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How to Kill Variety in Energy Use

The first two Open workouts this year were all about pacing – and when I get hasty and don’t plan ahead, then I don’t get the results I want.


Workout 20.1 did that to me. A 10 round workout should scream a pacer mentality, but after starting at about 1:00 per round I was already slower than 1:30 overall pace on round 5, and that means I had to be going well over 1:30 pace per round to lose that :30 second buffer I picked up on round 1.

Friday, I failed to achieve my goals, but Monday I planned and paced and won!


But what did I lose exactly on Friday other than a few “points?”

Did I get an exhausting workout? Definitely.

Did I walk away tired and sore but recover to become stronger and faster? I’m sure of it.


Since most of us aren’t concerned with shaving off a few seconds on our Open scores or nailing those last few reps, then why be concerned with pacing? You get out of a workout what you put in and even an un-paced workout can build endurance and burn fat. This is true, but what is lost is variety, the cornerstone of our programming.


Check out this graph. Here is a typical 20:00 un-paced Patrick workout.


Now look at this typical 8:00 un-paced Patrick workout.


It’s the same stimulus! Come out fast, slow down to a substandard “maintain” pace, and then a 1:00-1:30 sprint to finish. I just did that yesterday! Both 20:00 and 8:00 are the same workout: 2 sprints with a little more-or-less ‘fooling’ around in between.


What I’m undermining is variety, and I have been doing the same workout more-or-less for a long time. Also notice the vertical line before the end, that is my cognizant recognition that the end is near, and I need to kick it into high gear before time is up. That should certainly be more linear.


So, here is my goal:

Start slower while taking a little advantage of the initial energy surge and finish fastest on the final anaerobic sprint.


This makes 20:00 workouts truly 20:00, and 8:00 workouts truly 8:00, rather than every workout being book-ended by 2:00 sprints with nonsense in the middle.


I’m happy to say I learned my lesson on 20.2 and accomplished this goal on my first attempt. I was so satisfied that when Monday morning rolled around and I was about to make another go at it, I stopped and said, “Forget it, give me something heavy to lift.”


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