Potato, Potah-to, Tomato, Tabata….

**I am in no way, shape or form any sort of personal trainer, or any sort of authority on physical fitness. Just wanted to point that out.**

I used to love running. Starting in highschool I would run on a 1/4 mile track by my house, and sometimes through some of the parks nearby. I would read runner’s world all the time, even though it always seemed like they ran the same 3 articles each issue.

“You need new sneakers!”

“Eat these foods!”

“Inspiring story of someone overcoming obstacles and in the process, running!”

Starting in about my senior year of highschool, I started to experience a sharp pain in my left knee. I would ignore it and continue to run. And then the pain became progressively worse, and I believe the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college I finally went to a doctor for the pain.

What can I say, I’m stubborn.

Anyway, I was diagnosed with patellar tendonitis, had some cortisone shot in my knee and was told I shouldn’t run on hard surfaces, and I should wear a knee brace.

And still, I continued to run. Even when I was at my heaviest, I insisted on running at least 2 to 3 times a week, even at a snail’s pace, I ran.

And then I started Jiu Jitsu. And Kettlebells. And Judo. And I stopped running. Which I am sure my poor knee is thankful for, but occasionally I still need to do something that is cardio intense, and something that does not require me to run. Because to be perfectly honest, I really don’t like running anymore. I can do it if required- catching the subway, making weight for a tournament, fleeing stampeding buffalo, etc. But unless it’s a gorgeous trail leading somewhere, running is no longer fun; it is a necessary function, a means to an end. And while Jiu Jitsu and Judo and Kettlebells are great, and Muay Thai is also fun, sometimes, like last night, I look for a little supplemental training- something to sweat more and get my heart rate up.

Someone on Fitocracy  mentioned the Tabata Method, and please, by all means go and read her post about it, but it reminded me it was a nice quick and dirty way to achieve what I was looking for. It is a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which our good friend Wikipedia describes as, “an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods.”

So, if you feel like doing some cardio without spending a solid half of an hour (or forever and ever, like some people seem to do) on the treadmill or stationary bike, this may be something to consider.

3 Comments

Filed under Training

3 responses to “Potato, Potah-to, Tomato, Tabata….

  1. orcablue

    Aren’t the knee and pelvis structures of women a bit different from those of men and thus requiring slightly different training methods, stretching and technique, in order to run and so on?

    I’ve heard some of this in passing from women who are ex-soccer or basketball players. Some of them had coaches who didn’t know about this and ran a few of them into the ground and some of them had coaches who gave them additional things to do that seemed to strengthen their knees or work them differently.

    I’m not an expert either, but you should look into it.

  2. orcablue

    I know women have different knee and pelvis structures than men and I know several women athletes who’ve had knee surgeries and so on. A few of them mentioned specific types of exercises and stretches that they can do in order to reduce the risks of knee injuries.

    Links like this (http://orthopedics.about.com/od/aclinjury/f/women.htm) seem to bear my non-expert knowledge out. I’d recommend talking to a pro and seeing what their take is on this and if they have specific things they want you doing.

  3. I used to be a big time runner since middle school, but it’s slowly been dropping off. And unless it’s trail running, I don’t particularly love running any more either. As far as I’ve seen, Tabata workouts seem to be the way to go to increase both aerobic and anaerobic work capacity, considering the time efficiency. Provided, of course, that one can handle the intensity. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had made that jump. Last week, my friend told me she spent 40 minutes to an hour doing cardio at the gym, and I can’t help but think how absolutely crazy it is to spend that kind of time when you could be done in four (or 8, if you wanna double it up) minutes.

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