Trash Can Interval Training
I’m not one for following “optimal” recommendations as I feel that I tend to enjoy the process of gathering information, experimenting and ultimately, developing my own analysis. In addition to that, after doing so much research on various aspects of health and fitness over these many years, I can assure you that there are very few “exacts” out there. The fitness industry is wrought with opinions and even science and research can be speculative at best due to the parameters used when studying specific protocols.
With that said, I tend to lean towards the concept of it all can be beneficial and take a broad spectrum of ideas and blend them together for no other reason than “why the hell not”. For instance, ideas that I’ve read reveal through studies that 10 seconds of an all-out sprint done 4-6 times three times per week can improve VO2max and other research has shown that one-minute intervals with three minutes rest done at 80-90% maximum effort is very beneficial to improving lean body mass. I could list more examples because there are thousands out there, but I’m sure you are getting the picture.
I love to do sprints on the sand (the softer the better) because it allows me to have a high output of energy with a lower risk of injury. If I were to do an all-out sprint on flat ground I would be running at a pace that doesn’t exactly agree with my body so having some non-impact resistance (soft sand, grassy hills/inclines, etc.) is beneficial to me for achieving that cardiorespiratory elevation I’m looking for. For those of you who are interested in interval training, I will share my top secret scientific method that I use on occasion. This is highly thought out on my part by the way because I could use many methods and this one seems to work for me because I don’t have to think.
Depending on which beach I run on, I will either use trash cans as my mark or even seagulls at times (see, I told you it was highly scientific). My method is simple: the beach is lined up with many trash cans and I use them as my marks. I start by taking a light jog and when I’m ready, I sprint from trash can to trash can then walk trash can to trash to recover. Someday’s I will be every other trash can for a hard run then walk the same distance. If I had to venture a guess it probably is a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of work/rest. Now, the next important scientific factor to consider – how many intervals? Honestly, as many as I feel like doing. That can mean anywhere between 5-15, depending on how I feel and what I am after for the day.
So, to recap….I perform interval training once a week usually following a very natural path of exercise that feels natural to me in a manner that suits my physical, mental and emotional needs for that day. Try the non-scientific approach once in a while and let me know what you think.