Outdoor Cardio Blast

Over the years I’ve come to realize that long distance, steady state running is just not in my play book. There are many reasons for this — none of which are that I think running is pointless, for those runners out there about to raise your fists in fury. I just find it a pointless act for me,Β but if you love running, I will not ever tell you to stop.

So why is it that going out for a leisurely jog is never in my workout plan? First of all, I get terribly bored, especially if I’m by myself. Even if I have music, I find myself focusing on every step, every breath, and being physically unable to just “lose myself” in the moment. I don’t think I’ve ever reached the “runners high”, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to push past that boredom threshold to do so. Secondly, I mentally fatigue long before I physically fatigue. When working out, I love being able to constantly change things — the stopping and starting of sets and reps fits perfectly into this. If I tried to do one set of 500 lunges, the whole mental fatigue thing would kick my ass too (as well as my IT bands). Β For these reasons, I tend to mix things up in my cardio workouts — runs turn into circuit workouts or hill sprints or some sort of interval workout, because I have workout ADD. And I think it works better anyway, so there’s that.

Last weekend I went to a park near my house for an exploratory workout — exploratory because I got lost in the winding trails of the park, but that’s neither here nor there. What I came up with ended up being a really great workout, so I thought I would share it with you all here! For this workout, there is no equipment needed, just a park or outdoor area with a set of stairs and a small hill.

StairsThe stairs that I used… Isn’t this just a gorgeous setting for a workout?Β 

See? I’m not even making you find a park that has benches. That’s how low-equipment this workout is. πŸ™‚

Outdoor cardio blast

Now, this workout might look easy on first glance, but remember that with any workout, especially one centered around sprints, you get out of it what you put in. If you find a hill with a decent grade and really give it all you’ve got for six sprint reps, your legs will be feeling it. If you follow that up with two sets of six stair sprints with all you’ve got left, this will be enough of a workout, trust me. Β If you give it all you’ve got and this seems too easy (or too hard), just adjust the time/sets/reps to fit your fitness ability. Also, I think it goes without saying that the difficulty of this will depend on the length of the flight of stairs that you’re using, as well as the incline of the hill. So plan accordingly!

At the park I was at, the hill and the stairs were just a few minutes jog apart from each other, which is what spurred this workout in the first place. If you can find a set up like that — great! And hey Bostonians, Franklin Park is a wonderful place for this specific workout, just saying πŸ™‚



7 thoughts on “Outdoor Cardio Blast

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I was planning a workout like this for this week and now I’m psyched you made it up for me. πŸ™‚

    1. Yay! Glad I could help out πŸ™‚ Let me know how it goes!

  2. There’s a Facebook group “We Love a Challenge” that would love that workout. Plus they appear to enjoy burpees. And any other kind of insane stuff like that. I say insane because I’m one of those runners that loves the freedom of packing my trail pack, water, shoes and going out the door and getting lost for a few hours. No set routine, no reps – the only hills are the ones I find whilst out running. Hahaha!!
    Plus. It takes up to 3 years for your body to adjust properly to running and unfortunately there are some people (my husband included) who will NEVER get the runners high. He could keep running for years but he will never get an endorphin rush. Me on the other hand – after a run I’m bouncing off the walls happy as a bear with honey. Woohoo!!
    Looks like a good workout – thank you. I may try it out this week.

    1. Oooh I’ll definitely check out that group! Thanks for the heads up πŸ™‚ And I weirdly enjoy burpees too, so maybe I belong with them, haha!

      You are right though, I think some people just never get that runners high. I DO get a crazy endorphin rush from lifting, so I guess to each his (her) own!

  3. This park is gorgeous! I want to go do stair sprints there! At least that way when I collapse from exhaustion, I’ll have lots of pretty things to look at. πŸ˜€

    1. It is amazingly gorgeous there! I just took a walk this morning, and I keep getting lost in there because there are so many winding trails..I love it. Part of it reminds me of Jurassic Park, so I can even let my imagination wander a little πŸ™‚

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