Tabata Time

Even though I loathe winter, I’ve decided that the changing of the seasons is a good thing.   I’ve often wished to live on the equator where I could have endless summer, but the sameness of it all would probably eventually bore me.   I think it’s the same with running.   If the changing seasons didn’t encourage us to change tactics, the same old, same old would be killing.

Winter is a good time to do lots of long slow stuff, building a decent aerobic base.   Sunday runs don’t have to start before the crack of dawn to avoid the heat and marathons and ultras are way more pleasant in our winter time.

But once that Piet-My-Vrou starts singing in November, I suddenly crave something fast and furious.   Something different.  Something in keeping with the new season.   I suddenly need to GET FASTER!

I have read a bit about Tabata – here is a handy link.   And here is a bit of background about how and why Tabata was developed by the Japanese. I think it may be key to getting faster.

My version of a Tabata workout is to first warm up using Coach Jay Johnson’s Lunge Matrix.  I then do squats a la Mark Sisson.   One Tabata is basically 20 seconds of balls-to-the-wall activity followed by 10 seconds rest, repeated 8 times.   So one Tabata only takes 4 minutes.   Sounds easy but I guarantee burning of the lungs after one round if you’re doing it properly.   I use skipping (jumping rope if you’re American) for my balls-to-the-wall sections, and I do it as fast as I can.  The whole thing, warm up and one Tabata, will take me 15 minutes.   Short, sweet and effective.   Watch this space…..




4 thoughts on “Tabata Time

  1. sarahdudek80

    Tabata is a great way to improve over the winter. I also just enjoy the slower pace and later wake ups. Surprisingly, by combining more long slow runs with a few cardio sessions you might find your speed improving 🙂

  2. Van

    Maffetone always says to be careful with any anaerobic work as it can actually impede your aerobic development..
    There should definitely a place for some threshold work in any running plan, but I just think that Tabata is way overhyped as a miracle “4-min workout” when most people don’t do it anywhere near hard enough to reap the benefits to the same extent as the Japanese speed skaters of the original study (it should be MAX intensity – you should be puking by the end, not just sweaty).

    1. lowlyj Post author

      But it’s such fun! Not that I do it so hard as to puke! I know that Maffetone says to be careful and not to do too much anaerobic work, but my anaerobic work is very short and I’ll then balance it with a very slow run or hike, on the same day.


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