Interval training is one of the fastest ways to get fit, says Ryan Sandes, pro trail runner. Here’s how to slash your times.
One Minute Hard, One Minute Easy
“You run as fast as you can and you do it as many times as you can,” says AJ Calitz, a competitive trail runner. This spikes your heart rate, he says. Subtract your age from 220, this is roughly 90% of your maximum heart rate. The brief recovery time allows you hit this as often as you can.
Three Minutes Hard, One Minute Easy
“This mimics running on a trail where you run uphill for an extended amount of time and you only have a short recovery period.” He runs these at about three minutes a kilometre. “You need to be able to hold that intensity – albeit a lower intensity – for a longer amount of time.”
But remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Do this in your downtime:
Ryan Sandes and AJ Calitz are both keen surfers. “Surfing is great for stability exercises. It’s a full-body workout and it’s also low-impact,” says Calitz, adding that it’s one of those exercises that’s so enjoyable you don’t realise you get tired. “After four or five hours you realise that you are exhausted.”
“I believe in active recovery to maintain some conditioning and strength in my legs,” says Sandes. “I’d recommend going mountain biking two sessions a week.” With Calitz saying “it’s an awesome low-impact exercise that gets the legs ticking over. It’ll also teach you important aspects of trail running, such as managing your grip on the terrain and how to ascend.
Sandes aims for two swimming sessions a week. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise that builds good core strength,” says Calitz. “I think people misjudge the amount of core strength required to run trails. Balance is so important – especially going down, because it’s so stop-start.”