Friday, February 26, 2010

Interval Training

My mom recently sent a batch of photos, one of which makes me wince when I think about it, much less look at it. I could convince myself that it was just an unflattering picture, or I can believe that's what I really look like. It definitely increased my wish to tone up.
I planned to work out this morning. I have more time today because my Friday class isn't meeting. So I would lift weights and run 45 minutes on the treadmill then maybe hop on the bike or the elliptical machine.
Instead, I was captured by the idea of interval training. An article on Roadrunner summed up some results and it sounded easy enough for me to try, so I did. Here's the AP article link:

According to the article, interval training can be more effective than slogging 10 miles every week. Although trainers thought interval training should only be done by elite athletes, they've found that it can work for middle-aged runners, swimmers, bikers, like me.
My goal was to follow the instructions of running faster than usual for four minutes, four different times and walking three minutes in between each one.
The trainer wasn't at the Y this morning so I couldn't ask her how fast I should set the treadmill. I usually run about a 10-minute mile on the treadmill. Should I set it at an 8-minute mile, I wondered? The women working at the front desk were nervous that I was asking.
"Can you wait about 20 minutes?" one woman asked.
"Why? Will the trainer be here?" I asked.
"No, but I'll be gone," she said.
"Wear the clip," they warned. The clip automatically shuts off the treadmill if I fall.
So I climbed on my favorite treadmill, right under the air conditioning vent, and the old guy next to me, who has a white beard down to the middle of his chest, explained that the treadmill actualy has an "interval training button." I set my "jog" speed and my "fast-paced" speed. He advised me to just increase the speed slightly for that first day, so I set it at a 9:30-minute mile.
Of course, the problem with asking someone for advice is that they continue to give it throughout the workout. He said he wouldn't want to walk for three minutes in between. He wouldn't want to run for four minutes either. He'd stick with a minute or a minute and a half. I couldn't imagine focusing enough to change speeds every minute. So I followed the instructions in the article.
When I finished, I had only gone a little over three miles and thirty minutes. Pretty close to my usual 10-minute mile pace. But the article promises that my metabolism will be up and that the oxygen to my muscles will increase. I will probably look like a totally different person the next time anyone sees me.
My butt muscles were a little sore, but I like working out and then having sore muscles; it makes me feel like I've accomplished something.
As the old guy was leaving, he said, "You probably only need to do that interval training once a week."
"Are you kidding, I'll do it three times a week if it can take the place of my two-hour workout," I said.
I lifted weights and then came home to watch those pounds and inches melt away. I'll keep you posted.


Stephanie said...

Eww. I hate those pictures.

They're especially bad when your "memory" (hottie) of that moment is inconsistent with the "reality" (overweight, middle-aged, frumpy). Serious bummer.

I'll stick with my fantasy vision and skip the pictures. A little interval training probably wouldn't hurt either.

Linda said...

I've been trying to do interval training too. We will see.

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