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"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
Kitsap TriBabes
Interval Training
Dear Tri Babes,

You might notice that on your training schedule, it suggests that you do an interval run and an interval swim each week on your own. I wanted to explain what is meant by "interval training" and why we do it.

"Interval Training" basically means that you vary your speed and rate of exertion during your training session. They are often called "speed" or "repeat" work-outs. Our "Brick Workouts" are "endurance training sessions." Your goal at these is to build up the distance you can sustain. During an "endurance session," you are learning how to "pace yourself." Or in other words, you are learning how to make sure that you don't go so fast at the beginning of the training that you don't have the energy to comPLETE the necessary distance. When you don't "pace" properly, you "bonk" -- this is the athletic term for "rendering yourself so exhausted that you are unable to finish an event/training."

Notice that "interval trainings" have the opposite purpose as "endurance trainings." In an interval training session, your goal is to push yourself to maximum capability, exhaust yourself, recover, and then exhaust yourself again. The way that you do this is to do a shorter distance at full exertion capacity (never venture into the "ill" zone) and then alternate with a "recovery time" in which you proceed at a much slower than normal pace (this is called your "recovery pace.")

"Interval Training" is a CRUCIAL key to improving your fitness level. Unfortunately, your body is quite capable of increasing your endurance without improving your actual fitness. My best example of this is the following story: several years ago, David was doing the Skagit Flats Marathon -- that is 26.2 miles of running. I was his support crew and was circling the course in our car. I came across the woman who was in last. She was definitely in the medical category called "morbidly obese." Since the Tri Turtle is the champion of the back of the packers, I slowed down and cheered her on. We struck up a conversation and she mentioned that she had taken the "early start" option -- she started the race an hour earlier than all the other participants because she knew it was going to take her so long. Given the fact that she was in last place despite an hour head start and given the fact that she was quite overweight, I assumed that this was her first marathon. I commented how impressed I was that she had undertaken a marathon. She responded by informing me that this was her 198th marathon. For the past few years, she had been doing 1-2 marathons per month!!!!! I was shocked and then horrified. How could someone be completing marathons on a regular basis and still be so out of shape. The explanation lies in the fact that the body strives to acclimate to endurance. It learns how to expend less energy in order to take you farther. Consequently, it is quite possible to build up extreme endurance without actually improving your overall fitness.

THIS is why we do interval training. The variety of an interval workout refuses to let the body acclimate and adjust. Therefore, the body continues to expend energy and overall fitness improves. The other reason that we do "interval training" is that it is how you improve your speed during your endurance work-outs.

SO, my STRONG suggestion is that on the days when the schedule tells you to do an interval swim or run, you follow the "interval" work-outs that I will be sending out weekly. Each week, your interval work-out will get progressively longer and harder.

Interval Training - Week 3

Here is this week's Interval Swim training in math speak:
(remember that 25 meters equals ONE length of the pool)
~ 4 length/100meter warm-up
~ 1 X 50meter "touchdown"
~ 2 X 50meter sprints with 25m recoveries
~ 1 X 100meter sprint with 25m recovery
~ 1 X 50meter "touchdown"
~ 1 X 100meter sprint with 25m recovery
~ 2 X 100 meter Tri IM
~ 2 length/50 meter cool down
VOILA! You have completed 34 POWER lengths in the pool. Congrats!!!!!

This week, we are going to do "Hill Repeats." SO, you need to find a hill near your house. Preferably one that is about a 1/4 mile long (but this is not an absolute) and that is very challenging/steep. IF you can't find a hill (you must be one of my virtual Tri Babes from Oklahoma), just use the steps in your house or somewhere!!!!!
~ Run/walk on the flat area at the base of the hill for 5 minutes
~ Run/Walk UP the hill; walk down the hill. Do this for a total of FOUR times
~ Run/walk on the flat area at the base of the hill for 3 minutes
~ Run/Walk UP the hill; walk down the hill. Do this for a total of THREE times
~ Run/walk on the flat area at the base of the hill for 3 minutes
~ Run/Walk UP the hill; walk down the hill. Do this for a total of TWO times
~ Run/walk on the flat area at the base of the hill for 5 minutes.
VOILA!!!! - You are VERY impressive and MUCH fitter now!!!!!


~ Touchdowns:
To do these, you dive down under the water and touch the bottom of the pool and then come up. You TRI to do this with forward momentum so that you are progressing from one end of the pool to the other as you do the "touchdowns." (I can usually do 3-5 touchdowns before I reach the other end of the pool -- the more the better.) These are a fabulous way to help you learn to "recover" your breath.

If you cannot progress into the deep water, then simply stay down in the shallow end and touch the bottom of the pool. FIVE repeated touches of the pool bottom in the shallow end equals ONE "touchdown."

~ TRI IM: This is a swimming activity in which you do a variety of different stokes in a particular order. You do each stroke for 25 meters/one pool length before switching to the next stoke in the swim "medley." Since you alternate between 4 strokes doing each for 25 meters, one IM is called a "100." In order to complete an "IM," do each of the following strokes for 25 meters/1length. Follow one of the following orders:
Beginners: Side-Stroke; breaststroke; side-stroke; backstroke
Intermediate/Advanced: High-headed crawl; backstroke; breaststroke; freestyle/crawl.

Please let me know if you have ANY questions!!!!! - Lisa Be Your Tri Turtle!!!!