Running Wednesday: My Favorite Tempo Workout

A couple weeks ago I shared my favorite pure speed workout. Intervals are great for increasing VO2 Max, improving form, and working on specific speed related issues, like your finishing kick and leg turnover. Today, we’re talking about lactate threshold runs. They are also called tempo runs.

Tempo Workout

Your lactate threshold is the point at which your body cannot keep up with processing the lactic acid it produces during hard exercise and responds by needing to slow down. This type of workout usually involves slightly longer intervals than the VO2 Max workouts, run at a slightly slower pace, your lactate threshold pace. This is a little slower than your 10k pace, or about 85-90% of your effort level. You’ll find a more detailed description in this post.

Steady Pace Tempo Workout

My favorite workout of this type is a Steady Pace Tempo run. After warming up by running moderately for about a mile, pick it up to your Lactate Threshold pace. Sustain it for two-six miles. Finish with a moderate to slow mile.

Tempo Workout 2

Why I love it: I sounds kind of boring, doesn’t it? No fancy pick ups, run this at one pace that at another. Which is exactly why this is my favorite tempo run. To me it simulates race conditions. You don’t stop (hopefully) in a race, you try to keep a fairly steady pace throughout the distance of the run.

Tempo Run Variations

Depending on the distance for which you are training, you may want to change up the tempo run a little bit. For example, if you are training for a marathon, complete this workout at about your half marathon pace and effort, and sustain it for five to eight miles. Likewise, if you’re training for a half marathon, run at your 15k pace, for three to six miles.

Another variation for marathon or half marathon training is a race pace run. In this type of run, you will run the middle portion of a longer run at your goal race pace. For a marathon, this could be the middle 12-15 miles of a 20 miler. For the half, run six to eight miles at race pace in your 10-12 mile run. This will really help with pacing during your race.

Tempo runs can help you run faster, and help you sustain that speed for a longer period of time. Which is what we want when we’re racing, right?

Femme Fitale Fit Club

Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Coach and Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Coach or Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Do you do tempo runs? Do you have a favorite workout?

What’s Next? Running, Career, Personal Plans

As we approach summer my time opens up a lot. Our busy season will soon be over giving me a lot of time to plan, train, and generally think about what’s next in my life. And because it’s Thursday, I’m joining Amanda and thinking out loud about my plans for my running, career, and personal life.



What’s Next: Running

It’s been three weeks since the marathon I did not run, so I think it’s time to give some thought to what event I’d like to do next.

At this point the only race I have on my schedule is the Honolulu Marathon in December. I’m really excited about going back to Hawaii for the first time in over 12 years. Honolulu was my very first marathon, and now, 19 years later, it will be my 37th.


December is a long way away (though I’m sure it will be here before I know it because time flies), so I want to do at least a few other races in the next six months. I know that having a plan and a goal will help inspire me to get out there and train. Here are a few thoughts about what’s next on my racing agenda.

America’s Finest City Half Marathon– August 16. The AFC Half was one of my first half marathons and I’ve probably done it seven or eight times. It’s been a while though, so it would be fun to go back. It’s a beautiful point to point course that’s mostly downhill. That is, until you get to downtown San Diego and mile 12 is a long uphill stretch to the finish.

Ragnar Trail Vail Lake – October 2-3. Several of my friends did this event last year and had a great time. I loved my Ragnar road relay and the trail version sounds pretty fun.

Malibu Half Marathon – November 15. Alan announces this race every year but I’ve never run it. They recently changed the course to an out and back, which will make it logistically easier. I used to have to try to hurry and pass the runners in the car to get Alan to the finish line ahead of them. Sounds easy until you realize that the race was held on the two lane Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, known for its beauty and its traffic (and lack of detours).

I haven’t signed up for any of these races yet, but they are definitely on my radar. I have hesitated to pull the trigger because lately I have had commitment issues with racing. From the SLO Marathon, to the Palm Springs Half Marathon, and even the Women Running Wild 5k, I’ve had excuses reasons not to run.


 What’s Next: Career

I consider personal training and coaching to be my “real” career. It’s my first love and I intend to keep on helping people get healthier as long as I can. Even my second career, my blog and my writing, is based on my love of health and fitness. I have a few career expanding things planned over the next few months. The summer is our slow time here in the desert, so I’m going to use the time to earn some CEUs, get some motivation, and add a couple new tools to my toolbox.


Bloggy Boot Camp – This is put on by the SITS Girls and I was happy when they announced it would be in Temecula on May 30, just about an hour and a half from home. It’s a one day event and will be covering a multitude of bloggy topics including:

  • Building your Audience by Finding Your Voice
  • Work/Life “Balance”- Working Smarter, Not Harder
  • SEO {AKA: How to Make Google Love You.}
  • Working with Brands, Sponsored Opportunities and the Business of Blogging
  • Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Facebok
  • And More…

So you can see while they call it “boot camp!” I’ll be carpooling with a few local bloggers, which will be fun, plus I’ll get to see Melissa again and FINALLY meet Lisa! Anybody else going?

20140814 IDEA AnaheimCopyright 2014 Len  Spoden Photography.

Blogfest – This will be my second Blogfest and I can’t wait! Check here for the details but I’m mostly excited about meeting so many of the bloggers that I read everyday. Not only that but my registration includes the last two days of…

IDEA World – It’s like my fitness world and my blogging world colliding! Two days of the best blogging information followed by two days at the mother of all fitness conventions.



Zumba! – Also included in my Blogfest registration is a Zumba instructor’s course. I’m taking it because I want to have the knowledge and experience, but I kind of doubt I’ll ever teach it. My hips just don’t move the way they’re supposed to.


Fascial Stretch Therapy Certification – Of all my summer planned learning activities, this may be the one I’m most excited about because I know that FST is something that will change my fitness career for the better. Fascial Stretch Therapy is a different kind of assisted stretching that goes way beyond just stretching muscles. Stay tuned for more about the benefits in Friday’s post but in a nutshell, FST uses breath, multiple planes of motion, and traction to stretch the fascia as well as the muscle. It targets the entire joint and facilitates the body’s reflexes for optimal results. As a consequence it actually enhances performance, improves recovery, and reduces the risk of injury.

The FST course is a week-long hand-on course in Tempe, AZ at the end of August. I’m already starting to study, and one of the best things is that my boss, who is level three certified is “helping” me study by stretching me, talking me through it and explaining things as she goes. So, in addition to learning a new skill, my body, especially my back, is already feeling so much better. Actually, excited is an understatement.


Real Estate License – You may remember last year that Alan and I planned to get our real estate licenses, mostly as kind of a back up plan. That kind of got put aside but now we’ve decided to go for it again. I don’t foresee it becoming a full-time job. I love fitness too much, and now that I’m adding the FST I’ll be pretty busy with all of that. But, we have a friend who’s a broker, so we’d have the opportunity to work a little part time. It’s all good.

What’s Next: Personal

The number one excitement in my personal life right now is my new granddaughter due in early September. We love boys, don’t get me wrong, but after two sons, two stepsons, three grandsons, we’re ready for a little pink in the family. Emma Marie, due September 1.

We’re also planning some fixups around the house. New flooring, a little paint, some general repairs that need to be done. We’ve avoided making changes in the carpet for a while, knowing that as long as we have dogs we’ll have doggie messes. But, the time has come. We’re planning on wood or laminate floors in the front, office, and hall, plus new carpet in the bedrooms.

So, that’s a little bit (well, about 1,200 words worth!) of what’s going on in my life. What’s going on in yours? And do you know the pros/cons of laminate vs. wood floors? Have you ever heard of FST? Come to California after September 4 (FST graduation day) and I’ll be happy to practice on you! And who will I see at Blogfest or Bloggy Boot Camp?

Are You Confident Enough to #GoCommando?


GoCommando 5

Quick confession: I’ve been going commando for running, fitness, and yoga for years. And, since I work as a personal trainer, and wear spandex daily, I #GoCommando in my work clothes too. So there. Of course, I’m a longtime Cottonelle fan, so I’ve had clean confidence for a while.

Cottonelle 5

Of course, Cottonelle is not the only thing that gives me confidence. I work really hard to stay fit and strong. I start most days with a run, sometimes long, sometimes short, occasionally fast(ish), frequently slow. I work my muscles with some type of strength workout several days a week. Some days it’s yoga, others it Pilates. I also love weights, using the TRX, and once in a while an outdoor, body weight only workout.

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Running Wednesday: My Favorite Pure Speed Workout

So, you want to get faster?

The thing is, now matter what your fitness level, your age, your abilities, the process is the same. If you want to get faster you have to, well, run faster. Science may come up with new ways to track your training, coaches may design new killer workouts, you can add strength training, plyometrics, stretching, foam rolling, whatever. The truth is the same.

You must run faster.

My Favorite Pure Speed Workout

Favorite is a funny word. Running faster is hard. When I do speed workouts, I hate them. They make me push to my limits. But, when I’m done, I feel amazing. And when they work (and they do!), I love them.

I have several go-to workouts that I use regularly for my runners (and myself). They may change slightly depending on the goal, but over the next few weeks I’ll share my three favorites. This week is my favorite pure speed workout.

My Favorite Interval (VO2 Max) Workout: These type of workouts are generally short to moderate distance (think 400-1600 meters), frequently run on a track, designed to improve how your body uses oxygen. Interval workouts also improve stamina, threshold, strength, and mental discipline. And yes, they make you faster.

My favorite workout of this type is the Ladder Workout. After warming up for a mile, do these intervals in order, at about 95-100% of your effort level (this can be measured by heart rate or perceived exertion): 200m, 400m, 800m, 1000m, 1600m, 1000m, 800m, 400m, 200m. Take a 30-45 second break between each interval.

Ladder WorkoutWhy I love it: First of all, I like that each interval is different. While I appreciate knocking out 16 400m repeats (and they do have great value), I like the variety of the Ladder Workout. Plus, on the way back down, there is something wonderful about knowing that your next interval is going to be shorter. Any light toward the end of the tunnel.

If you can, switch directions halfway through the workout to avoid the repetitive motion that can potentially cause injury. Following your intervals, take the time to cool down for about a mile. If you incorporate this workout once a week I promise you will get faster.

Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Coach and Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Coach or Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Femme Fitale Fit Club

Do you have a favorite speed workout?

On My Mind: Thinking Out Loud

Here’s some random thoughts that have been on my mind lately. It’s Thursday so I must be linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.

Thinking-Out-Loud2Golf may not be all that bad after all.

I’m not a golfer. Never had any interest, doubt I’d be any good. Well, today we had our season end Employee/Member golf tournament at the country club where I work and I actually played! Well, I putted, which is an option available since, well, most employees don’t have the time or money to golf very often.

I was teamed up with three members and one other employee. It was a “best ball” format, so we’d pick the best of the four shots that they made, then play the next shot from that point. I was along for the ride until we got on the green and it was time to putt.


I wasn’t any good and I didn’t make a single putt (though by about halfway through our nine holes I was at least getting close). But it really was a lot of fun. The member that I rode with was so sweet. She brought me a water and let me use one of her gloves and her putter. She also gave me some putting tips (think pendulum), and was very encouraging.

The other members were also very nice, so it was a fun experience. After the golf there was a luncheon, where they gave the employees money. Yes, we each got an envelope of cash, plus they drew names to give away more money. I think I like working for this company! Plus, the members waited on us and one of them gave away some cute scarves and baby caps that she’d knitted.

Baby cap

For Emma Marie, due in early September

Golf may not be so bad after all.

Margaritas may not be so bad either.

I’ve told you the story of my worst run ever. Well, it’s been over 15 years and I hadn’t had a Margarita since that lovely experience. Until today. After the employee luncheon, a few of us headed out to a local Mexican restaurant, and I bravely ordered the house Margarita. I’m no tequila connoisseur so the $7.50 house version sounded better that the $50 “Emperor.” Well, I survived. Actually it was good. I’ll still probably stick to wine for the most part, but good to know an occasional Maggie won’t kill me.


Wow, it’s a lot quicker to get out of shape than into it.

As you know, I ran very little last week to give my back time to get better (which it did, then it got worse, now it feels better again, but that’s another story). When I took a four mile run this morning, I felt incredibly out of shape. I just couldn’t get into a rhythm, I felt out of breath, and I had to push myself just to get those four miles. Jeez, two weeks ago I was ready to run a marathon!

I know that I’m really not out of shape, and I’ll get it together as the week goes on, but it was really hard this morning. Plus my stupid back was hurting so that didn’t help. Interestingly, it feels better tonight as I write this, even after “golfing” and being on my feet a lot of the day. I wish I could figure it out. Yesterday I stretched, foam rolled, and generally took care of it but it seemed to get worse. Today I ran, golfed, stood around, and did nothing beneficial for my back and it feels better. It’s a little confusing.

Fitspo photos

I’m not going to get into my opinion of fitspo photos right now. It’s getting late and it’s been a long day. But one thing that really bothers me is women that post so-called body love type of photos, that encourage other women to be happy with themselves and their bodies. But do you notice that they always pose in such a way that it looks like they have a thigh gap? Feet slightly apart, hips opened up a little, plenty of space between those thighs. Seriously, don’t tell me that you are disgusted by the idea of aspiring for a thigh gap then post pictures of yourself posed in such a way to emphasize that attribute. If that is your body, fine, but if not practice what what you preach and let’s see your normal, yet beautiful body.

Well, that’s all I got. Be happy that it’s SHIT day! Anything on your mind that you’d like to share?

Random Thoughts and Musings

Today is Thursday! Or SHIT day as my husband has been known to call it (Sure Happy It’s Thursday!). That means it’s time to link up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.


I’m going random for today’s post (unlike last week when I was out to improve the blogosphere’s grammar). So, in no particular order, here some random thoughts and musings on this SHIT day.

Running Again

I took my first run in a week this morning. After backing out of the SLO Marathon because of back pain I decided to take some time off to make sure that I gave myself time to heal. While my back is not perfect yet, it felt fine on the run.  Of course, I only ran three miles, so we’ll see how it goes. I think I need to spend some quality time with my foam roller tonight.

trail run 4

What’s Next

That brings up the question of what is next in my running life. Well, aside from the Honolulu Marathon, not much for right now. I’m going to get together with neighbor and running partner Christina to see if we can find a half marathon. It would be her first, which is always fun, and my millionth (or something like that).

Another S.H.I.T. Story

Another story my husband tells about shit (yeah, he’s full of it..ha!), is that the term SHIT came from back in the 16th and 17th century when large quantities of manure would be shipped because that was the fertilizer of the time. After losing a couple ships because the build up of methane gas would cause explosions, these bundles were marked S.H.I.T. to mean Ship High In Transport. Sadly, Snopes doesn’t agree, but it is a great story, isn’t it?

On Dogs Getting Older

Penny, my Dalmatian turned 14 on Tuesday. While she’s in pretty good shape for her age, she doesn’t really run too much anymore, which makes me sad. She was my number one running partner for years. I rarely went on a run without her, and she still looks sad when I go out the door alone. Anthropomorphism maybe, but you should see the look in her eyes. And she still follows me around the house to make sure that I don’t sneak away for a run.

Penny and Mom


Grandchildren are exhausting! Samuel, at two and a half is active, curious, and smart, all wonderful traits. As I found when the family visited on Sunday, those same traits lead him to explore, dump the dog’s water into other containers, attempt to ride the dogs, and just generally stay in constant motion. Yep, there’s a reason we usually have them when we’re young.  I think we need to keep a few special toys on hand for his visits. Another thing that Alan says, referring to children (and dogs), “one’s fun, two’s business.” That is so true, so wishing my son and daughter-in-law all the best when my granddaughter Emma Marie is born in September.

Samuel 2

Bye Bye Snowbirds!

As May approaches, we are wrapping up our busy season here in the desert. While those of us who work hard all season long appreciate a little break (and less traffic), it also means less income for personal trainers like me, as well as hotter weather (supposed to hit 100 today!). The lower income is always a little scary, especially after spending a large part of last summer unemployed.

The Worst Driver in California

If you’ll recall, I was in a car accident a year ago (when my beloved Running Girl/CRV was totaled). Because I was the third car in a three car collision it was determined that I was partially at fault even though the lady in front of me basically admitted that she was texting while driving. Not to go off on a rant tangent, but that will eternally bother me because I truly feel that if she had not crashed into the car in front of her, thereby stopping shorter than could be expected, I would never have hit her. Anyway, I also get a ticket last year, my first one in about 15 years, for “running a red light,” which was actually rolling through the light just as the right turn arrow changed from yellow to red. Yes, it was still illegal, but it wasn’t like I was flooring it trying to make the green light.

Running Girl

Anyway, a couple months ago I got a letter from the dear California DMV telling me that because of these two things I was considered one of the worst drivers in the state. Seriously, it said that. No options to make me a better driver, just basically calling me names. It kind of cracked me up because I am, the above to the contrary, a very good driver. Now when Alan and I are together in the car, if I remark about something stupid that another driver is doing (and boy, they to a lot stupider things than I ever could do!), he’ll say something like, “watch out! Don’t piss off the worst driver in California!” We laugh, but I’m still annoyed about the whole thing. One ticket in 15 years!

A Little Bit Country

Last weekend was Stagecoach, the third weekend in a row of music festivals here in the desert (the first two being the two weeks of the Coachella Music Festival). I’m not really a county music fan, so I don’t really notice it too much. Alan and I did go one night a few years ago, when someone gave us tickets and we got to see the Eagles and John Fogarty, but that’s my only experience. One thing that we notice each year. One is the “costume” of the festival. For the men it’s jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat. For the girls, especially the young ones, it’s Daisy Mae cut-off shorts, short halter top, cowboy boots and hat. Preferably covering as little as possible, something they probably regretted this year since it got pretty chilly Saturday night.

The other thing I saw were Confederate flags! A pretty rare sight in California, fortunately, but I guess a country music festival brings in all types.

And Finally

There is a couple that Alan and I pass frequently when we’re driving towards home. An older couple, out for a walk, usually in the afternoon. Good for them right? Getter in their exercise, spending time together. No, wait. They never actually walk together. Rather, one of them is always about 50 feet in front of the other. Always. I’ve never seen them walking side by side. Weird, yes, but whatever floats your boat!

So what random thing is on your mind today?