Running Speed Workouts: Defined!

January 25, 2013

First off, happy Friday!! I’ll start of by sharing a beautiful Florida sunrise with you that I was lucky enough to catch on my run yesterday!


Ok, now back to business. ;) Whenever I have a new coaching client, we talk about previous training schedules and workouts that they have accomplished. Whenever I give the runners their plan, I always explain the different workouts in detail. I figured, since these runners aren’t always sure of what the workouts entail, then some of you may not know either. Here is a short list of some different running speed workouts that will help to get you faster!

Tempo Runs

Tempo Runs (or lactate threshold runs) are the most important (and least fun) workouts for just about any distance. They are going to be anywhere between 15 to 30 seconds faster than your desired race pace, depending on distance. For my tempo runs during marathon training, I will hold a consistent pace of around 7:45/mile. However, if I am training for another distance, – let’s say a 10k, my tempo runs would be significantly faster – closer to a 6:50/mile. As with every workout, paces are completely scalable to your goals. Just because someone may be running a faster tempo than you doesn’t mean that you have to keep up with them. Focus on your goal for your race

Pace Runs

These are probably the easiest ones to explain out of all the workouts. When running a pace run, you do just that – run at the pace you are looking to hold for a race. If you want to run a 3:30 marathon, your pace runs should be at 8 minutes per mile. Want to break 2 hours in the half marathon? Run at a pace of 9:09. Use this pace calculator to find out what your pace should be, based on your projected goal time.


My favorite way to do repeats is on a track, but they can be done anywhere, as long as you know the distance you are running (or have your handy-dandy Garmin). Repeats should be hit at the same time for each one. For example, let’s say you are running 10x400m –> you need to run 400 meters (1 lap around a track) 10 times. After your first 400m, jog a very easy 400m to get your heart rate down, and then start the next 400m. You should never stop during repeats. The lactic acid will start to build up in your legs, and this is not something that will aid in getting you faster. If you do not want quite as much mileage for your workout, just jog 200m in between repeats. This is a little bit harder to keep track of though, since you would be stopping at different parts of the track each time. Check out this ladder workout if you are looking to get to the track!


I tend to do fartlek runs at the beginning of my training plans. They are enough to get your legs used to speeding up a bit, but nothing too crazy. My favorite way to do a fartlek run is by light posts. I will start running fast at one light post, and then when I get to the next one, I slow down. I repeat this for as long as I want the workout to be. When I say I start running fast, I’m not talking about a sprint either. The goal is to be able to have them all at similar speeds, so don’t overdo it in the beginning.

Progression Runs

These are great to simulate racing. You start off holding back a bit (like the start of a race where it is bottle-necked) and then slowly, mile by mile, you speed up. At the end of the run, you should be going significantly faster than when you started. I will usually drop each mile by about 10 seconds so that there is enough of a difference in speed to notice. The first mile should be faster than an easy run, but not too fast. If you have an 8 mile progression run on tap, that is 80 seconds you are going to have to drop from start to finish. Don’t go out too fast (sounds like a race, right?), or you will not complete the run how it is intended to be.

Don’t forget to warm up before each and every speed workout so that you do not hurt your muscles! I always tell my clients to warm up for 1-2 miles before attempting any type of speed. The same goes for your cool down. This is also something that I practice myself. If you are in cold weather, a longer warmup is probably necessary. 

What other workouts do you like to do? Please share them below!

Pump Up The Heat Circuit Workout

January 23, 2013

I think I saw one very common thing going around yesterday on twitter – very very cold weather! Another thing that was pretty consistent across the board was people skipping their run or even trip to the gym to complete an at home workout. Lucky for you, I have a pretty awesome at home circuit  today for Workout Wednesday!

Pump Up The Heat Circuit Workout


Rather than having the standard 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps, this workout is completely based around what you can do. After completing the walk/run on the treadmill, advance to the next workout – in this case, the split leg squat. Do each leg until you literally can do no more, then move to the pushups. For some of us, this may be only 10-15 reps. For others it may be 45-60 reps. Do whatever your body tells you, but work incredibly hard! This is a full body, intense workout, and should take you no more than 35-40 minutes, including the warm up and cool down at the end.

Most of the exercises should be pretty easy to recognize, but I think the knee to elbow could use some explanation, so be sure to check out the video below if you are curious.

If you do not have a treadmill or elliptical at your disposal, warm up by doing 5 or so minutes of jumping jacks to get the blood flowing and your heart pumping. Working out with cold muscles is never advised!

I hope you are all staying warm and can still get your sweat on! Ever done knees to elbow? It is always tough for me once I get going!

The Zooma Florida Half Marathon

January 21, 2013

The Inaugural Zooma Florida Half Marathon is in the books! Unfortunately, I don’t have any fun to report on the expo or activities of the day before the race. We left Tampa with plenty of time to make it to Amelia Island, the location of the race, but we got stuck in some pretty rough traffic. I had to have someone leave my race packet at the front desk for me when we arrived – thank goodness I was able to grab it then!

The race was hosted at the amazing Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island. I have stayed in a couple other Ritz Carlton locations and they have been amazing – this hotel was no different. The rooms were beautiful, the grounds were pristine, and the service unparalleled. I hope to be able to come and visit the hotel again! The nice accommodations are one of the drawing factors of the girls weekend that Zooma wants to attract. I ended up bringing Marcus and a couple of friends along since we had plans for the weekend after the race, but it was have definitely been fun to bring a car full of other ladies with me. Maybe next time!

On race morning, there was a departure time of 7am from the hotel to the start. The course was point to point, meaning the start and finish lines were in different places.

Zooma Map


We were on the bus for about 15 minutes before hopping off. A group of us immediately went over to a nearby building to protect ourselves from the wind – thank goodness it was there – it was cold! The wind was pretty intense and the temps were hovering in the 50’s – cold for this Florida girl!

Zooma(Race ambassadors left to right: Rachel, Michelle, Julie, Caitlin, Me)

In what seemed like just a few minutes, we all made our last porto potty stops and headed to the start line. Since it was the inaugural year, the race was pretty small. It was nice and easy to make our way into the start corral, which is always awesome! There is nothing worse than being stressed out just getting to the start! Yay for Zooma being so organized!


The first couple miles of the course actually had some little rolling hills – it was nothing too crazy, but my legs noticed it. I really just went out comfortable, knowing that if I pushed it in the first half, I would die in the second half. I just ran 10 miles the weekend prior to the half, which was my longest run in a while. I definitely wasn’t in racing shape, but I didn’t want to treat this as an easy run. I wanted to find something in the middle. The first half of the course was in a State Park. It was very shaded and the roads were very quite. I really like those first 6-7 miles. They were very peaceful.


(photo from Caitlin)

Once we got out of the park, we started the head south towards the Ritz Carlton. We got crazy lucky, and the wind was at our backs – thank goodness! We probably had gusts close to 20mph, which could have been a game changer if the wind decided to blow north instead of south. The rest of the course was a straight shot. I will say – if you are looking for a half marathon with a lot of support and spectators, this is not the race for you. There was very, very minimal support on the course from spectators, which really didn’t bug me. I could see this being a little rough though if this was the first time ever running this distance. Just something to keep in mind. Another negative of miles 7-12 is that they were on the shoulder of the road. The street wasn’t closed to vehicular traffic, so we ran on a portion of the road that was sectioned off for us. It wouldn’t have been a bad thing if that part of the road didn’t have a slight slant and it was just for a bit, but for 5 miles – I wasn’t a fan. My hip/ankle started to bug me a bit, and I know it was because of the slant. The views were beautiful though – we were right on the water, running past some of the most amazing homes in north Florida.


Once we got about 1/2 mile from the finish, I noticed something that I was not expecting – sand, and lots of it. The last portion of the course was ran on the sand into the finish line. It was very soft sand and I was definitely having a hard time with it. Since I was so late on Friday, I wasn’t able to make it to the course preview, which did mention this part of the course. Luckily, the sand wasn’t too long, and before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line.


Rather than a medal like most races, I received a little box with a cute necklace inside, made just for Zooma finishers.


Zooma The necklace represented the Sacred Fire – “symbolizing internal fire, passion, and will. Turquoise is the stone of health.” Pretty fun stuff! Once I finished, went quickly upstairs to shower and change clothes, then headed back down for the after party and awards ceremony! I ended up running a 1:42:10, good enough for 15th place and 2nd in my age group.

Zooma Results 2


Zooma Results


One aspect of the race that I love is the very usable age group award. We were given to-go coffee mugs, which was so so exciting! You all know how much I love coffee mugs! And how cute is the shirt we were given for participating as well?! Love love love the chevron print!


(photo from Julie)


ZoomaThere was a fun after party with different vendors, yoga, massages, and a lot of amazing girly activities! The race staff did a good job, and I look forward to even more improvements for next year’s race. To the Zooma team – thanks for having me as a race ambassador. I enjoyed running the race for the first time, and loved meeting all of the other ambassadors as well!



Have you run the first year of a race before? Would you run Zooma next year? What about girl weekend races – yay or nay?


5 Things Friday

January 18, 2013

I’m feeling a little scatter brained today, so I think a mini brain dump is in order! Here are 5 (very great) things Friday!

1. Look at this beauty that came in the mail yesterday….

PLanner collage.jpg

I have a lot going on with my full time job, coaching, personal training, and marathon training, so I really need a way to keep everything organized! My Gmail calendar just isn’t cutting it anymore, so I am going to give this little gem a try. It’s an Erin Condren Lifestyle Planner

Disclaimer: I was not given this planner for free or anything like that. I just want to share my organizational excitement with you all. Judgers need not judge. 

2. I am running a half marathon this weekend!

Zooma Florida Half

Early in the fall, I mentioned that I was given the opportunity to run Zooma Florida as a part of their ambassador program. Given that my last distance race was the first weekend in December, and last week I ran my longest run (10 miles) since then, I have a feeling this half might be a bit of a poky one for me. It is a great one to kick off my marathon training!

3. I have a winner for the Ultimate Training Giveaway!!

Congrats to Gabby! You won a month of free run coaching with me! I’ll be contacting you shortly so we can start working together!

Coaching Winner


Thanks so much to all of you who entered! If you would still like some coaching, don’t hesitate to contact me!

4.  I’m currently reading What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast and I am loving it! I plan to do a review on here once it finish it – which should be soon because it is super short! So many parts of it really relate to health and exercise, so I definitely feel it is worth the share.

Successful breakfast


5.  This – I had to laugh at

Westshore Pizza CrossFit

See the little note on the right side of the pizza box – it is advertising a CrossFit Open House. I don’t know why this cracks me up so much, but I thought it to be a worthy share. Eat pizza, then go to CrossFit? Or go to CrossFit and then eat pizza? Moderation, right!? ;)

Hope you all have an amazing weekend! For those of you with a 3 day weekend, are you doing anything fun? I’ll be working, but I can still live vicariously through you ;)


Shoulder Shredder Swim Workout

January 16, 2013

When making new training plans for my coaching clients, there is always one aspect that I never leave out – cross training! I am such a firm believer that it is absolutely necessary to get in workouts other than running at least once per week. Personally, I cross train twice per week. It is what my body needs and is the best way to keep me strong and injury free. On my non-running days, I make a conscious effort to do effective cross-training – meaning, my heart rate it still high, I breathe heavy, and I get in a good sweat. I don’t just hop on the elliptical and cruise for 30 minutes – I don’t see the benefit to that.

One of my big goals last year was to get in the pool more regularly, and I have to say I definitely achieved that goal – surpassed it even! With cooler weather, swim workouts are not the most appealing, but with our recent 80 degree days here in Tampa, the pool has been a fun place to be! We got in the pool again last night for one heck of a workout! Check it out!

Shoulder Shredder Swim.jpg

Since we have had a bit if a break from the pool due to the holidays, my shoulders we absolutely burning after this workout! I can tell it had been qutie a while since I had a hard swim workout, and this one absolutely kicked my butt! We did each set on the interval listed above. And when I say that we did 4×25 at 40 seconds, that means that every 40 seconds we left for the next repeat – whether it took you 20 seconds to do the interval or 38 seconds, you still had to leave on the 40.

Swimming definitely isn’t my favorite, but I can definitely credit my PR in Chicago to some of the swimming – I didn’t do any speed work, so I really think my amped up swimming helped me to run much faster than if I hadn’t been in the pool!

Do you swim much during the winter? Do you ever do ladder workouts like this, where you go up in distance, and then come back down? Are you a big advocate of cross-training?