Interval Training Is No Joke

The fascination with the level of fitness for a Navy Seal has intrigued me for years. I can think of at least three times in my life that I attempted to complete a schedule of Navy Seal based calisthenics exercises (i.e. Pull-ups, Sit-ups, and Push-ups). After training for the past 12 weeks for the upcoming triathlon, I felt the intrigue keep in again. This time it rest on the back of an already consistent training program. However, my focus is not just on the calisthenics but on the whole body fitness needed to be a Navy Seal. Part of the program features short and long interval training.

Two Types Of Navy Seal Interval Training

Short interval (SI) training might include running 400m (1/4 mile) four times with recovery time between each interval. Swimming might consist of 100-yard swims four times with recovery time between each interval. The recovery time suggested is 2-2.5 times the amount of time it takes to perform the work interval.

Long interval (LI) training might typically involve up to 30 minutes of total work (not including recovery) in 1-4 intervals. These intervals typically involve moving for approximately 7-20 minutes without stopping at a pace of approximately 90-95% of the maximal pace you could hold for that duration. Recovery time for LI would be between 7 and 10 minutes depending on intensity and distance. Running intervals suggested by the Navy Seals begins at 1 mile and for swimming begins at 400 yards.

My Eyes Were Bigger Than My Legs

I decided that I could easily manage the suggested beginning intervals for LI in running. This would be two intervals of 1 mile at 90-95% exertion. I’ve been at this for over 12 weeks. This will push me but I can do it. That was a load of garbage inside my head.

After my warm-up, I hit the start button on Strava and proceeded to run at 90%. In reality, I was probably at 95%. I felt relatively good for a 1/4 mile. Then, it all came tumbling down. I put everything I could into finishing just a half mile. In no way could I consider going a full mile at this pace. I hit a half mile at a pace of 3:36. I felt like someone sucker punched me in the gut when it came to recovering. But, it wasn’t over.

After a 7 minute recovery, I hit the go button again on the app. My goal was to hit the same time for the second half mile. Upon hitting the stop button, my pace was 7:12 for the whole mile! Boom! That felt good. Good in the sense that I finished my goal and not that I actually felt good. I was still sucking in air like I had been trapped underwater for too long. I have never wanted to cool down as much as I did today.

At Least I Crushed My Pull-Ups

On my way back to the house, I decided to crush my pull-ups for the day. I’m at the very beginning of my program for strength. I did 5 sets of 3 good form pull-ups. I’ve got push-ups, sit-ups, and core exercises left today. Getting the pull-ups out of the way made me feel stronger than the week interval runner I just left on the road.

It’s All About Self-Assessment

I know it will get better and will take a lot more time. Over fitness is never a one-time deal. It takes a long time and constant self-assessment. I thought I could do a mile of interval running, but I was wrong. I’ll re-assess and re-work my training schedule to fit my new understanding of my fitness level. The sun will rise tomorrow, and I’ll focus on the next step.

Featured Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash


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