20-minute fitness savior

A plan to save the fitness I've got and maybe grow a little stronger

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Sorry for the length between posts. Earlier this week I mentioned my new gig, working in Denver and commuting commuting from and to Colorado Springs. My new job is great, but the commute is more brutish than I imagined—an average of 2 hours each way. As a result, my plans to exercise this week were balled up and tossed into the trash. Between the stress of the commute and the job, I lost my appetite and promptly dropped 5 pounds in two days. Even I know that’s not healthy. Things are back to normal now, diet-wise, but I see now that my marathon plans are over. And that’s okay. I plan on running marathons for as long as my body lets me, so I figure I’ve got a couple of decades to keep on jogging.

My goal right now is to keep what fitness I have. And to do that, I’m going to adopt a training plan I came across back in 2006 based on short, all-out sprinting call Sprint 8. I mentioned this in my last post, but now, after checking out my work situation, I think this is the best use of my time. As I found researching a story for someone other than Backpacker.com last summer, if I can keep my top end anaerobic systems in shape, then I shouldn’t lose much, if any, speed and strength over the coming months, or, gulp, years, that I’m buried in work and sitting on my butt for four hours during my commute. And if I train hard enough, I should actually develop a modicum of strength/speed that should trickle down to all my aerobic activities.

The basic idea is this: Do a series of eight 30-second sprints followed by 90 seconds of rest. Sprints 1-3 are to get the muscles and brain working well together, while sprints 4-8 will just hurt. But, hell, I can do anything for 30 seconds. The nice thing about this workout is that I can change my clothes at the gym across the street, run, shower, change clothes and be back at my desk within an hour. I figure 3 workouts like this mid-week with a 60- to 90-minute run on Sunday should keep me in stellar shape for snowboarding, backcountry riding this winter, and keep my bod in top running shape.

I may lose my ability to rip off 20-mile jaunts, but I should be good for a fast half-marathon. I’ll let you know how it goes.