Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WOW Link-up: How Does Speed Work Help You?

Well it's been way to long since I joined the awesome Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club,  Sheila @ The Frugal ExerciserAmanda @ Eat Hard Work HardNatalie @ Clean Eating Teen and Jenn @ Come Back Momma for the fabulous Work Out Wednesday link-up!! But I'm back and ready to join the party.

Please check out these ladies great blogs and others you see on the link-up. It's a great way to share, learn and support!

Today's topic I'm writing about is speed work and how it helps. I  am relatively new to speed work, but can honestly say that in the 4 weeks I've been doing speed work, I've had two PR's in the two races I've run in that time (5k and 10k)

Speed work or sprint training is generally defined as short high-intensity intervals usually run at a pace much faster than that of runs of longer distances.

I've recently availed myself of the Big River Running summer speed work sessions where each week is a different speed work out divided into groups based upon a 5k goal time.

We've done ladders, 400 repeats, 600 repeats and a mile time trial. All of them have felt to be beneficial and honestly really fun! It has been a long time since I ran all-out on a track and just left every single thing I had right there. So other than having fun, what is the real benefit?

A 2005 study out of McMaster University in Canada tested 8 fit cyclists during 6 sprint training sessions to see what the benefit, if any, of sprint training was for these endurance athletes. The following summarize the results:

The cyclists showed a significant increase in muscular markers for storing and processing fuel during exercise.
No change in their VO2 max, the amount of oxygen they used during exercise.
Performance of the cyclists in a ride-to-exhaustion improved dramatically as well, moving from 26 minutes until exhaustion to 51 minutes.1

So the oxygen consumption during exercise didn't change, but efficiency for fuel storage and exhaustion levels did increase, quite significantly. These seems to indicate that the benefit is more from an efficiency in muscle usage rather than cardiovascular endurance, which is what is strengthened during longer training runs.

This increase in efficiency is from an increased level of a protein called MTC1 which is produced during sprint training. This protein helps move lactic acid from less-stressed areas to the legs in order to replenish energy stores during longer training runs.

So there's the science behind it, however there's also a mental aspect that I feel is beneficial. Once you get out there and are running fast and it doesn't kill kind of feels great. No I cannot sustain sprint pace over a large amount of distance, but I have found that I've been pushing myself to go just a little bit faster each time.

I highly encourage you to start incorporating speed workouts into your training. If you're not sure where to start, I would suggest the following possibilities:


1. Burgomaster, K. A.; Hughes, S. C.; Heigenhauser, G. J. F.; Bradwell, S. N.; Gibala, M. J., Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology 2005, 98, 1985-1990.
Do you sprint? Do you do your sprint workouts with groups or individually?
Happy Running!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Five: 5 Reasons Running in Summer Can Be Awesome!

Hi all! So I'm linking up again with Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC (congrats on your big day lady!), Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @ You Signed Up for What?! for their Friday Five link-up. Please check out their awesome blogs as well as others you find on the link-up!

I love this particular link-up because it's free form but encourages you to really think through a particular topic. I decided to do 5 reasons that running in summer can be awesome. If you're like me and live in a place where the summer heat and humidity can be oppressive, to put it mildly, then you're constantly bemoaning the summer running weather. So I thought we should talk about what's good about running in the summer!

1) No More Layers!

Sometimes it is great to get out and run without looking like the Michelin man! This past winter was hard on almost the entire country which meant tights, gloves, hats, scarves, extra socks and the like. It can be pretty miserable to have to put this much effort into dressing for a run...not to mention that almost nothing can make you avoid that "chilled to the bone" feeling you have when you return. Now we are firmly in the shorts n' tanks running weather (or if you're a lot braver than me shorts n' sports bra) and it feel great! So celebrate the fact that your summer running gear weigh ounces rather than pounds!

2) Pools!

Well water of any type will do, but there's nothing better than jumping into a nice pool, lake, ocean, etc. after a nice long run! In the winter all I want to do is get back inside and into a hot shower and under a blanket, but in the summer, dive on in!

3) Post-run Patio Brunch!

If you haven't done this yet, then it is now your weekend must! If you're like me, you typically do your longer runs on the weekend. One of the best ways to celebrate that accomplishment is to change into some flip-flops, find a casual brunch spot with a patio and get yourself a Mimosa (or Bloody Mary if that's more your style)!

4) Sweating It Out!

Now I sweat plenty when I run during the winter, however something about sweating under the sun in the summer with not much between you and the elements feels like I'm really getting back to basics and just running like Pheidippides did back in tehe day!

5) Let There Be Light!

I will admit that when we get to mid-July and August there are times when I will wake early or go to bed late in order to avoid running in the sun; however for the most part it is nice to be able to get your run in during daylight hours. In the winter that's rarely possible for me with my work hours, so I relish the times I'm able to do it.

So there you have it folks, 5 reasons why running in summer isn't so bad at all! Have a great weekend and hit the road!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Brave New Route: My Jost Running Adventure

As you may have seen from my previous post, I am a guest blogger for Jost Running. If you are not familiar with Jost Running, it is a mother-daughter team who hosts virtual races each month with a percentage of the registration fee going to a designated charity. You choose your race distances (5k, 10k, 1/2 or full-marathon), register and complete your race within the designated time period. You receive some really cool medals as a result, all while helping charity and participating in a fun virtual race that inspires you to challenge yourself.

One of the things I like the most about working with Jost is that they focus on just getting out there and moving rather than distance, pace, finish times, etc. They do not even require that you run all the miles, just that you log them in. I think this is great for people who may have mobility issues that prevent them from running distances and therefore feel left out of race experiences and also great for encouraging people to explore a variety of different fitness options.

The Brave New Route theme was well-timed for me as I had an upcoming trip to Door County, Wisconsin where I was already slated to participate in a 10k and was planning on doing a variety of other activities to log some miles as well!

Door County is an active vacationers paradise with endless biking, hiking, kayaking, running, etc. opportunities all throughout the peninsula. My husband and I were lucky enough to have our wedding there just about 7 years ago and we try to get back at least once per year to enjoy the beauty and relaxation it offers.

I have a ton of pics from the weekend that I was hoping to share, but alas Blogger does not seem to be working in conjunction with my photos right now, so you're going to have to make do with the ones from my phone!

Finish line pic of me and Joe after the 10k. As you can see the start/finish line was the beautiful shore line of Lake Michigan. What was crazy is that the route winded it's way inland a bit over the course of the 6 miles and we had a 20ish degree temperature increase along the way! That was not fun, especially as the first three miles were pretty much one long hill. However finishing with that site in the background and the cool lake breeze was awesome! Not to mention I earned myself a nice little PR at 61:43!

Took these while trekking around the peninsula in the Village of Ephraim; the weather was just absolutely perfect!

All in all it was just an amazing weekend and I'm so excited that I earned my Jost Running medal while doing so. It's a wonderful organization and I'm proud to be a part of it!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekly Chase and new Jost Running update!

After a three-week blogging hiatus with my work schedule going crazy, I am ready to get back into the swing of things. I thought a great way to do that would be to once again participate in the Weekly Chase hosted by the awesome Road Runner Girl and Ask Miss Molly! The point is to inspire yourself by putting your goals in print. It's a great way to ensure accountability.

Since I did not participate last week I don't have progress to report on goals so I'm just going to put my new goals out there.

Goal #1- Get all my running in this week. I'm in a bridge training program that is keeping me on-task before my fall half-marathon training program begins in June. This includes speed work, shorter maintenance runs and a long weekend run. For the most part sticking to this isn't difficult for me but I HAVE to get out early for the long weekend runs. Summer in St. Louis is just not conducive to running at any other time than early in the AM. This past Saturday I didn't get out until 11 as I had errands and things to do early and I could only do 4 out of my planned 7 miles because it was almost 90 with 87% humidity and the blazing sun. I get up early so I need to get out there early!

Goal #2- Blog! I have a few blog posts I need to write about my awesome Jost Running "Brave New Route" adventure and a review of my awesome Bio Skin calf sleeves. My goal is to do them both this week.

Goal #3- Strength train! I've been good with my running and cardio in general (I do at least one spin class per week in addition to running) but my strength training has suffered in the past few weeks. Have to hit up the kettle bells!

Goal #4- Track my points. My weight has not gone up (in fact I was down a pound since my last weigh-in) but I haven't been tracking or attending WW meetings for the past month and that needs to change ASAP. I want to lose another 7 lbs. before my July vacation, so I have about 6 weeks to do so, which is doable if I track.

That's about it for now...I'll let you know how it goes next week.

Jost Running and Girls on the Run

I am lucky enough to be a guest blogger for Jost Running for the summer months and yesterday they shared their commercial for their new Girls on the Run virtual race. This is a race that will be supporting the San Diego Chapter of GOTR. I am especially enthusiastic that Jost is teaming up with GOTR as it is something I'm really passionate about. If you've read my blog previously you know that I am on the Board of Directors at an urban charter school here in St. Louis. I am happy to announce that my bid to get a GOTR site at our school was accepted and we are in for the Fall I'm double happy to share this commercial with you as GOTR is an organization that I think can make a huge difference for girls in our communities.

Girls on the Run-Jost Running

Thanks for reading all and stay tuned for more!