Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Getting out of the Rut -- High Intensity training and random numbers
I have several lunchtime runs that I do during the week. They have catchy names like "Jefferson + Chestnut," "YMCA Loop," "Jesus Saves," and "Greenway Sewage Loop." The names are based on where the route takes me. "Jesus Saves," for example, takes me from downtown, through the park, and up a steep hill to a church with a big neon sign exclaiming that Jesus does in fact save us. These routes take me just about every direction from downtown. They take me over roads, sidewalks, trails, rivers and in a couple cases, they even summit a mountain. Most of these loops are between 5 and 6 miles.
Even with a selection of routes with catchy names and varying terrain, I tend to get in a rut. Monday is Jefferson. Tuesday is the YMCA Loop. Wednesday is intervals at the park. Thursday is...
To spice up my daily runs, I started supplementing them with a quick high intensity workout. These workouts also have catchy names like "Tabata sprints," "Man Makers," "Death by Burpees," and "Playground Fun." Most of these workouts can be done anywhere along my running route. Some have to be done at a playground (pull-up bar), and some require dumbells and therefore are done in the weight room. (Note: Studies show that short bursts of high intensity exercise improve VO2 max and burn more fat than steady state "aerobic" exercise. The myth of the "fat burning zone" has been busted, but I'll save that for another day.) But it is still easy to get into a rut. My training log was starting to indicate a preference for the "YMCA Loop" and "Playground Fun." Enter the Random Workout Generator.
I listed my favorite lunchtime running routes in one column of a sheet of paper. I added in a couple entries for "Rest" and one for "Runner's Choice." In the other column I listed 15 workouts, including Rest and Runner's Choice. I numbered each of these -- 15 per column. Now all I have to do is use a handy random number calculator to generate 2 numbers between 1 and 15, and I have a surprise workout every time I want one.
The first workout combination I generated was "Jefferson + Chestnut" (a very hilly route) and "Hill Repeats." Oh man, I wasn't expecting that. But I did it. And my Suunto Vector gave me a reading of 1,120' total ascent. Not bad for a one hour lunchtime run.
Today's draw has me running "Over the river and through the woods" followed by a quick set of "Man Makers." That one is going to hurt. In a good way.
Maybe I should add some new entries to the list: Pizza, Sushi, Indian Buffet, Burger-n-Fries...