Over the years I’ve come to realize that long distance, steady state running is just not in my play book. There are many reasons for this — none of which are that I think running is pointless, for those runners out there about to raise your fists in fury. I just find it a pointless act for me, but if you love running, I will not ever tell you to stop.
So why is it that going out for a leisurely jog is never in my workout plan? First of all, I get terribly bored, especially if I’m by myself. Even if I have music, I find myself focusing on every step, every breath, and being physically unable to just “lose myself” in the moment. I don’t think I’ve ever reached the “runners high”, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to push past that boredom threshold to do so. Secondly, I mentally fatigue long before I physically fatigue. When working out, I love being able to constantly change things — the stopping and starting of sets and reps fits perfectly into this. If I tried to do one set of 500 lunges, the whole mental fatigue thing would kick my ass too (as well as my IT bands). For these reasons, I tend to mix things up in my cardio workouts — runs turn into circuit workouts or hill sprints or some sort of interval workout, because I have workout ADD. And I think it works better anyway, so there’s that.
Last weekend I went to a park near my house for an exploratory workout — exploratory because I got lost in the winding trails of the park, but that’s neither here nor there. What I came up with ended up being a really great workout, so I thought I would share it with you all here! For this workout, there is no equipment needed, just a park or outdoor area with a set of stairs and a small hill.
See? I’m not even making you find a park that has benches. That’s how low-equipment this workout is. 🙂
Now, this workout might look easy on first glance, but remember that with any workout, especially one centered around sprints, you get out of it what you put in. If you find a hill with a decent grade and really give it all you’ve got for six sprint reps, your legs will be feeling it. If you follow that up with two sets of six stair sprints with all you’ve got left, this will be enough of a workout, trust me. If you give it all you’ve got and this seems too easy (or too hard), just adjust the time/sets/reps to fit your fitness ability. Also, I think it goes without saying that the difficulty of this will depend on the length of the flight of stairs that you’re using, as well as the incline of the hill. So plan accordingly!
At the park I was at, the hill and the stairs were just a few minutes jog apart from each other, which is what spurred this workout in the first place. If you can find a set up like that — great! And hey Bostonians, Franklin Park is a wonderful place for this specific workout, just saying 🙂