Explorations with IcyHot (Interval Workouts.)

My legs hurt. An embarrassing amount, really. I did my first ever interval workout today, and it totally kicked my ass, or, well, my legs I guess. Seriously. Hence the explorations with IcyHot (more on that later).

Why post about how sore my legs are? I know most of you probably don’t care how sore I am – I did inflict this on myself after all. I decided to run this fundraising half-marathon for CCFA. My point in posting this is to (hopefully) provide you all with a chuckle or two at my astounding wit, and (most importantly) as a resource for anyone who needs it, including Future Laura. So, a bit about interval workouts.

The point of interval workouts (alternating periods of high-intensity work with low-intensity cardio) is to burn calories and increase overall fitness more efficiently than steady-intensity cardio. For runners, they’re apparently a great way to build muscle strength and increase speed. Increased speed = easier distance runs! Woo!

The workout I did today I took mostly from here. I didn’t think I could handle sprinting for 3-4 minutes straight (my goal is to build up to the pyramid workout on that webpage), so I went for this one:

15 min warm up
30 second sprint
3 min active recovery (slow jogging)
[repeat cycle 3 more times]
10 min cool down

My times weren’t exact because I was counting in my head while trying to run (Shut up! It’s harder than it sounds!), and because there was a Cubs game so the streets were crowded with their lovely drunken idiot fans. Seriously, trying to run through a crowd of them is like this video multiplied by 292645847.
But I did do 4 cycles, and I sprinted for at least 30 seconds each time. Which is waaaay harder than I thought it would be. Just trust me.

Enter IcyHot. I bought some earlier the summer on recommendation from a friend, and never really did anything with it. Last week I re-discovered this tube of mentholated wonder in my bathroom, and it only took a few minutes of pondering to remember where it had come from.

Long story short, I’m skeptical that it actually does anything other than feel kind of good in a weird sort of way, so I’ve been trying it out on all my sore muscles as a bit of an experiment. (For those of you inclined to make inappropriate inferences, I’ve used it specifically on my shoulders, mid-back, neck, calves, hamstrings and shins.)

As far as I can tell it does relieve pain, if by no other way than distracting you from the pain with its weird minty-ness. I can’t say that it’s actually caused any of my sore muscles to relax and recover any faster than normal. Out of all the places I’ve used it (again, see the parenthetical above before your mind runs away from you), it’s done the best work on my shins, but I doubt I’m suddenly going to start running 13 miles in an hour because of it.

At any rate, I’ll definitely be keeping up with the interval workouts. IcyHot TBD.

If you’ve got a minute, please do check out my fundraising page, and consider donating. CCFA is an A-rated charity – roughly 80% of all donations go directly to research and patient services.

Peace.

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