Thursday, April 3, 2008

T-max intervals

Three weeks ago I started doing T-max intervals. I read about these a few months ago in Bicycling magazine, the one I bought off the newsstand because it had Fatty's "win" jersey on the cover. As usual, the training/fitness/weight loss tip in this issue was a blatant, bald-faced lie. That's the thing I love about Rodale publications (publishers of Bicycling, Runners World, Mountain Bike, and Prevention, among others)--they suck you in with these fantastic, too-good-to-be-true cover headlines that inevitably turn out to be at the least hyperbole and more often complete and total fabrications.

When I was running marathons, I subscribed to Runner's World and would always get sucked in with "Lose 10 pounds this week" or "Melt fat and get faster in your sleep" or "How overweight Americans like you with mediocre genetics and who only run so they can eat more pizza can beat the Kenyans in next month's 10,000 meter world championships." I'm sure Rodale's research indicates that fantastic headlines like these sell magazines, and that the stupid readers like me are gullible enough to fall for it month after month.

So when I read about T-max intervals, and that I could "develop blow-their-legs-off power" in one hour, even if it was "one brutal, agonizing, endless hour of astounding misery and pain," I was all for it. Yet again it was a trademark Rodale whopper. It doesn't take one hour, it takes at least two one hour sessions per week for five consecutive weeks. Big difference, especially when we're talking about a "brutal, agonizing, endless hour of astounding misery and pain." And while I'm being picky, it's actually more like 75 minutes if you include adequate time for warmup and cool down.

Despite whatever truth in advertising contentions I may have with Rodale Press, I still gave these T-max intervals a try. I've been doing them indoors partly because the weather is still unpredictable outside and partly because it's a lot easier for me to set the resistance appropriately and time the interval accurately on a stationary bike. I have not yet thrown up or even had to gag it back. But they are hard. Hard enough that I was scheduled to do them on Tuesday and skipped the workout entirely. Tuesday was crazy busy at work, and the first chance I had to break away was at 8:00 p.m. At that point I was too tired and skipped it. I figured I'd make it up Wednesday but decided to go mountain biking after work instead. Which means that today's Thursday, and I'm still supposed to squeeze in two of these workouts this week, with at least one rest day in between. Except that it's now 10:13 p.m., and once again, I can't muster the motivation to go to the gym and straddle the stationary bike for an hour.

So here I am stuck between my own laziness and ambition. I'm convinced these things work. After only two weeks, I am hanging with people that were dropping me last year. And I did not exactly train very hard during the winter. I want to do them, I really do. But they are hard. There is nothing fun about them. And as I make up excuses not to do them I am tormented by guilt, or at least the feeling that I'm shortchanging myself on my goals for the year.

So here's my plan: tomorrow's Friday, and my afternoon is open. I've got plans for a road ride at lunch, so I'll follow that with my T-max interval session indoors. Doing T-max right after a fairly hard ride will make up for skipping the earlier session in the week, right? Then, after work, I'll ride mountain bikes. This way I get lots of time in the saddle, which I need to get ready for RAWROD. And I get my training in to make up for being busy at work and using that as an excuse to be lazy on the bike this week. And then since I'll have done essentially three rides in one day, I'll have the family meet me at Highlands Hollow, and I'll cap it all off with a smoke house burger and copious amounts of diet coke. The smoke house burger will turn what would otherwise be a good day for training and weight loss into a good day for training.

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