Dare Mighty Things

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Teddy Roosevelt

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

4 Minutes of Hell

Nearly everything from my waist down hurt this morning. It's mornings like these I wish humans had never invented stairs. The soreness in my adductors (and my AT) did prove at least one important thing...my transition period was perfect. In reality, it was probably the change in approach in the gym that made my adductors angry. Either way, it's a good sign. My typical approach on Wednesday is some sort of "speed" work. I've got less than 30 minutes to spend during my lunch break so I need to optimize my time. From April through August I'll use the BHS track to do any number of a half dozen workouts I've designed. Okay, that I've "borrowed" from Runner's World. That's not important. With winter looming and the track probably only available for another 4 weeks or so it doesn't make sense to me to start something and then switch to something else. That's why this time of the year I do Tabata Intervals on Wednesday's. Or, as they are otherwise known as...4 Minutes of Hell. Originally developed for the Japanese speed skating team, researcher Dr. Izumi Tabata published a study of the technique in a 1996 issue of Medicine & Science In Sport & Exercise. Essentially, Dr. Tabata determined that a high-intensity training protocol of eight sets of 20 seconds of maximal effort (170% VO2 max) followed by 10 seconds of active recovery resulted in a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity and a 7 ml/kg/min increase in VO2max. It was one of the first studies to demonstrate a simultaneous increase in both anaerobic and aerobic capacity with one single training method. I began using this technique last winter when the track was covered in 4 feet of snow. While there is little doubt that the sports I enjoy training for and racing are predominately aerobic, to ignore the anaerobic contribution of a killer climb, a mid-race surge, or a final kick is at my own performance peril. Tabata's, by definition (170% VO2max), are suppose to be agonizing. In fact, if they aren't you're probably not doing them intensely enough. Any more than one of these workouts a week takes away from priority aerobic training and significantly increases the likelihood of overreaching issues. I did seven reps today and felt pretty happy with that performance. I may sleep downstairs tonight.

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