Running bores me. I want to be a runner; one of those people who rise just before daylight, lace up my sneakers in the darkness while everyone else is still sleeping, hit the road as the sun nears the horizon, early enough that I can nod to newspaper deliverer, early enough I may catch a glimpse of a deer heading back into the woods after feasting on vibrant green lawns in the moonlight. I want to be that runner. But I’m not. I’m bored after running a block, my mind already cursing how much further I have to go, my chest already tight, my nose stuffed.
To add excitement and variety to my running I have been searching for spice to my running efforts.
One of my problems with running is that in my boredom I start off too fast. If my goal is to run three miles I guess I figure the faster I go the faster it’s over. The problem is I can only do this for a block, and then I’m huffing and puffing and almost walking until I get my breath back. So, imagine my delight when I read research that supports the benefits of this type of running. A study conducted by The University of Western Ontario found that running sprint intervals burns more than twice the body fat as jogging for 30 – 60 minutes three times a week.
So, what exactly is a sprint interval? Run fast then rest. And repeat. The study had people run 4 – 6 30 second sprints with 4 minutes rest in between. If four minutes in between sprints is too long, long enough that you forget what you were doing and start washing the dishes, you can further reduce your workout time by shortening the rest period to just 1 – 2 minutes.
Next time you’re with your girlfriends, or in the break room at work and people start talking about the latest workout techniques, you can nonchalantly add that you’ve been doing some HIITs. Sprint intervals are just one type of High Intensity Interval Training.
No, this isn’t the exercise you get when you jump up and run out of the room just before you toot. Fartlek is a concept originating from Sweden that means Speed Play. Hmmmm….add the word play to any workout and my interest is piqued. Fartlek is similar to sprint intervals. It is like sprint intervals two kids would do on a long walk home on a warm summer day.
“Hey, race you to that telephone pole!”
“Ready, set, see ya!”
And they’re off and sprinting to the telephone pole. Once they get there they huff and puff and strut and punch each other in the arm. Then they keep walking until they catch their breath. Pretty soon their bored again, “Betcha I can beat you to that mailbox.”
That’s the basics of fartlet. Run normal, pick an obstacle in the distance and race towards it, and then it’s back to your normal pace or even just a slow jog. And repeat. A traditional fartlet workout, used by runners to increase their speed and endurance, would run this varying pace for 40 – 60 minutes. But like sprint intervals, you’ll get cardio benefit by starting with a warm up jog, doing fartleks for 10 – 15 minutes followed by running an easy cool down for five to 10 minutes.
What about running speaks to your soul?
What do you do to spice up your runs?
After Melinda Patton’s daughter moved away to college, she decided she had no more excuses keeping her from being in shape. Three years and 55 pounds ago she began a journey to become spiritually and physically strong and in the process discovered her passion and purpose in forging faith and fitness. She is now studying for her Personal Training certification and manages a facebook page called Strength for the Journey; Forging Faith and Fitness. Through her page, she encourages and empowers others to create strong and healthy bodies for Christ.
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