Off The Bike Intervals

Intervals. Man, NO one likes ’em. Especially fat, 43-year-old cyclists who aren’t really training for anything. The only reason I’ve rediscovered them at all is due to their ability to burn fat. Getting faster for the one to three races I now do each year is the least of my concerns…what’s the difference between 12th and 20th place in some vet class?

bellybeerfatdudeIntervals now (and not the 12 oz. sort) are all about trying to stay in the same sized clothing, preventing my belly from bouncing on my thighs when I ride, and burning off all those beers and cocktails I enjoyed over the past few weeks years.

Sometimes I do intervals out on the dirt roads, I call ’em “mail box sprints,” and I TRY to do them on the trainer during the winter, but I have a hard time getting my heart rate up like I can on the road, no matter what gear or resistance I’m using. I thought some of that might be due to the fact that I’m using a compact crank on my road bike; a leftover from my days cranking up steep Western Pennsylvania hills. I have no real need for a compact here in Mid-Mich, but it’s staying on my seldom used road bike ’cause I’m lazy and cheap. I also found some charts out there that help to put the compact crank for spinning in prospective, but I still seem to be bouncing around in a gear that’s way too easy, or in one that forces the interval to become more of a slow, grinding, lower back hurting, muscular force interval rather than one bent on boosting my aerobic output and burning fat like Selene promises it will.

One place I have found it easier to do intervals (and by easier, I mean “easier to be harder”) is running on the treadmill. I have never [ever, EVER] been a runner, but I have been working on it more and more over the past year and finally find myself in a place that isn’t me hating to run or having body parts aching for days or weeks after. Since there is less pain, and my body (although still soft and billowing in parts) is slowly adapting to running, lately I’ve been utilizing my time on the treadmill for interval training.

Like today’s hour(ish) session.

runninghodgepodgeBAs you can see by my Garmin file above, I started with a five-minute warm up of just walking at 3.5 mph, then proceeded to do seven sets of the following: 3.5 mph/5 mph/3.5 mph/6 mph/3.5 mph/7 mph. You can also see that for two of the intervals I added one minute at 8 mph (as well as forgetting to do a six-minute interval at one point. I have to say, I’m not sure I’ve ever ran at 8 mph in my life! I was tempted to go faster, but I couldn’t get the mental image of me flying off the back of the treadmill and slamming my skull into the cement basement wall out of my head OR ripping one of my aging hamstrings like a piece of dry, aged, fatty taffy.

My max heart rate maxed out at 160 during this session, still below what I can sometimes get it up to riding outside, but it was higher than what I can achieve during an interval of the same length on the indoor trainer. I’m also fairly happy with my heart rate during recovery. As the weeks go by I eventually I plan to shorten the recovery times and see what happens. Hopefully “what happens” isn’t me in a coronary care unit.

My original plan was to just cool down for five minutes and be done but I was pretty in to listening to Iron Maiden’s En Vivo! live album (going through another one of my old metal band phases) and decided to keep running with few erratic sets of unplanned intervals before cooling down. I also stayed on because of THIS…


I fear now that I know such a belly slimming, not at all sad, demeaning, man-girdle type thing exists, I could be convinced to give up all too easy and just shovel beer, pizza and jars of peanut butter down my throat for the rest of my days and still look OK in a t shirt. I had to force myself on to prove to myself that I won’t give in to the power of the 12-Inch Belly Buster Zip-n-Trim Support Brief! OK, I might give in, but not because of the belly busting part! I think it would be good for my back…. yeah, it would be great for my back…. nothing at all to do with how it could (possibly) improve the look of my package or flatten out the kegs attached to my sides.

As with anything I type relating to “training,” fitness, diet or health, I reiterate; don’t listen to me!!! I am NOT preaching Bro-Science! Consult a doctor, coach, or paid spokesperson if your want real training advice, facts, truths, etc. This is just a blog post by a crap cyclist doing what he needs to do to stay sane and a bit fit. Plus we all know that a Zip-n-Trim is on its way right now!


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