It’s summer time, or close to it, which means vacation season is here. Whether you have a family reunion on a beach or a trip to the mountains planned, it can be tricky to carve out time for training while you’re on the road.
Alaska Pacific University’s Reese Hanneman has a solution to this dilemma: a compact, efficient interval workout that fits into a single hour. It can be done on rollerskis, in running shoes, on a bike — with whatever equipment you have available away from home.
“If I’m on vacation with people…and I’m only going to get one workout in a day, I want to do more than go ski or run or bike for an hour at distance pace, because that’s not that hard,” Hanneman explains.
He frequently returns to this threshold workout when he’s pressed for time. It’s short on warm up and cool down time, but the meat of the workout is challenging and efficiently improves overall fitness. In the past, Hanneman has repeated this session as many as three to five days in a row when he’s traveling. And it clearly works for him: he racked up early-season World Cup starts in Canada and had a series of career-first podiums on the SuperTour last winter. The traditionally strong sprinter improved his distance chops, too, and finished last season with a sixth place at U.S. 50 k Championship in April.
Warm up: 10-15 minutes L1
3×10 minutes L3, with 2 minutes of recovery in between. For added intensity, “if you really want to push yourself,” ramp up the pace to L4 or race pace for the last 3 minutes of each interval.
Cool down: 10 minutes L1
Total workout time: about 60 minutes
By the end of the session, Hanneman is usually pushing the pace.
“If [I] do that hard enough, without it being a sprint workout, I feel like it’s improving my fitness and improving my skiing,” he said. “If I was on a vacation for weeks on end and I did that every other day, I would still come away from that travel feeling like I improved as an athlete.
“For me, obviously you could just do a straight hour of threshold, but by breaking it up then [I’m] able to push it pretty hard in L4,” he added. “So you get that feeling at the end where you feel like you were moving really fast.”
In a perfect world — say, at a training camp — Hanneman would do such a workout after a 45 minute warm up beforehand with some pickups and have time for a longer cool down. But when he has to fit a session in a small window — within a road trip lunch stop, for example — he returns to this stripped-down version.
“On a family vacation, where you’re someplace not suited well to a training block, you don’t want to be that weird person always out training during your family vacation,” Hanneman reasons.
The quicker threshold intervals also work well outside the summer vacation context, when work and life encroach on workout time.
“I think you could reach a pretty high-level doing workouts just like that,” Hanneman said. “People are always under this illusion that you have to do so many hours.”
That’s not just the sprinter in Hanneman talking, either. He’s always considered himself to be a hybrid, but with a jump up in his distance racing last season he’s approaching training this summer with more distance focus.
“I’m trying the Kikkan approach,” he laughed. “It worked for Erik [Bjornsen]. Certainly I have been more consistent as a sprinter, but some of that was mental, too. I’m trying to help myself expand my horizons.”