Tabatas, take 2

This morning, I had an 8am flight, but it was out of Miami Airport – which is a lot bigger (or at least takes longer to get through) than my usual LGA or JFK. This meant I had to leave for the airport by 6:30am, which in turn meant I had to get up very early if I wanted to get a workout in.

I woke up at 5:30am and considered skipping the gym – but then I took a cue from Geneen Roth’s book, Women, Food, and God. It’s funny, I really didn’t like it when I first read it, but now I’m finding that some of the principles are actually sticking with me and influencing my behavior. One of her key tenets is that you should consider how food makes you feel. For my personal growth, I’ve interpreted that to mean that I should start to consider the positive things that eating healthy and working out mean for me, instead of focusing on the negative aspects of when I don’t do those things. So I hit the gym, just for ten minutes, because I knew it would put me in a positive mood for the rest of the day.

I intended to lift weights and watch a video on my phone as I did so, but didn’t bring headphones with me. Turned out someone else was just as motivated as I was – she was already in there on the treadmill. Hating to workout without being distracted by music or TV, I decided to do an exercise for which I just can’t concentrate on anything other than how hard I’m working: tabata intervals.

While I now know that the proper intervals are 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, I decided that since 45 seconds and 30 seconds had worked decently for me the last time, I’d try to just take it down a notch: 30 seconds on, 15 seconds off. Much tougher! 15 seconds of rest was definitely not enough for me to catch my breath before it was time to sprint again. However, I was proud to be able to do 10.5mph for eight intervals – definitely a very short workout, but it got me pumped up for the day and was certainly better than nothing.

After work, I got to my hotel at 6:45pm, and had to be in the lobby to meet my team for dinner at 7:15pm. What to do with the free time? You guessed it – more tabatas! After getting lost in the labyrinth of hotel stairwells (I’ve moved to a new hotel this week and am not quite used to anything but the lazy elevator), I really only had time for about 5-10 minutes of working out before I would need to dash back up and get ready for dinner. Fortunately, that’s all you need for tabatas! Finally, I opted for true tabatas (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off), and made it through ten intervals before calling it quits with a 1 minute walking cool down.

I really liked that the treadmills at this hotel have three buttons that allow you to quickly set the machine to walk, jog, or run – but you can customize the paces for each of those. I set walk to be 4.5mph (my warmup/cooldown), jog to be 8.5mph (what I would set it to while I was standing on the rails, so that when I jumped back on it wouldn’t quite be warp speed and send me flying), and run to be 10.5mph (which I ultimately had to take down to 10.0mph – the proper interval tabatas are tough!). I was happy not to have to spend any blood flow or brain cells trying to continuously press the buttons the appropriate amount to get the treadmill up to the right speed, all while sprinting as fast as I could and trying not to fall off! Of course, people in the gym looked at me a bit strangely when I left only 7 minutes after I arrived, but who cares – it’s my workout and I can do what makes me happy :) Well, that or what’s good for me, since only 10 seconds of rest in between intervals was brutal and did not make me a happy camper. Felt great afterward though!

Do you ever do intervals? If so, what’s your magic ratio of time on to time off? I’d be curious to see if I’ll eventually get good at 20/10s just by doing them more often, or if I’m better off easing into them with 45/30s (which were very doable when I tried them last week).

Happy Monday, everyone!

Comments

  1. I haven’t tried intervals yet, but I don’t normally run on the treadmill (I need to be going somewhere when I run). Plus, I’m terrified that I would be the person that zips off the machine and crashes into a heap on the floor :P

  2. I find that Tabatas are tough on the treadmill because of the slowing down and speeding up time, which makes 20/10 less accurate. I usually do minute intervals on the treadmill and save the shorter ones for the bike, or even the elliptical. Makes time fly, though!

  3. congratulations on your achievements and posting your efforts to inspire us all… you are doing such great things for yourself and others! hopefully I can start running marathons soon because my elliptical trainer has not only allowed me to running longer distances, I have lost 30 pounds!!!!!

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