Interval Training

In the fitness world, interval training that used to be the domain of the elite athletes, is now being integrated into the workouts of the everyday athlete.  Interval training offers benefits by varying the intensity of the workout and building strength, endurance and speed.  The idea is to push your body to maximum intensity for a brief period of time interspersed with one to two minute rest periods.  Imagine yourself running a lap around the track at top speed, walking for a few minutes and doing it again another seven to eight times. 

Although I’ve incorporated intervals into my marathon training, it occurs to me that my life in general is the poster child for high intensity interval training.  I’m hard-wired to give everything 110% effort be it in my role as a mother, executive, friend, or athlete.  I pack everything in so tightly that I barely have time for the resting period in between.  For example, today I was out in the darkness of the pre-dawn day to get my eight mile run in.  I also had a conflict since my daughter needed me to be the mom taxi for her school honor society meeting.  So I ran three miles, jumped in the car and drove my daughter to school, parked the car and ran a five mile loop to complete my training.  My resting moments came in the drive back home and then I took a speed shower combined with a fast blow dry and makeup application and dressed faster than Superman in a phone booth in order to make my morning meeting.  As I drove fast and competitively, navigating the morning commute, I shaved four minutes off my time giving me the chance to stop and order a quick latte. Perhaps I’ll call that my resting interval.  I made it through a power meeting, cutting to the decisions and solutions so I could return to my office to take on multi-task interval made up of a series of meetings, phone calls, presentations and budget sign-offs.  The mainstay event of the day – union negotiations – was delayed with the expectation that I would be on call at a moment’s notice.  That gave me a brief respite to grab lunch, finish discussing our negotiating proposals, and get updated on a critical family medical conference.  And as I was catching my breath, the summons came and within the hour I was sitting at a table with the task of presenting a competitive financial proposal.  For many, this would be the end of their day, but for me it is simply the half-way point.  I had time to stop briefly at the office, organize my briefcase for tomorrow’s set of intervals, find a nearby café to grab a bite to eat before I make my way to the theater for the final dress rehearsal for our production of Beethoven’s Fidelio.  There will be board members to mingle with, artists to greet, a potential employee to court, and hopefully one spectacular opera to experience. 

I will take a few cleansing, restful breaths as the curtain falls on the final jubilant act and prepare myself for the post-performance production meeting where everyone gives 110% making sure the show hits the ideal we all are striving for.  Sometime, ‘round bout midnight, I will crawl into bed and lay my head on my pillow, hoping that all the lauded benefits of interval training are true.  One thing I will know for sure, I did make room for my NaBloPoMo blog post.  It happened sometime between the push to give maximum effort and find a snippet of rest.  I just may be an endurance athlete after all.

© Kelly Tweeddale 2012



Author of the blog Running Without Toenails, follow me on Twitter @ktweed


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