• Let’s Play PR

    April 28, 2012

    Hi Carrots n Cake readers! I’m Gia from RUNgiaRUN where I blog about life as a marathon runner, twin mom and running coach in New York City.

    GIA1 (436x506)

    I’m honored to be able to guest post for Tina!

    My journey as a runner is similar to many. I was never a runner or an athlete growing up. I began running as a means to a healthier lifestyle and spent my first few years figuring it all out. I didn’t race, and I certainly had no idea how fast I was running. It really didn’t matter … but as I fell more in love with the sport I began I thinking about things like races, paces and eventually PR’s. Running has become my place to challenge myself and enjoy the sweetness of hard earned success!


    Throughout the past 10 years as a runner I have experienced first hand that the sure fire way to grow as a runner and PR is to practice running faster. Sounds obvious right? It is … the more your practice adding speed and quickness into your running routine, the more conditioned your muscles and fast twitch muscle fibers will become. Making you a stronger, faster more efficient runner.

    The problem is that incorporating speed training can be confusing. I mean 4x800m @ 10KP w/ 400m CD sounds more like an algebra equation than something I want to spend my Wednesday morning doing.

    So let’s get real here… How can we incorporate speed training without needing a dictionary?

    By Speed Playing! Here are a few games you can incorporate into your running routine.

    The Pick and Dash – in the middle of a regular run set your sights on a distant tree, mailbox or light post. Pick up your pace and make a dash for it. Cool down when you reach your chosen destination. Repeat along the course of your run.

    Leapfrog It – Do this one with a friend. The first runner choses a destination ahead and dashes to it, when they reach their destination, runner 2 dashes for runner 1. Cool down together. And repeat.

    Bursts – in the middle of a regular run increase your pace for 1 minute. Cool down until your breathing is back to normal and repeat. You can increase the speed you are running each burst or you can stick to one speed. Your call.

    Rock it out – This is a great one for the treadmill. Find your favorite jam. You know, the one that makes you just a little extra pumped up … pick up the pace during each round of the chorus. Repeat that song, because you love it so much that OF COURSE you want to hear it again!

    Rules of the Game:

    ⁃ Start with one day per week.

    ⁃ Go for 3-5 repetitions of the speed play of your choice.

    ⁃ Make sure that you warm up/cool down. Think 10 minutes at the start and end of your run.

    ⁃ Stretch it out. Take time to stretch your newly fast twitching muscle fibers when you have finished your workout

    ⁃ Reign it in. You should never be running at 100% of your capacity. Yes you should push yourself but don’t hurt yourself by running at an uncomfortable speed.

    Most importantly, HAVE FUN. This is speed play not speed work. Running fast may not feel natural at first, but the more you play around with it the more comfortable you will become …

    Smile while you push your pace (or at least smile when its over) Enjoy the little change ups in your routine. And never forget … Don’t underestimate yourself. You never know where your running journey will take you!

    QUOTE 1 (346x528)

    If you would like to read more about me and my training and coaching tips, come and visit RUNgiaRUN.

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    { 22 comments… read them below or add one }

    Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 28, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I love these games!!! Speed training is so much better when you make it a game and there aren’t set rules, thanks for the ideas!


    Cait's Plate April 28, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Such a cute idea, I love it! :)


    Hillary April 28, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I do the “rock it out” on the treadmill—it’s pretty much the only surefire way I can get myself to sprint that fast!


    Kim April 28, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I loved this post. I have incorporated speed work into my training much more over the past year, and you’re right, it can get confusing. You simplified it beautifully and gave me some great ideas.


    Gia @ rungiarun May 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    @Kim: Thanks Kim! Have you tried any of them? What did you think?


    L April 28, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Great ideas! I’m a new runner and am always confused by those track type speed work outs. Thanks!


    Alex @ Healthy Life Happy Wife April 28, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Great tips! I love speed work but I always found it hard when running outside! Totally trying these tricks :)


    Dhitri April 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Thank you for these fantastic ideas, Gia! I’ve actually incorporated some of these tips into my running already, just as away to mix things up (I don’t run with music, so a way to break the monotony of a mid distance easy run is to pace it up a bit at times). But I’ve been told that if I don’t do it too randomly, I will just be expending my energy for very little or no gain. And was also told to just stick to easy running on my easy run days (so no pacing whatsoever) to keep injury at bay. But sometimes I do feel like I wanna push myself a bit more, IYKWIM. And I’d much rather do speedwork this way than on the tracks! So would love to know your thoughts. Sorry for the novel!


    Melissa @ squats and squash April 28, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Love this!!! I definitely am trying to step up my running game!


    Lenna@lennalivinglight.blogspot.com April 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I’m liking this post a lot. Short sweet and to the point with some great practical info. Thank you Gia! Next stop..6 minute miles baby! ….wait..that’s upside down..i meant 9. :-) baby steps.


    Gia @ rungiarun May 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    @Lenna@lennalivinglight.blogspot.com: 9 miles is no baby step! Thats a big deal. How did it go?


    Michelle April 28, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Thanks for the great ideas! I try to get to the track to do intervals once a week, but this sounds way more fun!!


    mary @ minutespermile April 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Awesome ideas- thank you! I do get bored with track workouts sometimes. This will definitely help keep the speedwork fresh.


    Brianna April 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    This is soooooo perfect for me. I am now trying tempo runs and HIIT but those look like we more fun!


    Lena @Fit on the Rocks April 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Great guest post! I’ve been shifting toward the unconventional speed session arena, and did some speed play yesterday. So much more interesting!


    Kristen @ notsodomesticated April 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Great ideas!! Thanks for sharing! :) I like the Leapfrog It idea!


    Grace @ Grace Dishes April 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Great tips for newbie runners! I’m looking to sign up for my first real race this year. I aim to run 20+ miles a week broken down into parts and stay active every day. I just want to channel that energy into something concrete like a race!


    Annette@FitnessPerks April 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Fun ideas! Great advice too–so cool that you’re a mom to twins. I want twins one day too!! :)


    Catalina @ Cake with Love April 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Great tips, loved this post!


    Hanna April 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Love reading all these guest interviews!!! So inspiring. I am a begginning runner and find these really helpful!!! Would you consider being interviewed on my blog? I would love to have you!!!!
    Xoxxoxz Hanna


    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama April 30, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Thanks, Gia! I think the most important thing to remember is to have fun. When it stops being fun and enjoyable you aren’t happy. Why be unhappy? Do what you love!


    Gia @ rungiarun May 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    @Angela @ Happy Fit Mama: YES! I totally agree with you :)


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