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?

10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

Stretching has become a much debated topic in recent times. For years it was touted as the key to restoring flexibility, improving athletic performance, and reducing injuries. Then stretching, particularly passive stretching, fell out of popularity in favor of more dynamic moves that were designed to prepare the body for sport. Passive stretching is reserved for after the workout, and even then its value is controversial.


What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?

Enter Fascial Stretch Therapy (or FST), a type of stretching that targets not only the muscles, but the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, and joints. FST also targets the entire joint and joint capsule, using traction to remove restrictions from movement and to stimulate lubrication. A therapist will gently pull and move the arms, legs, spine, and neck in a smooth motion through varying planes of movement. There is no pain, not even discomfort. Instead, the gentle movement is stimulating and relaxing at the same time.

The problem with many standard stretching programs is, well, they are standard. An athlete will finish her workout, run through her “usual” stretches, maybe paying extra attention to tight hips, sometimes pushing through some pain to get that final stretch. Sadly, this type of stretching is not effective and may even be causing more tightness and inflexibility. When you cause pain with stretching, your muscles respond to protect themselves, tightening up in a rebound type effect.

By contrast, a Fascial Stretch Therapist will evaluate their client, looking for imbalances, as well as the source of those imbalances. Then using breath to help with movement, the therapist will first warm up the joints and muscles with undulating stretching to maximize blood flow. Then using techniques of slow undulating movement, as well as traction (gently pulling to create space in the joint) and modified PNF ( proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), synchronized with the breath, the therapist will stretch the entire body, following a logical anatomical order, to lengthen muscle, increase range of motion, and improve flexibility.

10 Benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy

  1. Increase Range of Motion
  2. Muscular Balance and Symmetry
  3. Improved Performance
  4. Reduced Pain
  5. Reduced Risk of Injury
  6. Improved Posture
  7. Improved Muscle Function
  8. Improved Circulation
  9. Decrease Compression and Impingement in the Joints.
  10. Improved Energy

The effects are cumulative. It took a while to develop the imbalances and stiffness in your body. It will take a while to reap the benefits of FST. But, that being said, you can feel immediate benefits, even after your first session.

Remember, I am not (yet) a certified Fascial Stretch Therapist. I will be studying and preparing for the class that I’m taking in August. My information comes from my experience as a client, as well as from the Stretch to Win website, and the book, Stretch to Win, which is written by Ann Frederick and Christopher Frederick, the developers of Fascial Stretch Therapy.

The above, by the way, is an affiliate link. I will make a few cents if you purchase that book through Amazon. Other than that I have received no compensation for this post. I have experienced FST first hand and I’m a believer in the benefits.

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

Have you heard of fascial stretch therapy? Have I piqued your interest? You can find a list of certified FST therapists on the website.

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?

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?

Meet My Blogfest Buddies!


Blogfest is fast approaching and I’m getting really excited. Because I’m returning for a second year, I was asked to be a Blogfest Buddy! I would be matched up with a first-timer and I would help show her the ropes, so to speak. Now I am doubly excited because I have two Blogfest Buddies!

Introducing My Blogfest Buddies!

Jen from Pretty Little Grub

Jen lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is a Registered Dietician and a Makeup Artist. I think that is such an interesting combination of careers and I can’t wait to actually meet Jen and find out how it came about (and get some makeup tips!). She blogs about all of her interests, nutrition, fitness, running, and beauty. She loves to travel too, so she writes about that as well.

JenJen is a pretty new blogger so she’s coming to Blogfest to make more blogging friends and form real connections. She loves how the blogging community is so open and how everyone helps each other. She also wants to learn more about the business side of blogging, and to develop more succinct blogging goals.

Jen is passionate about health and fitness (she’s going to love all the workouts that are offered at Blogfest and IDEA World!). She recently ran her first marathon! One thing that Jen and I have in common is that we both tend to be a little introverted, so we express ourselves through our writing.

Sessions that I’d recommend for Jen are Legal Advice for Bloggers, with Elizabeth Blaine and SEO Tips and Tricks with Sara Downey Robinson. And I know she’s going to love roaming the IDEA World Expo, trying new classes, meeting the vendors, and generally soaking in the fitness experience.

Michelle from Michelle Denise

My second buddy, Michelle, lives in Beaverton, Oregon, where she is a single mom to both a 20 year old and a six year old! She’s a director at Yahoo, which sounds like a pretty cool job. She previously lost 150 pounds, gained some back, and is now blogging about her challenges, her love of running, and finding her way back again.

MichelleMichelle is really excited about coming to Blogfest and meeting some of the people that she reads every day. She can’t wait to bond with them, share with them, and learn from them.

Michelle loves to run and recently completed her ninth half marathon, the Avengers, at Disney.

Sessions that I’d recommend for Michelle: Busting the Top 5 Nutrition Myths with Melissa Burton (one of my Ragnar teammates!) and the Future of Blogging with Jessica Matthews. And I’ll bet she’ll love the Fitness Icon workout–HighX with Gabrielle Reece.

I have to say that I am excited that both of my Blogfest Buddies are runners. I hope we’ll get a chance to take a run together. Or two.

I’m looking forward to all of the sessions I mentioned above plus How to Create a Career out of your Blog with three of my favorite bloggers, Katy Widrick, Laura Peifer, and Katy McFarland.  And I can’t wait for Mind Blowing Blog Tips with Jenn Hellickson and Jamie King (another Ragnar teammate!). Plus so much more! Great workouts, amazing speakers, and informative sessions that will really help you build your blog and your social media.

Blogfest Register 2015 new

I have a special code that will save you $100 on your registration! Just click here to sign up and use the code BLOG100 at checkout. There are a limited amount of openings, so don’t delay.

So, have you signed up yet? What blogger would you like to meet?