I’m excited! Keeping up with the weight watchers points seems to be helping. I just weighed in at 194.8, which makes me feel like my efforts are accomplishing something. It’s funny that I need some kind of change to occur to feel like my exercise is increasing my fitness. I wonder how I’ll feel when I’ve reached my target weight? I’ll probably have to start running farther, or doing more of certain exercises, in order to measure some kind of progress. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. Nobody is ever perfect, and seeking constant improvement is very admirable, in my opinion.

I tried something new this week. On Tuesday, we actually had snowfall here in Knoxville! It was bitterly cold, and when I looked outside, the sidewalks and roads looked white and icy. I decided I would not be running outside as I normally would. Instead, I went to the indoor running track at the gym. I had a problem with time restraints, though. It takes me about 10 minutes to get to the gym, and 10 to get back. Of course, there is always about 5 minutes spent going to the locker and getting situated. Well, the gym opens at 6:00 am. To be on time for work, I need to leave my house by 7:30 am, at the latest. There was no way I was going be able to do my usual 45 minutes of running. I had to allow some time to eat, shave, shower and the usual morning routine.

I thought about a post I recently read at Mark’s Daily Apple. The topic was Tabata sprints. The idea is that high intensity sprints for short periods of time will increase your aerobic fitness just as much as aerobic training (longer, lower exertion jogs) will. The added benefit is that you increase your anaerobic fitness as well. I’ve read about the Tabata method before with other exercises. By using this method, you supposedly get a good workout in just 4 minutes. Here’s what you do: for 20 seconds, give it your all. If you are running, you run as fast and hard as you can. Ditto for whatever other exercise you may be doing. After twenty seconds, you stop and rest for 10 seconds. Then you do it again, 20 seconds at your maximum effort, 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated a total of 8 times, so you’re done in 4 minutes.

Well, I decided to give it a try. I timed it the best I could, but I’m certain that I didn’t exactly adhere to the 20/10 routine. It’s hard to see your watch when you are running as hard as you can. And I tell you, 10 seconds is REALLY short! It doesn’t seem like a rest at all! So my rests were probably closer to 15 or 20 seconds. For good measure, I extended the total time out to 6 minutes. At the end, I was worn out! I walked for about 3 minutes, then did it again for about 2 minutes. After that, I was ready to lie down on the track! I think there is definitely something to this method. It was a great workout. My lungs burned like they never have, even after my 10K run last weekend. My legs and glutes were on fire. I felt like I did my body good, and even made it to work on time.

I’m going to do a little more research on this stuff. Sarah told me that she has read blogs where people talk about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training.) I’m not going to stop doing my long runs, but I think this high intensity stuff may be a good time-saving measure to incorporate into my routine occasionally, especially when I’m running behind.