One of the mistakes when it comes to conditioning has come about from the drift of the industry towards beating yourself to the maximum as a sign that you did the most work you could.
This has it’s place but there is massive value in programming workouts that work on “pacings” rather than just revving to the max and staying there as long as possible.
This isn’t just for typical cardio based sports such as running and cycling and can transfer to many sports where controlled ‘pace’ can be the difference between gassing early and going the distance.
There are two main ways I like to do this:
Instead of working as hard as you can for say 30 seconds, you will start at a moderate speed for that time block.
For instance, if performing on a Concept 2, you would perform your first 30 second block at a “5 out of 10” pace.
You rest 60 seconds, but then on the next round you look to hit the same distance but with 1 extra metre.
This forces you to control the pace and be efficient technically.
You continue to add 1 metre per round until you are physically unable to increase any more.
The first few rounds will seem too easy and you don’t even really need to perform a warm up as these rounds will suffice.
Don’t underestimate it though! The workout soon starts to accumulate and you have to learn to pace, breath and stay efficient under fatigue – a good skill to have.
Depending on time available and goals you can vary the start point and complete anything from 15 to 50 rounds.
Ski erg
Every Minute On the Minute.
This is a different style of pacing in which the pace stays relatively constant and you are required to complete 1-3 exercises for a number of reps every minute for 15-20 minutes.
For instance, perform 2 cleans and 2 push jerks every minute.
Whatever time is left of the minute is your rest break.
Get the reps done faster and you get more rest.
The first few rounds should be quite comfortable.
As time progresses the recovery becomes insufficient for the work being done.
This can also be done for higher reps say…
10 push ups
10 burpees
10m sprint out and back
This would be less taxing neurologically but a massive breathing challenge by the later rounds.
In these sessions you have to learn to relax and be efficient and complete work at a relatively set pace for multiple rounds.
Again a good skill to have!
You can progress the sessions by increasing the weight lifted or adding a rep to each minute.
These weight based pacing workouts are very useful if you are looking to improve on AMRAP/for time style workouts where ability to recover quickly between bouts of work is rewarded.
As usual, there are almost infinite ways to actually structure the session in terms of exercise selection and reps and it will be determined by current goals and requirements and what exercises can be performed safely in the latter stages under fatigue.