Yesterday’s weather was pretty awful. I can’t complain. My poor friends and family really got nailed in the Detroit area and I hope everyone is safe and okay. About three hours north of there it was just rainy. All. Day. Long.
When you are on vacation, especially on summer vacation this can be a bit of a bummer. But there are so many things to do in this area, we chose to use it as the perfect time to go exploring in Traverse City. This kind of meant hanging out in my hometown, which is truly not a bad thing at all!
The first thing I wanted to tackle was getting my morning workout in. When I am on vacation I try to behave myself for the most part, but I am not one for depravation. I work out hard most of the time and eat a healthy diet, so when I get the chance to eat fun local food or enjoy delicious family dinners and dessert….and drinks, I of course enjoy myself. That being said, I kind of bank on those workouts to keep my sanity and feel like I get my daily sweat.
One of my favorite ways to run is in the rain. But running in heavy downpours is one definite way to make yourself feel miserable. So we headed to Fit For You gym which happens to sit just above the rink that I grew up skating at. I love this place because it is clean, quiet, and has just enough cardio equipment.
I am not a huge fan of using the treadmill. Years ago when I first got back into running, it was the only way I could get myself to log miles. But once you switch to running outside it can be really hard going back. Let’s face it, the treadmill (aka dreadmill) can be pretty darn boring.
If you can find a different way to approach your treadmill runs it can actually be a great way to mix up your normal workout routine. One of my personal favorite ways to run on the treadmill is to get in some interval workouts or HIIT.
The important thing to remember about interval workouts is there isn’t a book of rules. You can make it your own adventure. No one says you have to run 2 minutes fast and one minute slow every day. If your body isn’t feeling it you can do 1 minute fast followed by 2 minutes slow one day and do something completely different the next. This will help keep your workouts varied and allows you to feel like you are in control when you really don’t want to hop on the machine in the first place.
Just like with any other workout, it is always best to start with a nice warm up. Whether you do it based on time or mileage I recommend doing a nice easy mile or 10 minutes before diving into your intervals. This is a great time to mentally prepare yourself for your workout to come. Determine what ratio your workout will be for the day and then stick with it. At it’s highest level of intensity it will be tempting to back off, but knowing ahead of time that you will be doing 2 minutes at a 8:06 pace followed by a slow jog will prepare you to stay the course. Decide now, or before you even start, how long you will be doing your intervals. Personally I prefer at least 30 minutes, but you will see the benefits if you do a minimum of 20 minutes. Knowing ahead of time how long you will be pushing yourself will again prepare you for those difficult moments at high intensity. If you have the time try to finish with a mile or 10 minutes of light jogging before you finish.
Another way that I enjoy doing interval workouts is by doing pyramids. After a nice warm up I start at a slow pace. Every minute I increase the speed by one level until I have reached the highest intensity of my workout. Then I fall back down each minute until I reach my slowest pace. I then repeat this pattern for my entire workout. Yesterday I did this for 9 miles. It worked out perfectly that each mile was about a full pyramid. As I continued my run this allowed me to check off the pyramids in my head, making it a lot easier to deal with them on the mental level.
Workouts like these are so beneficial for you. Besides beating your workout boredom they have great benefits for your endurance and metabolism. Adding a workout like this into your weekly routine will have you seeing improvements in your cardiovascular capacity. This is one of the best ways to improve both your speed and endurance. By pushing yourself to your upward limits in short bouts you will see overall increases in your fitness level.
The constant rise and fall of your heart rate with a HIIT workout also burns more calories and faster. Increasing the intensity of your workout also increases your caloric burn. These intense workouts also tend to keep your metabolism working on overdrive long after you finish.
That of course doesn’t mean you should go ahead and start scarfing down donuts left and right. I speak from experience…….Just kidding. We definitely staged this. We also had a good laugh in the process.
A few other thoughts about the treadmill. In the past the rule for running on the treadmill had been to add 1% incline to your machine to adjust for not running outside. For any of you who have done this, it is crazy hard. As someone who runs a lot, I will personally say that every time I tried it, I found it in no way replicated my outdoor running. The good news is that a lot of research has debunked this theory (yay!). Instead a much better rule I recently learned was to just add 10% to your workout. You can either do this with your mileage or your time. If your plan calls for 8 miles, simply make it 8.8 on the treadmill. Or if you run for an hour outdoors, just run for an hour and 6 minutes inside.