You’re truly committed once you buy the plane ticket. And Friday (5/18) I bought my ticket for this summer's expedition to K6 in north-eastern Pakistan and my mental state instantly changed. Commitment always precipitates realizations. I have a lot of things I want to do before I go; not the least of which is to be trained and fit. So while I have been training Long-Slow-Distance (LSD refers to this type of training rather that the tabs someone is taking in order to name our color palette. Jackaranda? WTF?), before this past weekend I had yet to incorporate interval training into this year’s fitness program.
[K6 after a storm. Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]
For those of you who think serious athletes are simply obsessive-compulsives waiting for a diagnosis, here is a bit of training theory. Eight-twelve months before you want to hit your performance peak start doing a lot of volume (read: time) and then, as you approach your d-day, incorporate shorter bursts of high-output work. These short bursts, intervals, cause your aerobic capacity to skyrocket. The catch is that the benefit you realize from the intervals is directly proportional to the quality and volume of your LSD. So in the course of my typical 10-month training cycle I do 6-7 months of LSD-only then 3-4 months of diminishing LSD and increasing interval work.
Anyone who has ever sprinted until their legs burst into flames and their lungs felt like they were about to invert onto their handlebars knows what interval training feels like. It hurts. It burns. It rules you. It breaks you down until you feel like crumpling to the ground and crying for your mama. Sweet, sweet pain. Saturday did not disappoint...