Are You Doing These 3 Types of Running Workouts?

Last week, my mom and I had a really good 8 mile run. It was our last long run before the Long Branch Half Marathon (which is this weekend). Since we missed a few days due to traveling back from Paraguay (didn’t run Tuesday or Wednesday), I wanted to make it a workout as well.

My inital plan was to do a 2 mile warm up, 2-3 miles at tempo pace (anywhere from 9:30-9:50), then 3ish miles at normal pace to cool down. Instead, I decided to do a 2 mile warm up, 2×2 miles at tempo pace (9:30-9:45), 2 mile cooldown. We had a 5 minute recovery period in between.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

This workout was tough, but I loved it! I could keep that pace for about 3/4 reps…here are our splits: 9:28, 9:33, 9:41, 10:30 (yikes). I really fell off on that last one. Clearly not ready to run those paces for any sort of long distance race, but that is why I want to keep doing this workout.

For me, my weakness isn’t speed. I love track workouts and even with faster paces I have no problem completing it. My issue is endurance at a certain speed. That’s why I have not been able to improve my half marathon times. I just can’t hold a faster than comfortable pace and I end up slowing down and feeling defeated. I know I need to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” and I know I need to do more tempo runs.

Anyway, I didn’t know if you’d categorize this as a tempo workout or an interval workout…which is what led me to this post. I wanted to talk about different types of running workouts and how they can help you improve. 

3 Running Workouts You Should Be Doing

Tempo Run

I think I’d say my workout was a tempo run. It was sandwiched between easy miles, and was run at (hopeful) half marathon pace. A tempo run, according to RoadKill Racing, is:

 A 20-40 run done at a pace you could sustain for an hour long race.  For slower runners this may be close to your 10k pace for faster runners this would fall between your 15k and half marathon pace. For this type of tempo run, do a few miles at easy pace then 20-40 minutes at tempo pace followed by a few miles at easy pace.

Tempo runs are sometimes also referred to as threshold pace runs. Dr. Jack Daniels, Olympian and renowned running coach, is a big proponent of them as well. If you haven’t read his book, Daniels’ Running Formula, you should! He outlines every type of workout, why it is beneficial, goes into the science behind everything, and gives you training plans. It is REALLY sciency, so if you like data you will like his book. 

Back to tempo runs…Jack Daniels is all about tempo/threshold pace runs. 

By running tempo runs and cruise intervals at your threshold pace, you can raise your lactate threshold. This will enable you to race faster and farther before fatigue sets in.

Here’s more info on the benefits, according to him, as well as a handy pace chart.

McMillan running talks about tempo runs as well, specifically Tempo Intervals. This is what I did in my run.

Tempo Intervals are like fast tempo runs broken into two to four repeats with relatively short recovery jogs. The appropriate race paces for tempo intervals are 0:30:00 and 1:00:00 race pace and they should last between eight and fifteen minutes. In this case, you jog two to five minutes between each repeat then start the next one.

A tempo interval workout that I’ve had particular success with is two (or three) times two miles at 0:40:00 race pace effort with three minute recovery jogs between repeats. Following a thorough warm-up, these provide a great training stimulus to prepare you for an upcoming 5K or 10K race. The effort required, the pace judgement and the mental discomfort all help immensely when race time comes. Do this workout seven to 14 days before your next 10K.

Both Jack Daniels and McMillan Running emphasize this: Don’t run your workouts too fast. It is tempting to sometimes treat workouts as time trials, but it won’t benefit you. Stick to your paces in your workouts and you’ll recover faster which will lead to better times. Daniels says that go by feel instead…if a workout felt tough the first week, but in the third week it feels much easier (and you’re running the same paces, not faster), then that is how you know you are improving.

Interval Workouts

This is your typical speed/track workout. My favorite day of the week is the day I get to do a track workout! I love pushing myself in these workouts, and this winter I was doing a lot of 400 repeat workouts which are my favorite.

According to RoadKill Racing,

Interval pace is somewhere between your 3k and 5k race pace.  Distance of each interval can vary from 200m-2000m but Jack Daniels pegs the ideal duration at 5 minutes, this being optimal for raising your VO2 Max.

Interval workouts are done with rest that lasts between 50% to 100% the duration of the interval.

Coach Marc would regularly prescribe track workouts for me, and in my Philly Half Marathon build up I was doing all sorts of repeats: 400s, 800s, milers, etc. For me, 800′s are the most challenging…2 laps at around 5K pace is tough! I don’t mind mile repeats because I usually do those a bit slower (more like 10K – half marathon pace).

Check out my post on track workout ideas if you want to start doing more interval training.


I haven’t really done much of repitition training, probably because most of the time I’m training for a longer race. Repetition training helps improve your leg turnover, and you’ll be running at faster than 5K pace.

According to Jack Daniels,

R pace is very fast training aimed to improve speed and running economy. The training is performed as short interval training, with typically 200 m, 300 m, or 400 m work outs, with full recovery intervals in between. No more than 5% of the weekly miles should be R pace.

And RoadKill Racing (pretty informative web page!),

Repetitions should play an important role in everyone’s training regardless of race distance. Repetition paced intervals are done at your mile race pace +/- 5 seconds.  200 meter to 400m reps are most common but they can be done up to 800 meters..Repetitions are normally done with full rest either walking or jogging. The purpose of repetition running is to improve running economy and speed.

I can remember one time where I did 200 meter repeats. I do like sprinting (or attempting to), because I feel fast…I really should throw more of this into my training. Usually my “sprints” are just striders at the end of my runs. I am not fast at all…definitely never even attempted to do shorter distances in Track & Field in high school!

I’m really excited to continue training hard after this half marathon on Sunday. My mom’s friend is running it, which is why we are also running it with her. If it were up to me, I probably wouldn’t since I know I’m not fully ready, but it will be a fun run AND it is where we ran our first half marathon!

Running goals after this half marathon are:

  • Work up to 25-30 miles per week as a base
  • Peak around 40-50 miles per week once I start marathon training
  • Fall half marathon PR
  • Fall marathon PR

But as always…we’ll see what happens. I wanted a half marathon PR last fall and that did not work out as planned. But that’s the thing with running – anything can happen, and you just have to dive back into training and keep going after your goals!

What is your favorite type of running workout?

Any tips for how I can “race” a half marathon? I always just end up running halfs/fulls at a comfortable pace because I’m scared of suffering in the later miles…I know I need to work on my mental strength!


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5 Reasons To Use The Treadmill

If you’re like me, you hate the treadmill…or the “dreadmill.” But sometimes, there are reasons to use the treadmill where it can help your running. Just make sure you’ve got a good playlist so you don’t get bored ;)

Reasons To Use The Treadmill
Photo Credit: MilitaryHealth via Compfight cc

Hill sprints. Treadmills are a great way to get in hill sprints if you live in a flat area. Even if you don’t, I doubt you have abundant hills at 10% incline in your area (well, at least I don’t). I love getting on the treadmill to do hill sprints of varying inclines and speeds. This one is my favorite and only takes about 10 minutes!

It’s safer. Recently, I’ve unfortunately read about more and more runners being attacked while running or hit by vehicles. It scares me to think that anything can happen while I’m out for a run. Not only this, but now that it’s fall, it means it will be getting darker out. Stay safe by wearing reflective gear if you must run outside.

Track workouts. I’m not a huge fan of running in the winter. Which is probably why I took such a long break after NYC Marathon :) I just hate the cold. I wish it could be fall all year. So therefore, I do my track workouts on the treadmill. You can also use the treadmill if you have trouble pacing yourself in workouts. Set the pace and run the intervals. It may help you internalize the pace and learn how to run with even pacing.

Running with a partner. I’m lucky in that my mom runs the same pace as I do, but if you have a workout or gym buddy, the treadmills make it convenient to run together. No more worrying about keeping up with the other person or slowing down for the other person.

Simulate a race course. Whether it’s the winter months or you don’t like in an area similar to your course, the treadmill can help you run a course exactly (well, almost) like your race course. For me, I don’t like near any flat land. Anywhere I run will have hills. So running on a treadmill can help me learn what it’s like to run on flat land for an extended period. Vice versa if you have no hills near you or hills like those on the Boston Marathon course.

As much as I don’t like running on a treadmill, it does have it’s advantages when it comes to certain things. I don’t mind doing hill intervals on them, in fact, it’s one of my favorite gym workouts to do after a lifting session. One day when I have a home gym, I know I’ll also have a treadmill for convenience.

What do you think about running on the treadmill? I have a friend who can run for an hour+ no problem. How?!?

Have you ever tried simulating a course?


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10 Things To Do Before & After Your Next Track Workout

Track workouts are awesome…at least in my opinion. I soooo much rather prefer a track workout over a long run.

Whether you’re a beginner runner or not, we could all use these reminders before our next track workout. I’m the worst with warming up and cooling down, but recently I’ve had my cross country runners going through a certain routine, which has made me want to “practice what I preach.”

Track Workout Tips


Eat something. Make sure you have enough fuel in the tank to do the work. Nothing is more frustrating (to me at least) than being pumped for a workout but stopping or slowing down halfway because I feel lightheaded or weak. Make sure to eat a good meal or snack beforehand, depending on what time you’re doing the workout.

Warm-up. If you’re anything like me, you slack on the warm-up before runs. You just get up and go…well I do. And hey, Jenny Simpson told me she does too ;) But the warm-up is so important when it comes to doing any type of speed workout. You want your muscles and joints to be primed for the action. They need to be warm and loose. Coach Marc usually has me doing a 1 mile warm up before any sort of workout.

Do a dynamic warm-up. Okay, so you did your 1 mile warm-up. But you’re not ready to go yet. Now it’s time for dome dynamic movements. I have my cross-country team do a series of moves before a workout or meet, which I wrote about here. This includes A-skips, butt kicks, mummy walks, cariocas and more. When I was personal training, I had clients go through these movements as well. It’s another way to get your joints ready and loosen up the muscles through your range of motion.

Strides. Before a workout or race I like to do a few strides, or pick-ups. Once again, it just helps loosen you up a bit and get you acclimated to that faster speed you’re about to run. Do anywhere from 3-5 for about 50 meters. Marc has me do them after runs too just do get in a little speed at the end of a run.


Cool down. I actually hate the cool down more than the warm up. When I’m done with a hard effort, all I want to do is go home and collapse on the floor or couch. But a cool down is so important for your muscles and heart. It gradually brings your heart rate back down and will prevent your muscles from tightening up or being too sore the next day. I usually do anywhere from a half mile to a mile cool down after workouts. Pace doesn’t matter!

Stretching. Once you’re done with your cool down, it’s time for some stretching and more dynamic stretches. Before getting into static stretches, I have my runners do some mummy walks and skips. It helps get everything flowing and also stretches the muscles. Once you’re done, go through a stretching routine. I switch it up between certain yoga routines or my own routine, but stretches I always do are calf stretches, quad stretches, pigeon pose, and hamstring stretches.

Hydrate. This one is obvious right? You just had a hard effort. Drink some water!!

Protein. Within 30 minutes of any workout, whether it’s running or lifting, you should be eating a recovery meal or drink. If I’m having a shake, I have PlantFusion, which is my all-time favorite protein powder. Getting in protein right away will help with muscle recovery, which means you’ll be ready to go (and stronger) or your next workout.

Pre-hab or rehab. If you have a nagging ache or pain like I do (shins), speed workouts may make it worse. My shins are always sore after track or tempo workouts. Monitor yourself for any sort of pain and do the proper rehab right away. Don’t wait! For example, I had a track workout two days ago and right when I got home I made sure to massage my calves and shins with Biofreeze.

Foam roll. This kind of goes with the pre-hab, but while you’re watching TV after a workout, get on the foam roller or tennis ball. Your muscles will probably be tight, and a foam roller will help work out those knots. You don’t want to be tight for your next track workout! I love sitting on a tennis ball and self-massaging my glutes…even though it hurts SO much.

I just did a track workout on Tuesday and I felt awesome! Coach had me doing 8×400 and I told him I felt on fire!! 

When’s your next track workout? What kind of warm-up do you do beforehand?


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Get Strong At The Track!

Here’s a Thursday track challenge for you. It’s fall…it’s perfect weather…it’s a great time to be outside! Which is why this workout is at the track and includes some strength as well. No equipment needed – just you and the track.

track workout


A full body workout, and if you do it 4 times through you will complete a mile. Let me know if you try this workout!

Do you workout at your local track? What kind of workouts do you like to do there?


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Week 10 of NYC Marathon Training

Another week done. Now we are about to get in the tough portion of Hanson’s Marathon Method…I’m kind of nervous! This week includes 6×1 mile repeats, an 8 mile tempo run, and a 16 mile long run…

Here’s last week’s recap:


Track workout.

4×1200 meters with 400 recovery @ goal 5K pace.

We felt really good for this track workout, as opposed to last week’s where we started to doubt ourselves. Our paces were right on the money, and we felt strong overall. Obviously I was tired by the last 2 reps but it always feels good to finish a tough workout. My dad tagged along and did his own track workout because he wants to run the Fifth Avenue Mile with us in a couple of weeks!

Family track workout




8 mile tempo run with a 1 mile warm up and cool down. Total=10 miles.

Another great run for us. I felt confident going into this that we could keep our goal marathon pace for 8 miles. While we didn’t hit each mile EXACTLY due to hills, etc., the average pace was good and we were mostly in the range, as seen below (though we definitely started too fast).


Had to move my schedule around because I knew I wasn’t doing my long run on Saturday this week (football game). Today we did an easy 5 miles before heading to a Blake Shelton concert! Who are my country fans?


10 mile long run for the week.

When we left, we said let’s just do 8. We were feeling tired and slugging, but once we got out there we felt fine. At mile 8 I said let’s just do 1 more mile, then once we hit 9 we were like, well we might as well make it 10! The weather was great too…though I still get salt stains from sweating too much! Who else gets these?


Early morning 6 miles before heading to the Rutgers football game. Check out this weather??? A little TOO chilly for me but I cant complain.


Was supposed to do 7-8 miles but decided to take the day off. My mom has been feeling really fatigued, and this upcoming week will be a tough one, so we called it a rest day. Hey, we haven’t skipped any days yet in this plan and it’s been 10 weeks! This is the best I have ever done following a plan :)

Do you think taking a rest day before a hard week is ok? One day won’t make or break us right? I was a little paranoid all day about it but it felt good to just relax!


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Week 9 of NYC Marathon Training

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! Mine was spent running 15 miles in 75% humidity…though I did get to go to a BBQ as well :)

Here’s last week’s training recap:


Track workout. 5x1K with 400 meter recovery.

This was rough. I don’t know why 2.5 laps felt so hard but we could not keep on pace (5K goal pace). But we got it done even if we had to slow down the pace a little bit.




Needed to do a 10 mile tempo (1 mile warm up, 8 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown).

Due to time constraints (my mom had to finish work before heading out) we ended up needing to run inside because it got dark, and we did 1 mile warm up, 6 miles at tempo, 1 mile cooldown. This workout reaffirmed the fact that I hate the treadmill.


6 easy recovery miles.

Let me tell you…these miles were slooowww. My shins were hurting so I just took it slow. At least I got new shoes that day too!


Easy run. Again, I took it real easy because my shins have been hurting recently. I needed to do 5 miles but did 4 instead. 2 min run, 2 min walk.


14 mile long run.

Theme of this week’s training is “I needed to do ____ but did _____”

Check out the weather for the run:

It was HUMID. I was drenched after 6 miles. We did a 3 mile out and back from my house so we only needed to run with 1 bottle. I was really struggling by the end. I sweat a lot as it is, so humidity makes it so much worse for me. I had to change my outfit at mile 12! We got to 14 and I called it a day. I was exhausted and drenched. But a “natural ice-bath” felt SO GOOD afterwards:


4 miles recovery. Actually felt good on this run even though I thought I’d feel stiff. Shins are still hurting a bit. We ran 4 minutes, walked 1 minute, but our average pace still ended up being a little faster than it should have been!

Do you sweat a lot? Like A LOT?? I can’t stand it and wish I sweat like a normal person. How do you make sure you keep your sodium and electrolytes up?

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Track Workout & A Tempo Run

This week is week 7 of NYC Marathon training. I actually thought it was week 6 until I looked at my training calendar and couldn’t believe I’m already halfway through week 7!

On Monday, I had a track workout which was pretty tough.

My mom and I needed to do a 1 mile warm up, 8×600 meters with 400 meter jog, and 1 mile cooldown. We needed to run the 600′s in 5K pace. The first 2-3 were okay…it was a little hard but we kept pace. The last half was rough. By the last 2 reps I was a few seconds off pace. It’s ok though, I know we will improve with time.

Yesterday, we had our 5 mile tempo run again (with 1 mile warm up and cool down). It was actually a little easier than last week! I felt great during last week’s run but felt even better this time. The 5 miles flew by and I accidentally went faster than goal marathon pace…oops. Each mile I tried to slow down a bit but I kept running a bit faster. Is that bad?

Afterwards we did 3 sets of bench step-ups and single leg hip raises. We haven’t lifted in a few weeks so I want to get back into it, even if it’s bodyweight stuff after runs.

Training has been going good so far. Tomorrow is our first double digit run! I can’t believe we are almost half way through training, but I’m okay with that…I just want Nov. 3 to get here.


How do you push yourself through tough workouts, especially when you want to quit? Sometimes it’s so hard!


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BodyPump & A Track Workout

Yesterday, I decided to try my first BodyPump class. I actually meant to last week but stuff came up so I couldn’t make it to the class. I was inspired by Cori from Olive to Run because she is always posting Instagram pics of her BodyPump class. I knew it was a total body workout, so I figured I’d try it out with my mom.

Well, let me just say, my muscles are sooooore today! Especially my arms. I took it easy on the deadlift portions because my hamstrings were STILL sore (from Monday…??). But the upper body portion of the class left my arms shaking and feeling like noodles.

The class is 60 minutes and is broken up into each major muscle group. We started with squats, then moved into chest, back, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders and abs. I rarely do chest exercises anymore so that set killed me. Once we got to triceps, I couldn’t even do dips!

Overall, I really enjoyed this class! It’s high reps, so it focuses more on muscle endurance, which is a great thing for long distance runners! I plan on taking this once a week if possible, but also supplementing with my own strength training, which is usually more weight but less reps. It was definitely fun trying something new!

Track Workout

I have to work this afternoon/evening at the Rutgers Color Run, doing some picture taking and live-tweeting. I’m excited to see how this run turns out, it’s the first of it’s kind at RU but the students are really excited for it, so it should be a great day.

Anyway, since I have to work, I had to do my track workout in the morning. You all know I am not a morning person…but today’s run actually wasn’t bad at all. I woke up, got dressed, ate a banana and drove to the track.

My coach had 10×400 meters on the to-do list for today. He wanted me to run them at 9:00 pace, which is 2:15 per lap. I was aiming for this but also like going by effort when I’m running, so if I go faster (but it feels fine) I’m ok with it. Well, I ended up running them in about 2:08! Which means I was running them in sub 9:00 pace. My half marathon goal pace is 9:10-9:30…so I’m hoping all of these great workouts I’m having are a good sign!

It was 60 degrees out with not a cloud in the sky…beautiful. Here’s a picture I posted on my Instagram:

Not gonna lie…it feels good to be done with my run for the day. But that still probably won’t turn me into a morning runner ;)

Have you tried a new workout or class recently like I did? Tell me in the comments! TGIF!


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What’s My “Best Run?”

I recently found a new blogger to follow, Miss Zippy, and she just posted about one of her best runs…and asked others to share theirs.

The past few days, my runs haven been “eh.” Just feeling heavy and slow. But I had a “best run” on Friday when I did an awesome track workout!

Friday’s track workout consisted of a 1 mile warm up, 8×400 meters, and a 1 mile cooldown. My running coach told me to run them at 9:30 pace. I wanted to run them at 9:20 pace. Guess what I did? 9 minutes per mile pace!

I felt great, though after the first few I was afraid I was going too fast and would burn out. Totally didn’t! I only had 35 seconds to job in between laps. I felt amazing and while it was moderately challenging, it was nothing that made me feel like “OMG this is SO hard.”

My half marathon goal pace (for a race in May) is 9-9:15 minute per mile. I really don’t know if that is feasible, but I’m willing to put in the work to try to get there! Here are my splits

Lap 1: 2:09

Lap 2: 2:13

Lap 3: 2:13

Lap 4: 2:15

Lap 5: 2:15

Lap 6: 2:14

Lap 7: 2:13

Lap 8: 1:49 <–I always like to push myself on the last rep.

This track workout left me feeling confident and like I have actually gained a little bit of speed! Now I just need to be able to maintain that for longer distances. I know this means more tempo runs (which I really do not like). But you gotta do what you gotta do I guess!

What has been a recent “best run” for you?? Share yours and link it up at Miss Zippy’s blog!

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