Oh yeah; because we’re doing intervals. Intervals, sets of exercises that switch from activities at about 60% effort, to 90%+, are something a lot of endurance athletes skip. No speed work on the track, or explosive efforts on the bike, or plyometrics; this is a mistake. I wasn’t a fan, but I am now. So, I’m going to write about these, and about how much they hurt as the lactic acid builds to almost crippling levels, and about the HUGE gains the give the endurance athlete in terms of speed, endurance, and power.
First, let’s talk about speed work; swim, bike, and run. Fast equals fast; train at the level you want to compete, and a 20minute 5k translates well into a fast run at any other distance regardless of how long(maybe not ultras, but those aren’t really a factor for most). I didn’t do any kind of speed work, I still don’t in the pool because I can only swim once every week to 10 days via a very unhappy and battered shoulder, but I have implemented speed work into all my other triathlon disciplines, as well as cross-training. It first started with actually following my weekly tri training schedule that called for 800meter repeats; I had been putting in a 60-75 minute run in these slots. That first set of 800’s was awful; I hadn’t done any speed based training since playing football in high school, so I was hurting. After a few weeks of this, my half marathon pace dropped :10 seconds to 7:00/mile give or take :02 seconds. That was in only three weeks; and that’s kind of a big deal. Proof it works is I’m now running mile repeats at around 6:04 pace for 5 sets; that’s not olympic caliber(yet)but that’s a respectable time for 1mile repeats.
I also started doing explosive efforts on my bike. For those of you that know me, you know I’m a pretty decent cyclist, and I can hold a 23-26MPH pace on a flat route for 5 or so hours, but climbing blows up my legs, and in a sprint more than :15seconds, I’m done. So, I started doing spin classes with ATC, (Rivi is a big part of why there’s screaming; but his classes WORK), and incorparating new lactate threshold Spinervals into my program. My lactate acid tolerance sky rocketed, and climbing seems 100 times easier. I know the same thing works with swimming, but my shoulder don’t let me do those, so you’ll have to trust me when I say that the people I know that do speed work in the pool see the same kind or results. But the same thing works outside of multisport.
Plyometrics, or jump training, does wonders to your strength. Box jumps, jumping lunges, and knees to chest all work your legs, glutes, and core, and because of the fast explosive efforts, combined with the short rest intervals, burns fat during and post workout. The same kind of rules apply to strength training if you do short sets(4-6 reps) at 85%. I took this a step further and included “cardio” as my recovery between resistance exercises. Between pushups, one-leg switch jumps, or the like, I do :45-:60 seconds of jumping jacks. Studies have shown that rountines that mix cardio and strength burn FAR more fat than just a steady run, and even more than speed work.
Fat burn is a big deal for most of those who exercise. These resistance+cardio workouts have big results if done correctly. Two weeks doing my sessions three times a week showed major visual improvement in the way I looked, and my performance. Power is important in endurance sports, as is strength, so some sort resistance training should be in your training log at least twice a week. There is one thing that completely sold me on these workouts though.
We all have time constraints; wether it be school, work, family, ect, very few of us have the free time to train as much as we would like. But, these explosive, high-intensity workouts give major gains to strength, endurance, fat-burn, and power is a short time. Don’t have time for a :90 minute run, or you’re in the off-season and don’t want to lose your fitness; try one of these workouts. This idea of not wasting time, and giving you more time to do the things in life that can’t be ignored, like family and school, is arguably the biggest reason these workouts are important. I have a few, but they’re too detailed and named weirdly to post here, so shoot me an email if you want one. Also, check out bengreenfieldfitness.com ; I am in love with his podcast, and he’s the whole reason I was turned onto these exercises, I just fine tuned them for my needs.He has some good sessions and routines over there that can be tweaked to be intervals, or exercises you’ve probably never heard of that really help your performance.
Major fat burn, increasing strength/endurance/power/speed, minimal time with max results all equal interval sessions. Impliment these into your training, and in the :45minutes you use to complete these sessions, you’ll see far more that :45minutes worth of results.
-Speed equals speed; train fast, train hard, and push past that comfort threshold. There’s fun things on the other side like a new PR, or maybe even cookies!