urban-life classic is picking up exercising (usually with a diet program) as a
New Year resolution and calling it quits before end-February. I previously
talked about running becoming trendy.
Unfortunately, giving up running (because of not achieving aims) is quite
to USA 2011 state of the sport report, the second popular motivation for running is weight concerns
and around 75% of respondents run to “stay in shape”. As a recreational runner,
I can only talk about a little tip that helped me kill three birds with one
stone: 1) losing body-fat (and weight), 2) run faster (improving my marathon
time), 3) last, but not least: made running less boring. Of course, the usual
disclaimer applies: this is something that worked for me: Adding interval
running to my routine.
people believe in running constantly at low intensity to burn fat. Last week, I
saw a (fit) friend of mine told me he runs one hour three times a week, but he
is running 8.5km (and I am sure he was capable of doing 11-12km per hour). This
was the way of work-out that I was practicing with in my preparation for my
first marathon. It is boring, routine and does not get you any faster as you
are not pushing your body. The problem with running at low intensity - low
heart-rates is once the exercise is over, you are almost unplugging the
metabolism’s fatburn rate. Embrase running in intervals to keep the fat burning
running is an alternative that capitalizes on running in high intensity
repetitions with low intensity recovery periods in between. It allows afterburn
or with its technical name, EPOC, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. You can google or click the links for
scientific information on high-intensity interval training. I read spinning burns 150 more calories in the next few
hours post-exercise and for running numbers vary from 35 to 250 calories.
picture shows Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-HourBody, his second book after The 4-HourWorkweek. The first time I heard about afterburn was in “ which is like a
Choose-your-own-adventure book for the human body. It is a good read.
running helped me taking out some of the routine from the exercise especially
during the boring treadmill sessions (a part of my life, thanks to London
weather). Depending on your level, you can slowly build interval running.
Example, a 30 minute run, you can start with a warm-up at 9km/hr for the first
6 minutes, then run for 3 minutes at 11-11.5km/hr, one or two minutes recovery
(say at 9km/hr), repeat it four times, and finish off with last five minutes at
an average pace - say 9.5km/hr. You can play around with the duration and pace.
Running outside, you can do a similar exercise with time, such as an easy run
for 5 minutes, followed by 3minute sprints and 2 minute recovery
sessions. As you get better, you can increase the duration, hold your fast
sessions (or even go running “eyes-out”). Check out the video on the link
showing Brad Pitt on atreadmill (from Burn AfterReading) on how NOT to do interval running.
of interval training is it is a gradual process where you build up
consistently. You get faster without noticing, you burn more fat without
noticing and you earn those post-exercise treats. I, personally have a
soft spot for baklava, dark chocolate coated Turkish delight and milk chocolate coated Brazilian nuts. Running intervals allow me stick to these
little guilty pleasures of life. In fact, treadmill running when coupled with a
bit of an increase your protein intake could work wonders in fat-burning.
rose has its thorn, interval running needs to be treaded carefully. It is not a
substitute for constant-pace runs, but more of a complement. It is generally
not recommended to do more than two interval sessions in a week. In my
experience, it comes with two downsides. First, there is a risk of overdoing it
(either by going too fast too soon or exploiting body limits too early).
Secondly, you get more injury-prone if you move on too quickly. I can get away
without stretching in the constant slower runs, but with intervals no
stretching will almost always catch up to you in form of muscle pain. I can’t
stress the importance of post-run stretching
or getting an occasional sports massage if you wish to take on interval
training. Happy and healthy running.
The picture shows the another good
friend for the recreational runner: foam rollers. They are helpful for
stretching and post-workout-self-massage. You will possibly need them if you
decide that interval training is for you.