Monday, July 09, 2012

Tri-training: Let's talk about intervals

In my tri-training, I've been learning about intervals lately.  Just what are intervals, exactly?  They are simply short periods of harder, faster activity interspersed with easier, slower recovery periods (intervals).  When you do intervals, you increase the intensity of your workout, build your aerobic fitness faster, burn more calories, and hopefully, get faster!  Because you are not increasing the time of your workout, but simply increasing the intensity, you are limiting the wear and tear on muscles, joints, and tendons and guarding against overuse injuries.  It also makes workouts a little more interesting.  That's what the experts say.  I'm not sure I'm at the fitness level yet to find them interesting.  I mainly feel like they're hard, right now!

So, here are a couple of examples of interval workouts I've been doing:

Walk a half mile, run/jog a half mile, walk 2 minutes, run hard 1 minute/walk 2 minutes.  I repeat the run hard 1 minute/walk 2 minutes 4 or 5 times and then finish the workout by walking and jogging easily for another mile or so.  The entire workout is about 4 miles.

And here's a cycling interval workout I've done: Ride easy but steadily for 15 minutes, pedal hard for 30 seconds trying to hit 50 revolutions in that time period/pedal more slowly but steadily for a minute and then repeat the 30 second/2 minute sequence 8-10 times.  Finish by cycling steadily but more easily for another 10-15 minutes.

I haven't really done any swimming interval workouts yet, because I'm still working more on my stroke technique.  Also, my coach doesn't really know anything about swimming, so I'll have to go to the expert for advice on that!

Today was not an interval workout day.  Today was a longer, steady bike ride.  Coty and I checked out a loop of roads in the country near here and it was a really nice ride.  Mostly flat and straight (which is good because cars can see you from a distance) with some rolling hills and a couple of shorter, steeper hills.

Toward the end of our ride, we were cycling up the last harder hill and I was feeling pretty spent.  Coty was just a little bit ahead of me and I was trying hard to imagine a string connecting us so I would keep pedaling hard and not drop too far behind him.  It was feeling really rough, but it was helpful to have him just ahead of me, to pull me up the hill by that imaginary string!  I was pumping hard, my legs were burning.  Then I heard a voice just behind me saying, "Keep it up.  You're doing great!"  And then a real cyclist (nice road bike, bike shoes, shorts, jersey ... the works) pulled up beside me, pedaling soooo easily up the hill.  I huffed and puffed out that I was a beginner and he said, "Really!  Well, you're doing just fine.  Keep it up."  As the hill flattened out at the top, we chatted a bit about the route and then he passed us both and was out of sight very quickly.  What a nice little bit of encouragement from a stranger ... just when I needed it.

In all of this training, it really does help to have people cheering you on.  Coty is my #1 encourager and helper.  Joel always tells me I'm hard core and doing great.  Other family and friends add their words of encouragement and urging.  They make me want to work hard and press on.

Makes me think of this verse...
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  -Hebrews 12:1-3

The more I train, the more I am struck with the physical/spiritual parallels.  Looking forward to sharing more of them with you in the weeks ahead as I press on.

1 comment:

Scotty and Lisa said...

You're my hero, Beth!