but controlled enough that you can maintain it for the entire minute.
- Goal to focus on: Again, control your breathing, especially during your recovery. If you are running, biking or swimming, pick out a point ahead and try to make it to that point before your timer goes off. Focus on pushing every step of your working minute forward, going towards that point. Every part of your body goes in that direction. Also, keep the same pace throughout each minute. Try to finish each repetition as strongly as you started it.
- How to progress: Do the same number of repetitions both times this week, and then we’ll increase your repetitions by 1 for one of the days next week. You will progress to longer warm ups and cool downs in two weeks. Eventually, your intervals will get faster and/or longer.