I've been intrigued with the idea of Tabata Sprints for some time now but my knee, oh what a tale of woe that has been and it's been bad enough living through it I didn't feel like reliving it by writing about it and I know you all have your own tales of woe about your own knees and whatnot so I've been staying off that topic. But finally after 3 rounds of physical therapy and many months of dealing with bursitis, the cure for which seems to be doing nothing to aggravate it, and other issues going on in my knee I'm finally able to start running again. I'm about 5-6 weeks into a back to running program and I'm going about 4-5 minutes run/1 minute walk for 1/2 an hour with warm-up and cool-down walking of course. Today I finally felt confident enough about my knee to give the Tabata Sprints a go. I'm hoping this will help me build some speed for agility (gotta keep up with Strummy and that running dogwalk somehow) as well as some strength for mountain biking and triathlon.
The complete protocol calls for 20 seconds of run like hell (pretend you're chasing Strummer down that dogwalk) then 10 seconds of rest. You repeat for 8 reps which is a total of 4 minutes. Do this 5 times a week and the proponents of this method promise you all kinds of fabulous things like speed and fitness and weight loss and the solution to your bad hair and fashion issues. O.k., maybe that last one is wishful thinking on my part. There are videos all over YouTube showing you how to do this but do you really need a video showing you how to do this? They are about as interesting as watching paint dry which coincidentally is how I spent my weekend-painting my laundry room which is maybe another story for another day but maybe not much more exciting than those videos. The one thing to note from these videos is how the people collapse in a puddle of their former selves at the end. Though I'll admit my idea of fun is perhaps a bit twisted this is not exactly my idea of fun.
Nonetheless, I gave it a go today and it was hard but I survived. I started out with only 4 reps because I read somewhere that you shouldn't start out trying to do the whole protocol. Also I'm worried about how my knee will tolerate this type of intense running so I wanted to start out conservatively. I had no knee problems while doing it and after icing and sitting at my desk for a bit my knee is still fine. At one point I thought my heart was going to explode and it took me a while to get back to breathing normally after I was done but my knee seems to be down with the program so far and that's the main thing. Tomorrow I think I'll go for 5 reps.
Also, I found this cool blog that has mp3 uploads timed for Tabata Sprints. It looks like the first 2 are the theme from Rocky which would drive me well out of my mind but one is just beeps which is perfect. I may have to make my own mp3's one of these days. The one fussy part about this workout was messing with the timer on my stopwatch. Not a huge issue but would be much easier to have beeps/music on an ipod.