I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling like I need a bit of a shake-up in my workout life lately. On the one hand, I have way more time on my hands these days, and have been able to schedule a lot more workouts in my “new” work from home life. To add to that, I have been able to take some of my favorite studio classes over Zoom (from my living room, no less), which has been nothing short of thrilling. All of which is to say, I’ve been nailing it in the consistency department. And if you ask me, or anyone for that matter, consistency is key when it comes to fitness.
At the same time, the many races I’d signed up for this year being cancelled, some of which were going to be major milestones for me (looking at you, Chicago Marathon), has left me de-motivated when it comes to goals. Without a distance event in mind, I find it harder to push myself on speed, or even really monitor my pace on most of my runs for that matter. And don’t get me wrong, that has been really freeing, but at the same time, I do wonder if I could be pushing myself just a bit harder in the name of progress.
Enter: the track. Generally, track running reminds me of high school, and not in a good way. However, there is an appeal these days in the track. It measures the distance for you. There are always people there, giving a social aspect to a solo activity for those of you who miss racing. And, it’s perfect for speed work. My go-to track workout (starting this week, but hey, gotta start somewhere) is a simple 1 mile interval, broken into 4 quick laps. Quick is relative, of course, but I try to think of my ideal speed as something a bit faster than my goal 1 mile pace. Naturally, your speed and rest time should vary based on your preferences and fitness level, and a little bit of research will help you find the right balance for you. The benefits of interval training are many, from burning more calories to training the body to running at higher speeds, and there are many variations to getting the job done. And the best part: it’s fun (and sometimes painful) while you’re doing it, and over before you know it.