PACEing Again

I find myself time and time again going back to Al Sear’s PACE (Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion) and my husband finds it suits his personal style very nicely, so we are both exercising in this way at least 2-3 times a week. In between I do T-Tapp to maintain my chiropractic adjustments (yes, T-Tapp really does do that).

At our house we have very basic equipment, so my SO uses his Schwinn Airedyne to perform his PACE. He has adapted the technique to suit him, so I think he warms up for three minutes at a slow steady speed. At that point he gives it some gas for one minute, decreases his resistance and speed until his heart rate comes down and then hits the gas again until he breathes hard and is winded. He intersperses this with 30 second bursts now and then and leaves 3 minutes to cool down and end at 30 minutes.

I use my rebounder (and watch Weeds or something with catchy music) warming up for three minutes at a gentle jog. Then I progress to jumping jacks for 2 minutes (that is 130 jumping jacks) and then cool down for 2 minutes. At the 8 minute mark I run as fast as possible for one minute and then cool down for three minutes. At the 12 minute mark I jump off my rebounder and skip around my basement for 6 rounds (1 minute)jump back on the rebounder and run gently for 3 minutes. At 16 minutes I repeat the jumping jacks for 1 minute (65 jumping jacks) and cool down for 2 minutes.

Now I am approximately 19 minutes in to the workout and I want to quit at 30 minutes so I can spend 20 minutes in the FIR sauna before I do 10 minutes in front of my Sunsplash Renew, so I need to fill 11 minutes. I hop off the rebounder and skip around my lower level again for 6 rounds (1 minute +or-) and run gently for three minutes and then run in place for 30 seconds just as fast as I can, using the next three minutes and 30 seconds to get my heart rate down at which time I do 1 minute of jumping jacks (65) and finish by gently running on my rebounder for two minutes and hop off and in to the sauna where I will more easily sweat out many unwanted toxins.
I cannot speak of weight loss (keep in mind I am fighting a hypothyroid condition) but I think both of us have benefited from exercising this way as we don’t need hours of grueling exercise and we are able to keep up with the younger generation quite nicely. We are, and have been for sometime, PACEing again.


4 responses to this post.

  1. I was very interested in your article on PACE (Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion) so I went out and bought Dr. Sear’s Book.
    I can’t seem to get in touch with him so I wondered if you could answer a question I have?

    I use a stationary recumbent bike, I am 59, my resting heart rate is 76-80.

    1. I warm up for 4 or 5 minutes, pedaling easy with moderate intensity to get my HR up to 112 which is roughly 70%maxHR

    2. I increase resistance and speed to get my HR up to 135-140 which is 80-85% MaxHR. This takes a minute or more. Finally, I am breathing heavily, just breaking a sweat, broken sentences but not gasping for air.

    3. NOW, I start counting my Exertion Period, say 2 minutes. I maintain my 135-145 HR for the full Exertion Period.

    4. At the end of the exertion period, I rapidly decrease resistance and speed and measure how long it takes for my HR to return to 112.

    5. Then I start ramping up for the next Exertion interval (go back to step 2).

    Am I doing this correctly?

    Thank you very much for your response!!


    • Posted by Kris on 9:00 at Sunday, April 18, 2010

      As I understand PACE Jim you are starting out correctly BUT I have become less worried about the precise PACE recommendation and more about just varying my workout. As you improve it will take less time to recover your HR and you will also be able to go beyond your 80-85% MAX HR which is what makes PACE work really well in a short amount of time. Did you download Al Sear’s book? I can’t seem to find my book at the moment but if you want to do PACE correctly I highly recommend it. Also at Dr. Mercola discusses PACE frequently and you might find a more precise answer to your question or have the ability to present your question to one of the forums.


    • Unfortunately, there’s not much on the web about research on PACE or places where people working out with PACE can share ideas.

      From my reading of the PACE book, you are looking to hit your maximum heart rate in each of your PACE intervals, not 80-85%. However, the formulae for MHR are only averages. Perhaps your MHR target really is 135-140, or perhaps it should be more than the average that Al Sears uses, which is 208 – 70% of your age, or 167 for a 59 year old.

      I’m a little older, but right now I’m targeting 170+ in my 5 x 2 minute sessions. It usually takes me around a minute to get over 165 and then the HR climbs to over 170 for the rest of the interval. On occasion, I’ve pushed or even gone slightly over 180. I have no way of knowing what your target HR should be, but you should go back and review what your target should be. It’s possible you’re doing what we used to call endurance interval training back in the day, whereas PACE is more like what used to be called speed interval training.


      • Thanks William, I hope Jim has successfully used PACE for sometime but, if not, perhaps your information will help him find his sweet spot.

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