Target Heart Rate Diaries, Part 4: Intervals


Well, I’m still plugging away at finding THR nirvana. I’ve made a couple of discoveries in my THR experiment. Since the weather has improved I’ve been able to get outside on my bike for a few rides. My typical ride is 23 miles, mostly rolling hills. (I know you’re thinking, why 23? Why not 20 or 25?) Anyway, I can get my heart rate up with no trouble on the hills, to the top of my zone and sometimes above, then return to the lower to mid zone in between the hills. What this boils down to is automatically turning my ride into interval training. Interval training is alternating short bursts of higher activity with more moderate activity throughout your workout. Depending on the length of time you spend in the higher intensity part of the workout, you can focus towards improving endurance and/or burning more calories. It was effortless to turn my outside bike ride into interval training, because the change in terrain plus the length of the ride basically did the work for me. Back inside, on the trainer or treadmill you can still do intervals, but you have to put a little more thought into it. If you’re on an exercise machine that offers programs, you can choose an interval program that will vary the intensity automatically. Or you can manually alternate your intensity by increasing and decreasing your speed and resistance throughout the workout and accomplish the same thing. On my trainer, that means I’m setting a timer to work harder for several minutes, then easier for a few minutes, and so on. I’m still using my heart rate monitor, and seeing that I end up averaging in the 70%ish zone, which may turn out to be just right. I’m going to try intervals for a while to see how it goes. Meanwhile I’ll start slogging through the huge volume of info available on interval training to bring you more details in a future post. Stay tuned.

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