I'm fairly limited in terms of the exercises I can do for cardio when I go to the gym, so in an effort to keep my workouts "fresh," I do a sequence of coin-flips:
1) Workout, yes (heads) or no (tails)? This only really is in question if I'm hurting (ankle or otherwise) or I've done a hard workout the day before
2) Hard (heads) or easy (tails)? If I've done a hard workout the day before AND I flip heads for #1, then it's guaranteed to be an easy day, no coin flip really needed
3) If "hard" in #2, heads is for speed intervals, tails is for hill intervals (done on a Cybex Eagle elliptical trainer)
4) If "easy" in #2, heads is for elliptical, tails is for the exercise bicycle (which may be combined with arm bike and/or rowing machine)
By flipping a coin, I can take out my personal biases, which would always be to do some form of elliptical, since I used to love running so much.
Sometimes, the coin-flip technique doesn't work. Today was one of those days. I got to the gym and though the coin-flips had come out for "easy" and "exercise bike," there were no bikes free when I got there. Plus, I was running late. In the spirit of just getting moving, I hopped onto one of the free elliptical trainers and just did a flat course, trying to keep HR low. I did better with that today than I did yesterday:
duration: 15 minutes (cardio, I lifted for an hour afterwards)
average HR: 150
max HR: 156
I'm glad I went to the gym, though right now I feel like my body is getting mad at me. My ankle has started twinging more often (which it had pretty much stopped doing as of the middle of last week), and, in addition to being in a cast for my thumb, I'm also dealing with a flare-up of labyrinthitis. Since my workout tomorrow will be in the morning, I've already flipped the coin...it came out "easy bike." But, if I wake up and my ankle is flaring, I'm going to skip. A day off probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, anyway.