Tempo work: all runs are not created equal!

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I am smack in the middle of peak week training for the Salt Lake City marathon.  Things are going good, really good!  To be very honest (this is the cyber truth circle) I don’t have much of a love for road running anymore.  Once I started mountain races and ultra distances, there was no looking back.  It’s been nearly two years since I ran my last official marathon (on the road).

So why am I back to the road?  Since becoming a running coach last year, I have written dozens of marathon training plans.  I was curious to know how the sound scientific training principles that I am using on other people would work for me.  AAAnnnddd by the end of the ultra season last year, I was craving a little speed, a little faster cadence for a little change up to all the climbing climbing climbing.  My last marathon was a great experience.  It was the first time I had actually stuck to a training plan and it paid off.  I PR’d by 18 minutes.  But I always felt that I had the potential to be a faster runner than what was reflected in my finish time for that race (3:42).  Back then I didn’t fully understand that all runs are not created equal though.  I always kind of thought that you just went out and logged the miles.  In order to get faster, you have to get SPECIFIC with your running workouts.  Each running workout needs to have a purpose.  Each workout should be programmed to create a physiological change in your body that results in increased fitness – whether that be in the form of endurance, speed, strength, etc. and all of that depends on your individual goals.  If you want to become a faster runner, you need to train your body to be able to clear blood lactate and keep it below a manageable level.  Why?  Because when your body becomes more efficient at clearing lactate (aka increasing your lactate threshold), you are able to deal with a slightly more demanding pace for a prolonged period of time.  My last go around with a marathon, I was missing a vital piece to increasing my pace:


Some people call them Threshold Runs.  I don’t care what you call them as long as you are doing them.  Before I dive into the “T” pace runs, let me clarify that these are different than interval running (“I” runs).  “T” runs and “I” runs are done at different paces and for different amounts of time.  T runs (I’m not typing parentheses anymore so deal how you need to) are over a longer duration than I runs, therefore by nature requiring them to be a little slower than I runs.  I will dive more into interval runs in another post, I’m sure you are just salivating at the thought. 🙂  So is pace important in T runs?  YES.  My T pace and your T pace are going to be different because the pace at which my body will begin to clear lactate faster is going to be different than yours albeit possibly very close.  A very common mistake for runners to make is judging a run by it’s overall AP (average pace).  Example:

Monday: I run 6 miles with an 8:15 average pace (AP).  This run was designed to be an “easy effort” run.  I run each mile at a fairly consistent easy pace between 8:05 to 8:20 which averages out to an 8:15 AP.

Tuesday: I run 6 miles with an 8:10 AP.  This run was designed to be a T run.  I run an E pace warm up and cool down with the middle like this: 15 minutes @ 7:20 w/ 2 min rest, 7 min @ 7:20 w/ 1 min rest.

22 minutes of Tuesday’s run were run significantly faster than Monday and the rest of it was run slightly slower in order to recover.  Even though their AP is only the teensy weensiest (I like it, it stays) different, each workout has a completely different physiological response in the body.  I used to not understand this.  But now I do homekids and hot dang it is paying off.  If my training runs are an indicator of my marathon performance in 3 weeks, I will be able to satisfy my speed appetite early this season and move on to my créme de la créme: mountain trail racing, baby!

Don’t be deceived by that sneaky average pace when you are logging the miles.  You might just be getting an apple when you wanted an orange.  Now I’m hungry and hopefully you have a nice little tidbit of training knowledge to stick in your back pocket.  If you are interested to know more about how to customize running workouts that help you to a goal, let’s chat.


Happy Running!


Throwback Post: Getting Authentic and Laser Boobs

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I received an email notifying me that my domain name from an old blog I used to post a few years back was expiring.  I was torn on renewal because I have paid to continue it a few years after posting due to a few posts on there that I really loved and didn’t want to lose.  I’ll be honest, most of the posts were junk but my all time fave post is one that I want to keep close to me forever because of the message it sends.  I decided I am going to let the old blog die but I wanted to repost one here.  There is not a lot about it that pertains to running – but then again, a lot of who we are goes into why we run.  I don’t think I have posted on this blog about my favorite race mantra (that may have to be my next blog post after this).  If you follow me on Instagram you probably have seen me post about it several times.
My race mantra and life theme is: I am fearless.  I will persist without exception.
The following blog post, written exactly two years ago explains the first half of my race mantra.  It applies to my life and my racing:
BLOG POST FROM www.sarcasminspandex.com dated 02/27/2013:
While I was enjoying a running therapy session with Katie yesterday, we got into a very insightful ah-ha moment that I wanted to write about.  Mostly because I have found that if I put it down in writing, I receive better clarity on my own thoughts.  I am wondering if you can relate any of this to yourself…
I am an inauthentic person.  Most of us are.  What I mean by that is that over the years, we have created stories about ourselves because of the things that occur in our lives.  The real eye opener for me over this past weekend was to identify what stories I have told myself over the years, where they came from, and how I then have taken that view and started looking for evidence to support it in almost every aspect of my life.  Separating the stories from the incident itself and realizing that what’s left is just reality, just a fact that happened and that it didn’t define me, opened the door to empowering myself over the things that have riddled my life with misery.
When I was 7 (ish) years old, I was molested repeatedly by a neighbor boy several years older than me.  A few years later, I was molested again by a different neighbor boy who was also several years older than me.  They were completely unrelated incidences.  That was my incident.  The story that I told myself because of that incident was that I have no control over my situation, I have no worth beyond my body, I am not loved, I am not important to other people, and that i’m ordinary.  That is just a story, it is not reality.  Of course people love me, of course I am important to my kids, my husband, my friends, and of course I have control over my own situations.  All these years I have confused the story with the incident.  My payoff was that I was right and someone else was wrong.  I was justified in being a victim.  It was my right to be sad, depressed, angry and frustrated.  Just throw me into the pile with the millions of other people in the world that have gone through what I went through and i’m just another ordinary victim of sexual abuse.  By telling myself these stories and getting the payoff of being justified, the ultimate outcome of this was that I had thrown off the responsibility for my own situation.  Again, I had a right to be depressed.  But that just isn’t working for me, 20 years later i’m still in the same vicious cycle of thought.  There is always a cost with every payoff that I get.  And that cost has been meaningful and emotionally expressive relationships with other people.  I have lost the ability to love and be loved from people I have craved closeness with over the years.  And the costs have been devastating to me.  When I realized that the payoffs were not worth the costs, and that I am ultimately empowered to choose whether I continue getting my payoffs or do what i’m scared to do and be fearless, it was the most liberating feeling I have felt in my life.
Am I getting too serious here?  Do I need to throw this in to make you smile for an intermission?:
Here is my point about being inauthentic: I learned to be an outgoing, sarcastic, life of the party kind of gal when I have felt completely blah and apathetic to my own feelings.  This makes me feel like I can’t be fully expressive because who the hell wants to hang around a depressed person?  I am done with that story.  By being fearless (frick, this will take some trial and error), I believe that I can be completely emotionally honest and expressive and be clever as hell at the same time.  I am going to get what I want out of my life.  And part of what I want is to inspire others that you can get the same thing.  I for sure don’t have everything figured out and am accepting that I probably come off as a hot mess, but secretly I like that because it’s just how I feel inside being manifested on the outside.  Perhaps I can be relatable.
On a random note: I was searching my camera roll on my phone for a certain picture and caught this one that was taken on accident yesterday when we were doing human back squats:
I found it interesting that this was the face I just happened to be making at that moment and starting to recognize a pattern for me:
I am a crusty ho.  Actually, if I were to go along with the theme of this post, the actual reality is that I pull this same face often.  The story that i’m telling myself is that I’m a crusty ho.  See what i’ve learned?  Life changing.
I wanted this blog to be a little more about fitness and my love for it when I started and realized that this is just what came spewing out when I started trying to be more authentic.  I have some realizations about how these inauthenticities have shaped me as an athlete as well.  I will be working on that post shortly.  Perhaps I need to keep the serious thoughts a little more sparse so you don’t want to gauge your eyes out with your drinking straw every time you read my blog.  I promise shorter posts in the future.  And I promise to include all the totally inappropriate and offensive things that I do because something inside me wants to make you laugh that guilty and awkward laugh that leaves you wondering what the hell just happened.  Like shooting lasers out of my boobs and poking my friend in the nipple while wearing lingerie in public.
Part of why I chose to become a running coach was because I have used running as one of my ways to be fearless. I wanted to inspire others to do the same.  While I in no way claim that I am an inspiration, I do hope that I can be an instrument in someone else’s journey to become fearless – both as an athlete and as a person.
Happy Running!