Upping the Pace

After last week's speed interval workout, I'm being honest with myself and sometimes the truth just hurts. My confession? My speed workouts have been not so good (or near nonexistent). Speed work never really returned to my exercise routine after being pregnant. Cutting intensity while preggo running was very important for me, but now I have no excuse!

Speed work and I have a love/hate relationship. I played tennis in college and sprinting was my absolute favorite (and I thought you had to be crazy to run a 5k). Then, after I discovered the amazing world of long distance running, speed work turned from a love to more of a nemesis. There are many very fast marathoners, but I feel like speed work has taken a back seat for me personally. Here are a few ways I'm trying to speed up my pace:

How To Speed Up

  1. Up Your Cadence
    The "ideal cadence" is said to be 90 steps per minute. While doing an easy run on the treadmill today, I was counting my steps to make sure I was hitting at least the 30 steps per 20 seconds mark. No matter if you are running 5-minute-mile pace or 12-minute-mile, cadence is key.
  2. Try the Treadmill
    The treadmill, a.k.a. my accountability partner, has been a huge help with hitting specific paces because it keeps me honest! Because everyone has only 24 hours in the day, it is important to make your workouts count. Stay focused! My goal is to fit in at least 3 key runs per week: speed work, hill training, and long run. If I can fit in an easy run or two, they better be easy! Checkout the McMillan Running Calculator to find your training paces.
  3. Weekly Plyometrics
    I'm including plyometrics, or explosive exercises, in my strength training once a week. The CrossFit-like workouts I've been doing at home include a variety of explosive moves like double unders and burpees.
  4. Strength Training
    Not every runner does strength training, but I need to. Strength training helps me to prevent injuries and keeps me from burning out on running. I like the variety and my inner sport physiology geek likes to study different exercises :) You can find some of my workout circuits here.
  5. Hill Training
    Hills are awesome because they give you a high intensity workout but are less stressful for your joints than flat speed training. I live in a land that is as flat as a pancake, so, once again, the treadmill is my best friend for hill training. P.S. If you're training for Boston Marathon, it may be wise to focus on downhill training, too. Long downhills actually did more damage to my quads than the uphills did!

The Easy Run: one of the hardest runs for me to do. It takes a lot of self control to run at my "easy" training pace of 8:15 - 9:18 per mile! Running "easy runs" too fast does more harm than good and is really just junk mileage. My thought on easy runs is either run the correct pace or don't run at all that day.

The Past Week in Pictures

We enjoyed another blizzard-filled road trip this weekend. What a winter it has been! Blizzards make my stomach sick so I do my best not to watch the road (Leo was driving!). Just pray a whole lot and take pictures now and then :)

We visited the nearby mall in between seminars and found that E does NOT want to be a cowboy when he grows up!

And my favorite devotional ever; God knew I needed to read this. When people ask me what I do, I will most definitely say I am a mother first and not apologize for it!

What workout challenges you the most?
What has God been teaching you this week?


  1. I agree you should never be ashamed to be a stay at home mom- they are the best!!
    I have a treadmill, but my husband has to fix it as the dog chewed the cord. Until then I am doing the Walk Away the Pounds DVD's. It is good for me since I am just starting out. I am very long term training for the Disney races in 2015.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, April! I'm glad your husband is going to fix the treadmill for you :) We don't have a dog, but E is obsessed with the treadmill. If I want to run on it and he's not napping, he needs to hang out in the excersaucer... He just can't resist that cord!

      Best of luck with your Disney races! Running one of the Disney marathons is on my bucket list one day :)


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