Ring Park: Tabata Training Bliss
Just west of the busy shopping centers on NW 13th Street off 23rd Avenue and north of the seemingly endless road construction on 16th Avenue lies Gainesville’s linear park, an urban green space donated to the city in 1990 by Professor Alfred A. Ring.
The park’s dirt paths are broken up by wooden boardwalks, which are perfect for running intervals in town without having to stick to sidewalks and traffic lights. There is plenty of parking just past the Elks Lodge off of Glen Springs Road (NW 23rd Avenue).
Once you ditch the car, start lightly jogging down the bridge that leads over Hogtown Creek and into the park.
Dynamic Warm Up
Throughout the 0.8 mile stretch between 23rd and 16th, there are several wooden boardwalks. Use these markers to add in some dynamic warm-ups before your sprints to make sure your muscles are warm and ready to fire quickly.
On the first wooden bridge, change to a high knee run—keep your shoulders back as you pump your arms as you drive your knees towards your chest with your core tight.
Jog in between wooden walkways. At the second walkway, change to butt-kickers—bringing your heels to hit your buns as you keep your chest lifted and arms pumping.
On the third boardwalk, add in high skips with alternate knee and arm lifting up as you spring off your bottom leg. Then, add in some step ups from the dirt to the wooden walkway. Complete 20 with one leg before switching to the next.
Add in 30 jump squats on the next wooden path to really get the heart rate up. Squat down and reach to the floor before springing up and reaching your hands in the air.
On the final walkway, turn sideways and grapevine your legs, alternating which leg is behind and which leg is in front. Switch lead legs on the way back.
Once you hit 16th Ave. (0.8 miles), turn around and start your Tabata intervals. Tabata means 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest. Wear a watch so that you can keep track of your time. Sprint hard for 20 seconds followed by a 10 second slow jog. After you complete 8 rounds (4 minutes) of effort, take a 1 minute walk break to recover and catch your breath. When you make it back to 23rd Ave., turn around and continue your intervals until you have completed 5 rounds total (20 minutes).
Main Set Summary
20 sec. sprint followed by 10 sec. jog x 8 sets. Rest 1 minute. Complete 5 times total.
Once finished, slowly jog back to the parking log adding in optional upper body and core work.
On one of the boardwalks, place your hands on the railing and complete 20 chest push ups, keeping your abs tight and your chest in line with your hands. To make this move more challenging, add an optional leg lift, squeezing your glutes and pointing your toe. For a more advanced option, try putting your hands on the ground and placing your toes on the railing.
At the fork, continue on to the observation deck to add in some extra ab work, like plank holds. For an advanced option, alternate from a plank on your hands to a forearm plank or, when in a plank on your hands, drive your alternating knees into your chest with your toes pointed (mountain climbers).
Because of its adjacency to Hogtown Creek, there are often mosquitos out and about. Wear bug spray!
Click here for more info and directions to Ring Park.