One of the few downsides for running outdoors versus running on a treadmill has been my interval training regiment. Whenever I'd run on a treadmill, I ran in intervals - one minute at a 7.0, the next at a 5.5, back to 7.0, down to 5.5, etc. - and it worked well for me. I had increased my recovery rate because of that and my overall stamina. I noticed that I could still hit top gear after playing nearly two hours of soccer, for instance, even if my top gear isn't exactly fast.
I came across a piece in Men's Health about heart rate and beats per minute and it included a good tip on using intervals outside. According to the story, the average man's bpm is about 70, and I'd read and heard before that closer to 50 would be ideal. Basically, you don't want to be above 70 because it increases risk of a heart attack. The last time I saw a trainer, around October 2007, my bpm was at 54.
Anyway, the tip that most caught my eye was the interval one. According to a study by the American College of Sports Medicine, interval training can increase the amount of blood the heart pumps with each heartbeat (which is a good thing) by 10 percent while running at a slower, sustained pace had no effect.
Their tip: Run four minutes at 90 percent of your maximum heart rate, then three minutes at 70 percent, and repeat it three times. Repeat this run three times a week.
So what does that translate to? A grueling 28 minutes, or is it 21? Maybe I'll go with 21...
Actually, that's sort of what I did with the 7.0-5.5 interval. When I first started it, I figured 7.0 was about 90 percent, though that 7.0 became an increasingly lower percentage the more I ran and built up my speed and endurance.
Of course, when you are running on the street, you can't really run according to speeds.
I'm going to try this. What I'll do for the time (since I don't have a watch yet) is make a playlist that alternates between songs rougly four minutes long and three minutes long. What I'd suggest and probably would do as well is to warm up, either by walking or jogging lightly, before hitting the first four-minute segment. It might throw of my pre-planned route, though, so I'll have to figure out how much I ran afterward, if in fact I did go longer than my route or take a different one altogether.
To be honest, though, I've run intervals before and try to incorprate them in my jogs but this is a good organized plan and that's what I need more than anything - an organized plan.