Monday, July 24, 2017

High Intensity Cardio: One-Minute by Ten Sets

If you want to burn many calories, the easiest way to do so is probably slipping your shoes into jogging shoes to hit the road.  You can do it anywhere, anytime, and no equipment is needed. However, one small problem with running is that unless you are able to keep a fairly fast pace, you can't burn many without running a very long distance. Sometimes you don't have time to do it. Is there any alternative? There sure is. That is high intensity cardio.

Different from long slow jogging, high intensity cardio is shorter but more intense as the name suggest. Because of its intensity you cannot sustain the activity for too long, so each set is one minute, and there is a short break after that. Once a minimum rest is taken so that your muscles are charged with just enough energy to do another set, you start the next set. You repeat this cycle as many sets as feel challenging enough.

Today's set is made up of a number of different movements:
1) Burpee with hand-clap push-up and jumping knee tuck
This is a highly challenging opening combination. Because of the intensity of hand-clap push-up and jumping knee tuck you can immediately tell that your entire body gets all fired up!
2) Mountain climbers
This is a well-known cardio workout that engages legs, abs, shoulders, and tri-ceps as well.
3) Jumping leg lunges
This is an all-time favorite of many who want to burn calories quickly. Highly explosive as you use your calves and thighs to jump up to alternate your legs, this is a very good leg exercise, but because your legs account for much of your entire muscle mass, it puts a lot of stress on your cardio. You can tell you quickly get out of breath once you reach this stage.

The above makes up one whole combo. One minute is usually long enough for you to repeat it four times. But as you go through more sets, you get fatigued, each movement taking slightly longer to execute.

The whole exercise was video-recorded today against the background of beautiful sunset so that only my silhouette would be visible, but after shooting, I deleted it from my smartphone by accident, so I would like to share the link to a video in which I'm demonstrating a similar exercise. The only small difference here is that there is pike push-up before mountain climbers, but in the exercise today, that par t wasn't included. It would have been more total-body, if there had been, but the idea just didn't occur to me today.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

10 K Hilly Road Work

With my body's batteries almost fully charged after relaxing all day and having a good dinner on Sunday, I was ready to hit the road. Today I tried a new loop that's 10.8 K. I left home after midnight. The road was deserted and traffic was very little. Every now and then large trucks passed me by, but other than that it was a quiet, lonely run. The new course has three long upward inclines, two in the first half, and the last near the beginning of the latter half. In terms of the length and incline, the last was the toughest. It was a good slope to work on running efficiency and to strengthen glutes. I ran it at a slightly faster than comfortable pace to finish in 59:45.83. I was originally aiming to make two laps, or do intervals after the first lap, but I felt too sleepy to continue, so I called it a day after the first round. All in all, it was a good course. I would like to run it more.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Midnight Combo: 10 K Run + 1 K Intervals

It's been a while since I ran last. I've been busy with a business trip and working on the weekend. And after working for seven days straight I really needed to give myself a full rest, and finally tonight after sleeping more than ten hours for two nights in a row, I felt strong enough to hit the road.

The temperature wasn't too high when I got out around 10:30 pm. It's a lot cooler than the last several summers. It reminds me of the summers in my childhood when it was hot in the daytime, but not so unbearably hot and humid. Anyhow, it was perfect for a run.

I went round the usual 2.5 K loop four times at the pace slightly faster than my new target full marathon pace of 13:07. After that I slowly jogged around the 650M quarter-pie-shaped loop around the park to warm down. By the time I got where I started off, I was strong enough for another challenge: 1 K intervals.

I didn't set the goal. I just took off and went with the flow. The first set was good. And so was the second. But as soon as I took off for the third, my legs were heavy and I couldn't pick up the pace no matter what. I ran out of gas. I could have stopped, but I carried on. When I finished, my watch said: 4:24, almost twenty seconds slower than the previous lap. I called it a day.

The detail of tonight's training is as follows:
1st 2.5 K: 12.29.85
2nd 2.5 K: 12.33.50
3rd 2.5 K: 13:02.30 (including a brief water break)
4th 2.5 K: 12:47.65
Total 10 K: 50:53.30
Jog 650 M: 6:00.20
1st K: 4:00.17
Rest: 2:00.03
2nd K: 4:05.40
Rest: 2:00.34
3rd K: 4:24.90
Total: 13.65 K: 1:13.24

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Weekend Combo: 5 K Run + 650 M Intervals

After getting a haircut in Tama Plaza this afternoon, I went to Ueno and bought a new singlet. It's a white adidas. As soon as I finished dinner, I threw it over my head, jumped into a pair of NIKE shorts, slipped my feet into split-toe minimalist shoes MUTEKI, and hit the road.

I ran the 2.5 K loop around my house two laps. I then did 650 M interval 7 sets with a 90-second rest between sets except after the 3rd and 5th sets where I extended the rest by 30 seconds to two minute because I needed a longer rest for recovery.

The detail of today's training is as follows:
1st 2.5 K: 12:33.72
2nd 2.5 K: 12:35.47
Rest: 1:30.32
1st 650 M: 2:33.33
Rest: 1:30.21
2nd 650 M: 2:40.50
Rest: 1:30.25
3rd 650 M: 2:40.10
Rest: 2:00.22
4th 650 M: 2:39.59
Rest: 2:00.34
5th 650 M: 2:45.67
Rest: 1:30.22
6th 650 M: 2:40.84
Rest: 1:30.22
7th 650 M: 2:35.76
Total 9.55 K: 55:16.76

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Cadence-Focused 10 K Run + 7 Sets of Alternate Run

I ran 10 K and did 7 sets of alternate run after that.
(※Alternate run is speed-focused training in which you run fast for one minute, and then jog for another minute after than, and repeat the set until you reach the number of sets you set as your target for the day.)
I needed it badly after working from 8:50 am to 9:45 pm today.
My mind was burned out, and I wanted to do something purely physical
to re-set my mind.

I ran a 2.5 K loop around my house four laps at a pace slightly faster than my full marathon pace. But my focus was more on cadence than on pace. Cadence is how many steps I take in a minute. My target is 190. I counted my cadence at different points during the training run, and the average was between 188 and 192. When the cadence is low, stress on your thighs increases and running economy is compromised. In the worst case scenario you can get a cramp in your thigh in a long race. I don't want that to happen. So I am trying to improve my running economy by paying attention to my cadence.

Today's result is as follows:
1st 2.5 K: 12:55.97
2nd 2.5 K: 12:55.60
3rd 2.5 K: 12:45.32
4th 2.5 K: 12:52.58
Rest: 1:00.00
Alternate run by 7 sets + warm down: 15:03.19
Total 12.76 K: 1:06:32

Sunday, July 2, 2017

12 K Run in the Heat

At 2:58 pm I left home in a singlet, a pair of running shorts, and a pair of Tesla Baretrek minimalist shoes, and headed for Morita Architectural Design Office in Central Sakura where an event was held.

I went down (and up!) the same usual route leading to the destination that has 5 long hills. It was brutally hot and humid, and I had to stop to have water from time to time. With 2 K to go, I felt so hot that I had to stop by a video shop just to use their men's room. I put cold water over my head, my face, and both of my arms. If I hadn't done it, I would have died from heat stroke. The cold water gave me the motivation to go on. I hit the road again and slowly picked up the pace. In no time I came to the bottom of the most challenging uphill known to the locals as "Kaburaki Zaka" . I pulled my chin down, took shorter strides, and swung my arms a little more strongly in order to charge up the slope. I was looking down on the road, so I couldn't tell how far up I came. The slope seemed endless. A moment later the sight of the tail of a stopping car was in sigh--a sign that an intersection was near. I finally reached the top of the hill. I was out of breath, and couldn't move. Luckily the light had just turned red, and I had to stop anyway. It was a bliss. A minute later the light turned green, so I ran past the road and headed for the goal.

The design office was quiet. But when I got closer, I saw quite a few customers checking out the stuff inside shop, some talking to a clerk who was probably the artist who made the clothes. I didn't get in, but stayed outside. Soon a man came out and said, "May I help you?" I bought a bottle of "Hokuso Cider." and quenched my thirst. It hit the spot. Once I finished the drink, I walked to Keisei Sakura Station and took a train back home.

I ran 11.9 K in 1:21.21. Time isn't an issue today. Cadence. That's what I care about. I kept it under between 185 and 190. Toward the end of the journey I was too exhausted to care about it, but most of the time I think I did a pretty good job for the unbearable heat that relentlessly tormented me.

Friday, June 30, 2017

5 K Run

I ran 5 K after coming home from work.
I paid attention only to my cadence--how many steps I take in one minute.
My goal tonight was 190 steps per minute.
I set the countdown timer on my Ironman wrist watch at 1 minute,
and check my cadence every minute.
They all fell between 184 and 192.
I ran the 2.5 K loop near my house twice.
The first lap was 12:18.68.
The second was 12:23.83.
I had a red flickering light on the back of my running cap,
and a white flickering light on the front of my trunk.
I fixed it on a fitness runner band from a dollar shop,
and wrapped it around my waist.
Both of the lights are from the dollar shop too.
I wear them so as not to freak out pedestrians in the dark,
and also to avoid getting hit by cars.
I recommend you to do it if you run late at night.
I am planning to run to a local event organized by a friend of mine
from my high school days on Sunday.
The venue is 11 K from home, but the route leading there is rich in undulation and good for stimulating legs and cardio.
Very excited to do it.