Orangetheory Workout: 22.5 Minute Endurance Run

I am flying high after an awesome Orangetheory class yesterday! I had a truly terrible travel day on Wednesday (15 hours for what should have been a 6 hour trip), finally got home at 1am, and woke up at 6:30am yesterday – not nearly enough sleep. I was totally dragging, but decided that I might as well drag myself to a lunchtime Orangetheory class. And I’m so glad I did!

Yesterday’s class was really fun. It was endurance day, and for once, the studio in Boulder was 2G (two groups) instead of 3G (three groups). In a 3G class, you rotate between treadmill, rower, and weights, but in a 2G class, you rotate between treadmill and then a rower/weights combo, so you get more time on the treadmill. With today being “endurance day”, that meant 22.5 minutes straight on the treadmill.

Even though I had an incredible 45 minute treadmill run on Monday, 22.5 minutes of Orangetheory-style treadmill is daunting. The push and all-out paces are no joke, and I frequently want a walk break after them! But today, I got to class late (shame face here), so I actually didn’t know that the block was going to be so long until we were about halfway into it. The not-knowing probably helped me push harder than I otherwise would have, to great results.

The workout was pretty simple: start at a push pace for a looooong three minutes, then go down to a base pace to recover. For each interval after that, decrease the length. As the intervals get shorter, you try to go faster and faster. Not so easy when you’re also getting more and more tired! Here’s the full workout, in Pinterest-friendly graphical format:


See how far you can get!

I started with a push of 9.0mph (6:40/mile pace) – aggressive for me, as that’s typically my push pace when I’m in Florida (not at altitude). When I started at that pace, I didn’t know just how long it was going to be before I got a walk break, or else I probably would have shortchanged myself and started slower. But the 9.0mph pace for three minutes was doable, and I was pleasantly surprised that my 8.0mph base (7:30/mile pace) felt like a reasonable recovery pace. It wasn’t until we got to the 90 second push that I realized just how long this workout was going to go before a walk break… but at that point, we were measuring everything in seconds rather than minutes, so it seemed doable to just keep going.

I ended up passing the 3.1 mile mark (5K) at 21:20… which is only 20 seconds slower than my 5K PR. Wow! I felt guilty that I haven’t been truly “training” to break my 5K pace, but I’m starting to realize that Orangetheory intervals are much better than I thought for pure running speed training. Buoyed by that accomplishment, I went all the way up to 11mph (5:27/mile pace) for the final 60 second all out… and it kind of sucked, but I made it all the way to the end without either walking or jumping off. I ended up finishing the 22.5 mile block having cleared 3.3 miles – which makes for an average pace of 6:49/mile, or just 4 seconds per mile slower than my 5K PR pace. Not too shabby for running on very little sleep and running at altitude!


And despite that solid performance, my heart rate didn’t spike: I didn’t get a single “splat point” (when your heart rate goes into the cardio zone) in this workout. So I think I may still have some more in the tank, too.

I am so thankful to Orangetheory for pushing me to my limits. Even though it’s part weight room and part rower (and I am making excellent improvements in those areas too), I think it is outstanding training for running. I’m so excited to run the Bolder Boulder this Monday and see how I do! And I think it’s probably time for me to start looking into a flatland 5K soon. I am heading back to my college the weekend of June 9th for my 10th annual college reunion (can’t believe how long it’s been!), and had planned to do the “Reunion 5K” then… but now, I might have to sacrifice the late night “tent parties” to get a good night’s sleep the night before and see if I can really fly :)

Happy Friday, y’all!

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