I started interval training again this week. This is my second attempt at it. I am doing it to increase my lung capacity and improve my heart. In reality it is an evil torture developed by a sadistic trainer for nefarious purposes. (No offence Cyndi. I know it wasn't you.) Since I'm just starting it I'm not sure the loss of ice time due to almost killing myself is worth it yet but I'll give it a couple more weeks first before I re-evaluate.
What is interval training you ask? Ah ha. Pick a cardio sport; cycling, jumping rope, running or, in my case, rowing machine (personal fav!). Wear a heart monitor. Start at a reasonable pace that results in a moderate heart rate, which in my case is around 110 bpm (beats per minute). Do this for one minute. Then go as fast as you possibly can until you feel like your lungs will burst, your heart will jump out of your chest and you will pass out. Continue this for one minute. Apparently you don't actually die doing this. I'm living proof. My heart rate jumps up to about 128bpm during this phase. I seem to be limited more by my lung capacity than my heart rate at this point. As soon as the minute is up go back to the moderate pace, which after going as fast as possible is now slow as dirt. Continue for one minute watching your heart rate drop while catching your breath. My heart rate readily drops back down to 110bpm but my breathing takes the entire minute to get back near normal. As soon as the minute is up go fast again. This is repeated for an eleven minute cycle since the exercise starts and ends with the moderate (slow as dirt) pace. So your muscles don't go into convulsions at the end of this exercise, it is preceded and followed by ten minutes of light exercise on the treadmill. According to physical trainer mythology this is supposed to be good for you. Hum, two days later and I still can't touch my toes (normally this isn't a problem for me).
That isn't the worst of it; I couldn't skate yesterday. I got on the ice. I was exhausted due to the combination of interval training the day before and a snoring husband during the night. I started stroking around the rink. Everything from the small of my back all the way down to my toes hurt and I mean everything! Butt, hamstrings, IT bands, calfs, heels, toes. Ugh. I figured I'd just go slow, warm up and get the kinks out. After two slow laps around the rink I started figure practice. While this went ok my muscles got more and more sore as I skated rather than easing up and getting looser. I started three turns. Ouch. I did some walk throughs of my program so that I could memorize the new choreography. Pain. The thing that completely bummed me out is that I was planning on this being a jump practice day. Are you kidding? I could barely lift my feet off the ice. I couldn't even hop never mind jump. After half an hour my lower back was screaming in pain so badly I was almost limping. It was time to get off the ice. I couldn't do any more. Today I'm still sore. I stretched for half an hour before getting on the ice and it still took me a half hour of skating before I felt "normal" again. I managed to start jumping near the end of the session and debated whether to stay for the second hour. I restrained myself deciding to give myself some more rest and skate Sunday for two hours instead. Hopefully I'll be doing better by then. I need some Toe Loop and Salchow practice.
I remember some quote by a world athlete that said something about being flexible with your training. That it is more important to get out there and do something but to respect the body's limits on any particular day rather than having a rigid training schedule. You just never know what your not-so-evil trainer is going to consider is a good idea on any given day.