Interval Training for Life

Bench at lake

I’ve been reading different books on running, and one of the techniques I’ve learned is interval training. Interval training consists of running easy and then pushing yourself for a set amount of time to run as hard as you can. And then repeatedly alternating between the two for set time intervals.

It works great for running to increase your speed, but I think it’s also a good metaphor for how to live your life. You need to push yourself hard toward your goals, but be sure to take time off to recover and avoid burnout.

This weekend I really pushed myself during the halfmadness half marathon. It was a wonderful 13.1 mile run through downtown Batavia along the fox river. I had a goal pace time of 8:46 per mile and had written each mile split on my arm to make sure I stayed on track. After the first 6 miles, I found that I was easily beating my goal pace so I ran hard and finished with an 8:31 pace. Not fast for the “real” runners, but that’s fast for me.

After the race, we drove down to my mom’s house who lives on Lake Springfield and spent a quiet day relaxing on the beach watching the kids play in the lake. In the past, I would’ve had a hard time taking a day off like that to “do nothing” because I’m always looking for the next big thing and trying not to “waste” any time. But as I’ve gotten older (and possibly wiser), I’ve found that it’s important to take time off to recover, refocus and to savor accomplishments.

Part of reaching a goal is taking the time to celebrate it. One of the key points of the book Happier is that there are certain set of people who are always delaying happiness in the present because they keep trying to achieve some elusive goal in the future and that after they achieve “that” goal they’ll finally be happy. But after finishing each goal, they are not happy because they doggedly rush onto the next one and don’t savor the accomplishment

So I’m glad that I took this Labor Day weekend to celebrate it as intended, by working hard and then actually taking a day off!

It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance? -Ronald Reagan

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2 thoughts on “Interval Training for Life

  1. Hey Bryant,

    Really like this blog. Very topical in my life as well. I have been training extra hard for my weight loss goals and hopes of hiking more mountains before I leave AK. I finally decided I needed a day off to recoup as I hadn’t taken a day off of my “Super-Cardio” workouts in almost 15 days. I have 4 days off coming up [It is awesome to be in charge of the schedule :)] and I am hoping to get some serious hiking accomplished. I know that the rest I get today will allow me to push myself harder in a few days.

    Here is to interval training.

    -Mike

  2. Thanks Mike! Glad to hear it’s something you related to as well. I always throw these random thoughts out here not knowing if others are on the same. It’s nice to see that you’re right there with me.

    Good luck on your super-cardio workouts!

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