I had my first growth spurt just before I turned twelve. I grew 5 inches in 3 months. I finished 5th grade at 4’9” and started 6th grade at 5’2”. I was thrilled to be as tall as Paula Abdul and as uncoordinated as a baby faun.
But I wanted to join a team at my brand new Jr. High School. I was so thrilled to be a big kid now that I wanted to hang with the big kids! I couldn’t throw or catch, I couldn’t kick anything coming at me- I had no idea where all my hands and feet and limbs were in space. But I did know I could put one foot in front of the other- so I joined the Cross Country team.
Between you and me, it turns out I wasn’t any good at it, but I loved being on the team so much I didn’t notice. (Team sports are good for girls! Get your girls on a team!)
From 6th grade through 11th grade I ran Cross Country in the fall, and Track in the Spring.
Now- I hate running. It’s like I used up all the miles I had in my joy bank :) It’s just not for me, I find my joy now in other places- and that’s okay. I get bored long before I get tired. I get frustrated on a treadmill going nowhere, and I get anxious running away from my starting line knowing I’m going to have to turn around and come back at some point.
But— running has some real benefits.
Not the least of these is that you only need a pair of shoes to do it (or not- we’ll talk about barefoot running another day).
So what do you do if you don’t find your bliss in running but a little runner’s high would do you good, or you need to get a workout in but you don’t have anywhere to go or any equipment?
Here is my favorite running interval circuit.
It keeps me from getting bored- you never go long enough to hit that state.
It keeps me from feeling like I’m going nowhere- I know exactly how long and how far I need to go.
And it helps me feel like I’ve really accomplished something.
Bonus? It only takes a maximum of 18 minutes! I’m all for a running workout that’s over in less time than an episode of 30 Rock! (I love you Liz Lemon!)
My favorite place to do this workout is on a track- you can head to your local public school or community college for access, but you can absolutely do in in your neighborhood! A treadmill isn’t ideal, but as always- if that’s where you WILL go, do what you WILL do.
The idea is simple: sprint as hard as you can- and I mean sprint! Run like your kid is in a car rolling down the street in neutral!
Then walk. Really walk, calm, chill, catching your breath, bringing your heart rate down.
And here’s how it goes:
Sprint all out for 15 seconds.
Walk for 15 seconds.
Sprint for 30 seconds.
Walk for 30 seconds.
Sprint for 45 seconds, Walk for 45 second.
Keep increasing your interval by 15 seconds (15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90) up to just 90 seconds- One and a half minutes. Then take that same ladder back down to 15.
It’s brutal, It’s crazy challenging, but working up to 90 seconds and back down takes just 18 minutes flat- and half of that is walking!
If it’s your first time trying interval work, or you’re just not sure about this whole running thing, start by just working up to 60 seconds and back down (15, 30, 45, 60, 45, 30, 15). It’s an 8 minute cycle and I promise you’ll feel the burn. After 2 or 3 sessions try adding the 75 second interval. When you’re ready for hero mode add that 90 second interval.
Get all the benefits of running long distance in half the time? Yes thank you!
Let me know how it works for you! What are your favorite songs to run to? Do you have a favorite spot to get outside to get your workout in? Let us know in the comments!