Super Sweaty Cardio Circuit

So it’s Wednesday and I was hoping to have my race recap up but I have had more important things to do this week.  I just haven’t had time to sit down and get all my thoughts out about the race.  A quick recap would go something like this: “OMGGG it was awesome!!” However, I hope to dig a little deeper than that.  When I say I’ve had more important things to do I mean things such as reading


and going out for a long overdue date with my studly husband.


What I am going to share with you today though is something I strongly believe has helped me become a faster runner while improving my overall cardio fitness.  It’s what I like to call the Super Sweaty Cardio Circuit.  This is a little circuit that Colin came up with several years ago.  We used to do this when training for the half Ironman so it has been at least 3 years since we started doing it, and it feels so good to be incorporating it into my workouts again.  I have been doing this once a week for the last few weeks.  For this workout you need a treadmill, rower, and a bike.  I do this workout at the gym and it’s really convenient if all of your machines are close to each other.


I start the workout by doing a one mile warm up.  I use this mile to get my mind and my body ready to work hard for the next hour.  For the warm up I like to feel like I’m working a little bit so I start at a very easy pace and then progressively speed up.  I tend to average around an 8:25 for my warm up (9:00 per mile is typically my very comfortable ‘I could run at this pace forever’ pace) so just adjust your pace accordingly.

Rowing in Mizunos

As soon as your warm up mile is done, head straight to the rower.  I like to put the resistance on the rower at a 7 or 8, and then start rowing!  You are trying to keep your heart rate up during this so don’t take it easy, push hard and you’ll get a break when this first set is finished.  For the rowing portion I like to row for 3:30, this usually get me 650 meters.  I always check how far I row on this first set (when you are fresh) and make sure I meet or beat that distance in the next sets.


From here you head straight over to the bike.  I immediately bump up the watts and then focus on cadence.  I will stay on the bike for 3:30 which will give me .8 or .9 miles (yes, being that close to 1 mile drives me nuts!) I try to keep my cadence at 90 rpm and will adjust the wattage accordingly.  I aim for the highest wattage possible where I can still maintain 90 rpm, then use that same wattage for the next rounds.  This keeps your heart rate up but also get yours legs ready for the next part!

Mizuno Wave Rider 17s

Once you hit the 3:30 mark it’s time to get running!  Run half a mile FAST.  Not necessarily all out, but faster than your 5k pace.  I run these half miles at a 7:00/mile pace (see why I do the others for 3:30??) and my current PR pace is a 7:30.  <– that still blows my mind that there is a 7 as the first number.  This part is not easy but I just focus on my breathing and my form and those 3.5 minutes go by quickly.  Now that you have completed one circuit you can take a short break.  Let your heart rate come back down, take a few sips of water, wipe the sweat off your face and get back to round 2! Even though I do this workout inside in an air-conditioned gym I get sooo sweaty during it.  Please note the extra dark spots on my shirt.

Zoot tshirt

A key to making this workout successful is the continuous nature of the circuit.  My gym only has two rowers so I have to make sure I do this circuit when the gym is pretty empty.  As an alumni I can still go to my college gym, and luckily for me not many college students go to the gym right after lunch time during the summer. Another way that you could do this and make sure you have the equipment you need is to get two friends to go with you!  That way you rotate through the equipment and you know you won’t have any unnecessary breaks!  Depending on how much time I have, I do either 3 or 4 rounds followed with a cool down run. This circuit is very easy to modify to what you can do.  You can make each circuit longer or shorter, do more, do less but whatever you do I can promise you that it will get you sweating!

Do you have any cardio circuit workouts you like?

Favorite cardio machine at the gym?

8 responses to “Super Sweaty Cardio Circuit

    • It’s a good way to do speed work without it really feeling like you’re doing speed work!

  1. I’ve done this before and I concur, it is aweeesome. I wish I didn’t have to share machines at the gym. RAR it would be sooooo on

    • I’m not looking forward to classes starting back and having more people at the gym. I’ll have to find a way to save all my machines!!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I actually have friend who owns the EliptiGo…the one that Meb uses. i like the regular elliptical. I like the row machine too…but my go to is spinning… yes, race recap pretty please =)

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