Mix Up Your Workouts With Intervals

Stuck in a rut?  I love to remind my students that “if you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.”  No need to change the workout you love entirely, just mix it up a little with some good old-fashioned interval training.  Like this:

If you ALWAYS walk at the same pace, for the same distance:

Warm up by walking at your regular pace for five minutes.  Then, power walk for one minute, and go back to your regular pace until you recover a bit.  Next, power walk for two minutes, and recover.  Try three, then four, and maybe even five minutes of power walking before you wrap up your session.  In no time, what was once your regular pace will feel like nothing!

If you’re an average hiker, and you ALWAYS take the same moderate hiking trail:

Warm up with easy hiking for five minutes.  Then, choose a landmark ahead of you and either walk faster or jog until you get to that landmark.  Without stopping, keep your usual pace for a few minutes and then choose a new landmark.  Over time, see how many more intervals you can fit into your otherwise easy hike!

If you’re getting tired of the same old routine, swimming laps in the pool:

Warm up like you always do, and then, about five minutes in, swim one lap like it’s your last and you want to finish ahead of someone in the other lane.  Go back to normal for a couple of laps and do it again.  Over time, try and increase the number of “sprints” you can complete in your normal workout.

For runners, interval training is natural:

Warm up, and then try the landmark drill described above for hikers.  Or, if you really want to make things interesting, pick up your pace when you hear a car approaching.  Try and keep your speed up until the car passes you and is out of sight.  Drop back to your usual pace, and when you are ready, do it again.  Over time, try and increase the number of cars you race!

If you always choose the same bike route:

Choose a more hilly route.  Or if you’re doing a more flat route, try keeping your cadence (pedal speed) consistent and changing gears frequently.  That’s how the pros do it.  If you have a computer on your bike, try and maintain a pace of about 80 rpms.  Every few miles, try a harder gear at the same pace.  Over time, you will find you are more efficient and you can use the harder gears more frequently!


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