MTT Weekly Challenge #39 Redline Racer
For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated running. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I should say I’ve hated the idea of needing to run a long distance in order to fulfill what I once thought was a necessary element in maintaining my weight and overall fitness. Having to spend 30 minutes or an hour on a treadmill or jogging 5 miles was nothing more than a dreaded, back aching, knee pounding affair that I winced through every stride of.
In contrast, I’ve actually always loved running while “playing.” A burst down a football or soccer field, getting chased by my dog on the beach or a post-workout game of ultimate frisbee with friends has always been one of the acts of fitness I’ve enjoyed most. Years ago while training with some of the best fitness professionals in the industry, I learned that this idea of a fast burst in training or play, followed by a short rest was actually the best way to positively affect the body. In addition to the routines showcased in the video below, one of my favorite methods of quickly getting my heart rate up is doing an exercise known as “sprint walks.”
I learned that this idea of a fast burst in training or play, followed by a short rest was actually the best way to positively affect the body.
In learning this style of training, I was asked to consider the different body types of the players on an NFL roster. You would assume that 53 people playing on the same team and working equally hard at their fitness would look similar. We of course know there are some very stark differences in physical makeup between each position. Many of these differences are due to not only the selection of varying body types to best fit the needs of each task, but of course also the training regimen to support different types of movement and workload as well. If you’d like to check out a highly interesting presentation on technology and advancement of performance in sports watch this TED Talk by David Epstein, “Are Athletes Really Getting, Faster, Better, Stronger?”
In discussing the best way to train for my personal goals, my coach asked me to identify which players on the field were the leanest, fastest, most defined and most explosive. As an avid football fan, my answer was the defensive backs and wide receivers. Anyone who really watches the game knows for sure how impressive these players look and perform. As our conversation grew deeper, I was then asked to consider what type of activity or workload these players engage in during a game related to their position. I said basically, at the snap of the ball these position players exert themselves with an all out sprint, followed by a jog back to the huddle at the completion of the play.
An average game might have around 60-70 plays per team, where not all players compete on each snap, but overall you can see just how many times these players elevate their heart rates to high exertion levels. This type of activity is simply another example of training in intervals. In putting together a plan for myself, we headed outside to an athletic field and walked off 100 yards in length and 50 yards in width (dimensions of an NFL field). My goal was then to train in an explosive manner that closely resembled the workload of what an NFL wide receiver might experience within a game. This exercise known as “sprint walks,” required me to sprint the length of the sideline, (100 yards) followed by a walk the length of the end zone (50 yards). Although each play isn’t anywhere near this length, this distance creates a standardized framework to work from. I was directed to run 6 minutes in one direction and then switch for another 6 minutes to complete the 12 minute training cycle. Although this was a really tough task, being able to quickly “burst” and “rest” made me feel more inspired and athletic than I ever did trudging along the sidewalk on a lengthy jog. In the end, I began looking forward to the cardio portion of my training leading to the benefits I was striving for!
The best way to stay inspired is to have variety and creativity within your training regimen. Try one of these awesome interval exercises and you can count this week’s challenge as complete.
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