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Posts tagged ‘interval training’

Three Types of Interval Training: Tabata, Little, Turbulence

This morning on the way to work I was listening to a podcast and they were talking about three different types of interval training: the Tabata method, the Little Method, and the Turbulence method. I’m pretty familiar with the tabata method and have done quite a few tabata workouts. When you’re short on time, it’s perfect. I had never heard of the Little method but after learning what it was, I realized that I had been doing my own version of this workout for quite sometime. The Turbulence method includes weights and cardio and is a longer workout than a Tabata or Little session. This awesome infographic from gives an overall view of the three sessions and helps you figure out which one is best for you. I tried to insert the image into the post but it came out super tiny. Just click on the link – it’s very informative:

For the complete description, click here

To sum up the Little method, it’s basically a warm up of 3-5 minutes followed by one minute all out at max effort and then 75 seconds easy effort. These intervals should be repeated 12 times, for a total of 27 minutes. The Turbulence method is a combination of weights and cardio. It includes a 5 minute warm up followed by an 8 rep set of weight lifting and then one minute of cardio (mountain climbers, jump rope, burpees, etc.). This should be repeated through a full body routine for a 45 minute workout. I bet you’d be pretty sore after that one. This sounds like a good Wednesday workout (that’s my do something different day).

I love intervals. They are the only reason I’ve ever been somewhat fast at running. And due to my injury rate, I’ve become the master of intervals on an elliptical and spinning bike. I even broke an elliptical once going a little too fast 🙂 Opps!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


A Hard Workout and Getting Sick

Let me preface this blog by saying if you prefer not to read about people getting sick, stop reading and go listen to this awesome new workout song I found. It’s much more entertaining. Although not my favorite video, the song gets me pumped up and running a little faster. Maybe that’s why I’m writing about puking and working out. And I digress…

For the past two weeks my fabulous friend Emily has been meeting me Tuesday mornings for speed workouts. Last week we were on the track, but today it was locked so we made the most out of a long straight road on NC State’s campus. My planned workout was to to do 8 X 600 with 200 meters recovery in preparation for a 5K this weekend. Well after a 7.4 mile run in 85% humidity followed by a one hour high intensity interval class at HEAT studios yesterday, 600 meters seemed like 2 miles and the leg turnover just wasn’t there. During last week’s workout, I could maintain around a 5:45 pace and it felt tolerable and not too difficult. This morning? Yeah, different story completely. Although the distance was a little longer and there were some slight inclines, I was happy to do an interval sub 6:00. And the 600 meters were more like 400 meters. But thanks to my new workout music (here is my other new song), I was determined to find my limit. Six repeats in, and I think I came close to finding it. Although I didn’t actually puke (maybe because I hadn’t eaten since last night), I was having some serious gag reflexes. It was the closest I had ever come to getting sick from exerting so much effort, and I felt like I earned a badge of honor. (Yes, I got sick in Boston, but that was due more to hydration issues and the heat). I couldn’t wait to tell Emily. She gave me a high five.

Anyway, it led me to my question today…

Why do people get sick when working out really hard?

This article on explains that getting sick can come from four things:
1) Dehydration
2) Heat Exhaustion
3) Vagal Reaction
4) Hyponatremia

Personally, I didn’t feel like I belonged in any of these four categories so I kept looking. This article, which describes contestants on The Biggest Loser puking while working out, sums up how I felt today: “you’re overexerting yourself for your current level of fitness.” Yep. That sounds about right. It goes on to explain that as your muscles start to demand more oxygen, blood supply is diverted from its normal route and towards the muscles in need of oxygen. As a result, there is less blood flow to other organs such as the kidneys, liver, stomach, and intestines. This can make you nauseous or even make you puke. I guess there wasn’t enough blood getting to my digestive system this morning.

I’m sure some people say I’m crazy for thinking this is a good thing. However, I’ve been really motivated lately, especially in watching the Olympic Trials. You may say pushing yourself so hard is a bad thing, but I say it’s how I come closer to finding my limits.

Here is my run today:
Warm up with repeats, recovery, and easy jog with Em
Two more miles once I drove back home

AND since there has been so much about the positive effects of beet juice in the news lately, and my G+ friend Otto mentioned Ryan Hall is also touting the benefits, I went shopping this morning…

Yay for Earth Fare having beet juice!!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Interval Training – Embrace the Pain

I’ve been thinking all day about what exactly I was going to say about intervals for this blog post.  There is just so much to say, it’s practically impossible to cover it all.  From tabata intervals and mile repeats,  to Emil Zatopek’s unconventional approach to training.  Intervals make us faster and although they suck, they are oh so worth it.  For example, even though I’ve had a month off from running, Read more

Heart Rate Training

With summer quickly approaching, it’s time I get use to the weather having an impact on my performance.  I am the worst for using the watch as a deciding factor in my runs.  Forget what my body says, it’s what the watch tells me that matters.  Perhaps that is why I end up injured a little more than I would like.  Fortunately, I have a heart rate monitor that I can use with my Garmin.  I just never seem to want to use it.  I think that is because the few times I did actually use it, it said my heart rate was much higher than I would have thought for the pace I was running.  In other words, the HRM was telling me I was working much harder than I thought.  And since I am so addicted to the numbers, I quit using the monitor.  But I’ve decided it’s time to pull back out the HRM and actually put it to use.  Therefore, I need to know…

What is my RHR? My max HR? And what are my training zones?

To determine RHR, it is best to do it first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.  Ideally, I would strap the HRM across my chest and take the lowest pulse as my RHR.  However, I didn’t do that first thing this morning, so I’m doing it right now.  I relaxed for a while before beginning to write this with my HRM and Garmin.  The lowest recorded pulse was 53 beats / minute.  It might read a little lower in the morning, but I think this is a good guesstimate.

To determine MHR, I found a couple of formulas.  The most common and simple one is to subtract your age from 220, but of course this is very general.  To really find out your MHR, it is recommended finding a hill of about 200 – 300 meters and sprinting the hill, then jogging back down.  Repeat this a few times and your highest recorded pulse is your MHR.  All of the different formulas I found, put my MHR at around 190 beats / minute.

During training, whether it be for a marathon, 5K, or a triathlon, each workout has its purpose.  Perhaps it is for speed, recovery, or endurance.  To achieve this, your heart is obviously working in different zones.  If you are doing an easy run, there is no need for you to be training close to your MHR.  There are five different heart rate zones (1-5).  Zone one is 50-60% of your MHR and you should feel comfortable and be able to have a conversation in this zone.  Zone two is 60-70% of your MHR and you will be breathing a little heavier, but still carry on a conversation.   Zone three is 70-80% of your MHR and you will be breathing harder while actually increasing the number and size of your blood vessels.  Zone 4 is 80-90% of your MHR and this is where you go hard.  And at the same time, you get faster and fitter.  Finally, Zone 5 is 90-100% MHR and this is when you go all out.  This zone is mainly used for interval sessions and it is the zone that is probably the most uncomfortable / painful.  (But it makes you faster!).

To determine your zones, use the following formula:

[(Maximum Heart Rate – Resting Heart Rate) × %Intensity] + Resting Heart Rate

My target heart rate is the following for each zone (and this is using 55%, 65,% etc. of intensity):
Zone 1: 128
Zone 2: 142
Zone 3: 155
Zone 4: 169
Zone 5: 183

This website has a great chart describing how long a workout should be for each zone and even breaks down interval and recovery sessions.

I think using a heart rate monitor can be a very valuable tool.  It can tell you if you are working too hard, too easy, and if you are over training.  Raleigh, NC is quickly warming up and I know my times will slow down.  Instead of focusing on the pace per mile, I plan to start using heart rate zones as a way to monitor my efforts.  Maybe it will help to keep me off the injured list a little longer too.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,




Tabata Training

This past Friday I decided since Friday workouts are pretty short, I would do a tabata workout.  Up until Wednesday, I had never heard of this type of workout, but thanks to my friend Sara (who keeps up with the latest trends and blogs in the running world), I learned about tabata.  Well, I also learned a very good lesson from my tabata attempt on Friday and a long run on Saturday – don’t ever do these back-to-back.  Your will be sore and your long might not be as long as you were hoping.

So what exactly is this tabata training? Read more

More on Interval Training and its Benefits

Last week I posted about my experience with intervals and how they helped me to achieve my half marathon and marathon PR.  Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble and read quite a bit about Emil Zatopek in The Lore of Running and now I am even further convinced of the power of interval training.  Consider this: In 1952 Zatopek won the gold medal in the 5,000m, 10,000m, and the marathon, all within 8 days and all Olympic records.  Oh, and to add to that, he had never run a marathon before in his life and it was a last minute decision to enter the event. His training method? Intervals. He introduced interval training to the running world and this method has become an integral part of every athlete’s training schedule – regardless of ability.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, interval training alternates high intensity work periods with lower intensity rest and recovery periods.

Why you should do it:

  1. It burns fat and increases increases cardiovascular fitness more quickly than moderate exercise
  2. You will be able to exercise longer and/or at a higher intensity because of improved cardiovascular fitness
  3. It spices up your workout so boredom is a nonissue

(Read More)

If you’re new to running and interval training, try this workout:

  • Warm up for 10 minutes at an easy pace
  • Run faster for 1 minute, followed by a 2 minute recovery interval
  • Repeat 4 to 6 times
  • Cool down with a jog for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Stretch!

If you’re more advanced and are training for a 10K – Marathon, try this:

  • Warm up for 10 minutes
  • 2 to 6 mile repeats with 1 -2 minutes recovery between each repeat
  • Mile repeats should be run at half-marathon pace or 30 seconds slower than 5K pace
  • Cool down with a jog for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Stretch!

Interval workouts should only be done 2 times a week at most, and it is important to allow for adequate recovery between workouts (48 hours normally).  You’ll be amazed at how quickly you start to see results.

Today during my interval workout, I kept reciting a quote by Emil Zatopek in my head:
“Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast.”
Too bad learning to run fast has to hurt so much, but I guess it’s all a question of how bad do you want it?

(Emil Zatopek)