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Posts from the ‘workouts’ Category

A Pyramid Workout

I’ve mentioned previously that I will be working with a running coach starting tomorrow. Hopefully with his expert knowledge and my decision to work really hard for the next few months, I can achieve my running goals. Here’s to three months of discipline! He sent me my workouts for the next three weeks and I’ve probably looked at them no less than 20 times. Maybe I’m trying to mentally prep myself for all this running or psych myself up for our Tuesday speed workouts. I’m not sure but I’m just going to take it one workout at a time. Read more

Improving on the Hills – Ben Greenfield’s Advice

First and foremost, HAPPY FRIDAY! Today is my last Friday before the students come back to school.  By 4:00 pm today, I finally felt like I was ready for 96 smiling faces Monday morning. And as with most Fridays, I spent the afternoon thinking about my run for the weekend.  I have 15 miles scheduled and to be quite honset, I’m not sure if I’m going to do it.  My peroneal tendon has been bothering me, and I don’t know if it’s worth risking an injury.  But in my perfect world where I do run tomorrow, I have to make the decision where to go – a nice flat trail to get in the distance & maybe some tempo miles or the hills of downtown Raleigh, which are also the hills of my race in November. Decisions, decisions.

I think a lot about the hills in the City of Oaks Marathon.  Mainly because I remember how painful they were when I did the race a few years ago.  In addition to visualizing me attacking the hills and hill repeats, I’m still constantly searching for other suggestions. This afternoon I was reading the transcript from one of Ben Greenfield’s podcasts and as luck would have, he shares three of his recommendations for dealing with the hills.  Behold, new advice…. I can’t wait to try suggestions #3.

His first recommendation is plyometrics – single leg jumps, stepping off a platform & then explosively jumping up again, and counter jumps where you are dipping down and jumping up again.  Lucky for me, I LOVE jumps like this and do them quite a bit.  I’ll just need to incorporate more platforms starting next week.  His second recommendation is strength training and in particular single leg squats, lunges, reverse lunges, deadlifts, and squats.  Recently, I’ve been aiming to do single leg squats twice a week at the gym.  I also do almost twice as many on my right leg since it’s actually 3/4″ smaller than my left.  Definitely a muscle imbalance going on there. Ben Greenfield’s last recommendation is Lydiard hill drills.  Here is a description of the work out.  Basically, instead of continually sprinting up the hill and jogging back down, you bound up the hill, not focusing on speed but instead on relaxation and springing off the ball of your foot. Then you jog back down and down and do a hard effort sprint 4-5 times (50-200 meters). There is a great hill that is also part of the marathon course where I love to do my hill repeats.  If I am going to do my bounding/sprinting, I think I’ll make sure it’s early in the morning. It is a pretty busy street here in Raleigh.

On a side note, my meditation is going quite well. I found a great podcast this morning to lead me through my meditations.  It definitely helps to have someone talk me through the process instead of me trying to do it on my own. It is making me much more aware and now I have to ride to work in silence. The radio really bothers me and I prefer to be in my own thoughts. It’s crazy what can happen in only 5 short days.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and runs lots of happy miles.

Sending many happy running thoughts your way,


Luckily, these are NOT the hills I have to run 🙂
Photo Source: Alex Bibins, Wikimedia Commons

Yasso 800s

This morning I met my lovely friends Emily and Courtney out at the track bright and early.  My goal was to warm up for a mile and then to focus on 800 meter repeats.  I only planned to do four repeats and then run a few more miles afterwards.  While I was running I started thinking about Yasso 800s.  Yes, I know that Yasso 800s are 800 meter repeats, but how many should I do?  And do they really work?

If you don’t know what Yasso 800s are, you can read about them here.  Some say they can be a good predictor of your actual marathon time.  Want to run a 3:00 marathon? Run a bunch of 800 meter repeats in 3 minutes.  I’ve never used them as a training tool so I really have no idea if they work or not.  However, in perusing through the internet, I found some who were a big fan of this workout, and others who thought they were a great speed workout, but maybe not the best for a marathon.

One of the bloggers that I follow, Predawn Runner, suggests that 1600 meter repeats are a little better suited for the marathon.  HillRunner also agrees that longer repeats of 1200 – 1600 meters are more beneficial when training for longer distances.  However, Amby Burfoot from spoke with about 100 runners and he found that this workout was in fact a good predictor of finish times.

The Flying Pig Marathon has this to say on their website:

This is a workout developed by a Runner’s World employee, Bart Yasso. It accurately allows you to predict the time that you are capable of running a marathon. If you want to run a 3:30 marathon, train to run a session of 800s in 3:30 each. Between the 800s, jog for the same number of minutes it took you to run your repeats. This method holds for all speeds whether you are 2:30 or a 5:30 marathoner. The 800 paces that you are able to complete is a good predictor of your marathon time. 2 minute 30 second 800s equal a 2:30 marathon; 5:30 800s equal 5 hours and 30 minutes for the marathon.

I’m not sure how exactly I feel about the workout (or the work accurately in the definition above).  I do know that 26.2 miles is a LONG distance to be running and 10×800 isn’t quite the same.  It is my personal opinion that longer intervals, such as mile or two mile repeats, teaches you how to pace yourself and how to handle discomfort for a longer period of time.  But on the flip side, I think doing 800 meter repeats can also be a very beneficial speed workout.  I’m not just sure how much confidence I have in it being a good predictor of my finish time.


I wonder how fast Usain Bolt can run a few Yasso 800s…
Photo from Jmex60, Wikimedia Commons


Happy Trails and Happy Running,



Last week when I was reading how to best prepare for my upcoming hilly marathon, a couple of articles mentioned the importance of strong  hamstrings.  Over the past month I have been doing more to build strength in my hamstrings but I wanted to learn a little more about their role in running.  Here is what I learned… Read more

Hill Running

Hill running.  You either hate it or you love it.  I doubt there are many people who, when turning a corner and see a long steep incline, see it the same way as they do a nice, long, flat road.  Perhaps if they’ve always lived in a hilly part of the world and don’t realize flat roads exist, maybe….  But for many of us, this is just not the case.  Read more