How do you keep your cardio routine interesting and challenging? Do you let out a neighbor's pet Doberman and then run for your life (as Mitch does), how about tying yourself to the back of your car and have your wife pull you along at 20mph as you try desperately to keep up. These ideas may be exciting but not practical. You'll probably want to have more control over your training situation. Here are a few (safer) ways to spice up your aerobic routine and eliminate the plateaus that can occur from doing the same routine day in and day out.
1) Low/moderate intensity intervals-alternate between low (40 to 60% max heart rate) and medium (65 to 70% max heart rate) intensities for 45-minutes. Vary the time, i.e. 5-minutes low intensity and 5-minutes medium, 3-minutes low 8-minutes medium.
2) Speed session- run at 75 to 85% max heart rate for about 20-minutes.
3) Aerobic intervals- interval training alternating between moderate/high intensity and low intensity training, i.e. 1-minute run followed by 3-min walk, 5-minute run followed by 3-minute walk. You can determine the length of your moderate/high and low intensity intervals, mixing them according to your fitness level. This type of training allows for variance in the interval times so be creative and have fun with it.
4) Anaerobic intervals- the highest intensity training (85% and higher maximum heart rate), anaerobic intervals mix sprints with alternate walking or jogging periods, i.e.15 second sprint followed by 15 seconds walk/jog, 30 seconds sprint followed by 30 seconds walk/jog. Repeat for 5 to 10 sets.
5) Fartlek (Swedish for speed play) intervals- combines elements of low, moderate, high and anaerobic intervals together in one session. An example of fartlek training would be to run for 2-minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, jog for 5-minutes, sprint for 20 seconds and walk for 2-minutes. The possibilities are numerous when doing fartlek intervals, be creative and have fun with it.
They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.- Andy Warhol