I hate running. I love working out, I love going to the gym, and I love being active. But, I don’t love running. No matter how many land sports I tried growing up and throughout high school I always went back to swimming. Not just because it was the sport that I felt like I excelled the most at, but because it also does not involve running. My hatred for running was evident at an early age. During my kindergarten soccer games I would plead with the coach to be the goalie because that was the one position that running wasn’t really involved. Plus, the ball was not really flying at you that hard, if at all. Through middle school and high school I tried tennis and lacrosse. I tolerated the running but it was definitely not something I looked forward to. In college, I pretty much abandoned the running world altogether and just stuck with swimming. Once I graduated, that is when the real problem arrived. I needed a cardiovascular exercise to partake in. I had been so active my entire life that it felt strange not to have an activity to turn to. Swimming was pretty much out of the question. First, I was kind of sick of it after about fourteen years of competitive swimming and second, the membership to all the pools around me are expensive. I tried biking at the gym, and using the elliptical as well, but I just wasn’t seeing the results I wanted and wasn’t getting that same post-workout “high.” That was when I decided I needed to face my biggest fear: running.
Over the next couple months I slowly tried to build myself up to running 3 miles. I was getting there but it was a slow process that really wasn’t much fun. At all, in fact. I searched for a new running method, talked to some friends, and was introduced to interval training. This has completely changed the way I feel about running. I actually don’t mind running now (I won’t say I like it). What is interval training? Interval training is when you push your body really hard for about 30 seconds to a couple minutes, then you “rest”/take it easy for another 2-3 minutes, then you work your body back up to high intensity for a couple more minutes and repeat, etc., etc. You get the point. I like interval training for many different reasons. One, it’s quick. All you need is 20-30 minutes. If you can make it 40-45 minutes, great but it’s not needed. Two, I can see and feel the results. I love how interval training is sculpting my body without me even having to pick up a weight. I also notice that the actual running is getting easier each week enabling me to push myself a little harder than I normally would. It seems to be working a lot faster than just straight running. Three, it burns more fat (especially for women) than just straight running. Pushing yourself hard for a few minutes, “resting” for a few minutes, then going hard again actually makes your body work harder. To achieve that mountain/roller coaster effect your body needs to work each time you increase your intensity, then it gets to rest, but only before it needs to work its way back up all over again. Lastly, interval running also keeps your body burning long after your workout has finished. I can feel my body working, sweating, and radiating off my hard earned heat throughout my drive home from the gym and until I hop in the shower. After one of these workouts I feel like I have accomplished something, like I have just done something really good for my body and myself. Probably because I have.
I have a set of about eight interval running workouts that I continually cycle through. I hate doing the same workout twice in a row because I get bored very easily. I am always finding and adding new running routines to keep my workouts fresh. In hopes to inspire other running-haters to give interval training a shot I will be sharing my workouts here with you, one at a time. This week I am going to share one of my favorites because it really doesn’t involve a lot of running but it’s still highly effective. But you will need to get your butt and calf muscles pumping because there are a lot of hills involved:
1st Set: Warm-up!
0-3:00: set incline on treadmill at 2 and the speed at 3.5 mph
3-5:00: incline- 4; speed- 4.0 mph
5-7:00: incline- 5; speed- 5.0 mph
7-8:00: incline- 2; speed- 6.0 mph
2nd Set: Get the blood flowing!
8-16:00: Repeat the warm-up set above
3rd Set: Hill time (a.k.a. booty time!)
16-20:00: incline- 12; speed- 3.7 mph
20-21:00: incline- 15; speed-4.0 mph
21-23:00: incline- 10; speed-3.0 mph
4th Set: Feel the booty burn!
23-30:00: Repeat the 3rd set above!
5th Set: You’re really working now!
30-37:00: Repeat the 3rd set above, again!
6th Set: One last time!
37-44:00: Repeat the 3rd set above! Yes, again.
7th Set: Sprint- give it all you have left!
44-45:00- incline-2; 6-10 mph- whatever you can do, push yourself, it’s only 60 seconds.
8th Set: Cool down!
45-50:00- no incline; speed- 3 or 3.5 mph
*Disclaimer: This is one of the longer work-outs. I don’t always have time to do the whole thing but even if I just do half of it, I’m sweating big time!
For more information about this work-out, go to the awesome Blogilates website. I found this work-out there. You can also find a lot of other health/fitness tips there too. And plus, the website is super cute.
If you want to read more about interval training/running, visit Nerd Fitness. They give a pretty straight forward and simple explanation of how it’s done/it’s benefits.
I hope you all get a chance to try this workout, it’s worth a shot. Feel free to post your experiences below. Make sure to check back next week for Workout #2. Happy exercising!