The holiday season is upon us and between the days being shorter, holiday parties, and family obligations, triathlon training often takes a backseat to life. This is okay! Finding balance in the off-season and during the holidays is very important. Although, it’s also very important not to skip training all together and take the whole month off!
I find that sticking with daily exercise keeps me happy and healthy during the holidays. One of my best tips to keeping with your training schedule is to make appointments for your workouts and stick to them like you would a work meeting or doctor’s appointment. You are less likely to miss a workout if stick to your appointment and you’ll stay consistent during the busy holiday season.
For the next three weeks, I’m kicking off a series of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) swim, bike, run workouts that are perfect for this time of year. They are less than an hour, will help maximize your training time and give you a quality session in a limited amount of time.
These short sessions include two high intensity interval segments that are between 15 and 45 sec that will activate your fast twitch muscle fibers, raise your endorphins and rev your metabolic engine to give you a great post-workout metabolic burn!
Also, don’t fuel up immediately post-exercise! Doing HIIT segments in combination with other intensities increases fat burning. If you wait a few hours and then have a healthy snack your waistline will thank you!
Swim HIIT Workout
Total time: 45 min
8 min with 4 x 25 yards/meters (m) build to hard anywhere during the warm up.
8 x 25 m free build each
Rest Interval (RI) 30 sec
3 x 3 min RI 10 – 30 sec progressive within each 3 min but covering the same distance.
Depending on your speed and recovery, select your distance from 250 y/m down to 125 y/m.
For example, Betty can swim the 3 min block and finish a 200 in 2 min 40 sec.
This would give her 20 sec RI before starting the next one.
Allow 10 sec to no greater than 30 sec RI between the longer repeats.
Don’t dilly-dally on these sets. They are meant to be hard!
Try to negative split these 3 min blocs and think about holding your best form possible. Start off the interval moderately hard and consider counting your strokes on the second lap. When you get to the halfway mark (1 min 30 sec) then start building your speed. Count your strokes on the final length and compare it to your Lap 2 number. If the number is the same or goes up by one then you succeed. If your stroke count increases dramatically try to ease into the next interval a bit slower and concentrate on your form throughout the interval. Following this block go right into the following HIIT efforts:
4 x 35 m all out with a 15 y/ m easy (so 4 x 50) RI 30 sec
6 x 25 m hard RI 20 sec
4 x 12.5 m hard (stop in the middle of the pool and swim easy to the wall) RI 15 sec.
Cruise easy for 3 min and repeat the set but the longer block is now: 3 x 90 sec not 3 min so cut your distance in half or try to go a length farther!
Again, repeat the shorter distance HIIT intervals following the 90 sec efforts.
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