So yesterday morning (Tuesday), I planned on going to my favorite 7am spin clas at the gym. Unfortunately, when I tried to sign up online, I found out that class was full. That made sleeping for an extra hour an easy decision. However, my a.m. snooze left me with limited workout options for the day. I had plans immediately after work (happy hour with co-workers), so an evening gym session was out of the question. This left me with just one chance to get my sweat on – lunch hour. I contemplated going to a 12:15pm spinning class, but I wasn’t a fan of the instructor, so I decided against that. Sometime around 11am I got the crazy idea to do an interval workout instead.
My lunch break is limited to an hour, so I needed to be efficient. Working out during your lunch hour takes some planning, but it IS possible. I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in emails or to let a grumbling tummy take precedence over a noon-time run, but since it was my only option yesterday, here’s how I made it happen:
- 12:01pm – leave my desk
- 12:05pm – arrive at my gym (3 blocks away), quickly change, and stow my bag in a locker
- 12:10pm – begin my workout
- 1/2 mile warm-up (usually I do more, but I was crunched for time!), 8 x 600m @ 5k pace with 200m jog recovery, 1/2 mile cool-down (5 miles total)
- 12:50pm – finish my workout, jog to the locker room, wash my face, re-apply deodorant, and change back into work clothes.
- 12:57pm – leave the gym and walk back to the office (yup, my face was still a little red, but that’s the price you pay!)
- 1:01pm – arrive back at my desk and eat lunch/rehydrate while working.
I ran my warm-up and cool-down at around 8:30 mile pace, reps 1-4 @ 6:40 pace, reps 5-8 @ 6:27 pace, and my recovery jogs were done very slowly at 10:30 mile pace. The pace of the 600m intervals was about equivalent to 5K pace, so that didn’t feel terrible, but the 200m recovery felt SO short. Most of the time I prefer doing workouts WITH people (on an actual track), but I have to admit – yesterday’s solo workout was very efficient. No time was wasted and I kept the recovery to an honest 200m – no more!
If you’re going to try and squeeze in a lunchtime workout, the following tips might help:
- Have a small snack about an hour before you head to the gym since lunch will probably be on the later side. I usually eat 1/2 a clif or luna bar. You want a little something, but not so much that your stomach will get upset.
- Have a plan – your lunchtime workout will be more efficient if you decide what to do in advance. Instead of just jogging easily for 30 minutes, add some sprint intervals – you’ll get a better workout in the same amount of time.
- To save time, I often pack my lunch and bring it from home. You don’t want to waste any precious minutes waiting in line at the deli when you could be running an extra 1/2 mile (or re-applying deodorant…)
- Schedule your lunchtime workout like you would any other meeting – put it into your calendar and when it’s time to go, stop answering emails, and just GO. The office will survive for an hour without you!
- If you don’t have a gym nearby, you can always try freshening up and changing in the office bathroom. If you feel awkward about it – you could discuss it with your co-workers and boss ahead of time. More likely than not, they’ll be impressed with your healthy habits and level of dedication.
- If a lunchtime run isn’t going to happen, you can still fit in a brisk walk. Is there a park nearby? Slip into some comfy shoes and do lunges, tricep dips (off the edge of bench), and squats. It’s a great way to fit in a little bit of strength training.
And now, some answers to your running questions!
- What are your thoughts on running negative splits in races and have you ever done it successfully? I think running a negative split (meaning the second half of the race is faster than the first) is a very good racing plan. Back in March, I ran a 5k and started out conservatively (7:00 pace), I had enough energy to finish strong and my last mile was run in 6:30. It feels MUCH better to start slow and finish strong vs. die in the last mile. Just make sure you don’t start out TOO slowly!
- Can you explain what strides are?! Strides are a series of brisk, short (100 meters or so) periods of running one does as part of a warm-up or cooldown. Check out this complete running glossary for more definitions 🙂
- I would really appreciate you commenting on your “rolling” routine. I don’t have IT band issues, but I get pretty tight in the legs and hips and was wondering if rolling out might help. Thanks! For a tutorial on my favorite foam rolling stretches, check out this post. I usually just roll out my IT band since that is what gives me the most trouble, but if you’re interested in more foam rolling techniques, NoMeatAthlete posted a great how-to a few months ago. Check it out!
More Q’s will be answered in the next post! Feel free to leave more questions in the comment section.
Check out the latest from True/Slant:
Question – Do you ever workout during your lunch break? Any tips for the rest of us?