Archive for the ‘Training’Category

On Track w/Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco

On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Training with Nike at Icahn Stadium (Nike)

Today is my five-year blogiversary! And I’m celebrating the best way I know how: going for a run. On Sunday, October 19 I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as part of a Nike media group. When I cross the finish line and earn my Tiffany & Co. necklace, it will be a reminder of just how far I’ve come since I launched “Run, Karla, Run!” back in 2009. And how far we’ve all come together.

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon from On Track With The Nike Women's Marathon

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)

It’s appropriate that my five-year anniversary is occurring around a race. My very first post was about running the 2009 Bank of Chicago Marathon on the anniversary of my father’s death. I’m from Chicago and the course runs right past my dad’s old office, a place I spent many weekends growing up. Running that race on that day in that city was bittersweet for me. You can read that first post, and its follow-up if you’re curious.

Chicago's Merchandise Mart from On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, where my dad worked. (Phil Hospod)

But opening my blog with a post about the town where I got my start as a writer—on my high school newspaper, where I eventually served as editor-in-chief— was a fitting beginning to my career as a running reporter, which has taken me from Chicago and my home in New York City to places I never would have dreamed of five years ago: to far-flung locales like Israel, Peru and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, to new career frontiers like hosting a web and TV show for New York Road Runners on ABC in New York, to seeing my byline in publications like SHAPE and Canadian Running, RunnersWorld.com and Active.com, and right here on RunKarlaRun.com.

Now, I’m off to my first race in San Francisco. Rather than try to PR on the city’s fierce hills, I’m going to use the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as a litmus test. This time, it’s all about my marathon pace for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon in November. Can I run 13.1 miles at my goal marathon pace? If I can, will it feel easy enough? It’s time to find out.

On Track With The Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Stretching (Nike)

Lessons From The Track

Last month, I hit the track with a Nike+ NYC training group, including some of the ladies who are joining me in San Francisco. We ventured to Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City where we ran a workout led by Nike+ Head Coach Chris Bennett. It consisted of a warm-up, dynamic stretches and drills, strides across the infield, a speed workout on the track, cool down and foam rolling. Read the rest of this entry →

Marathon Training Derailed? Get Right Back on Track

Running past Inca ruins in Peru! From: Marathon Training Derailed? Get Right Back On Track

Running in Cusco, Peru (RunKarlaRun.com)

Time for my monthly marathon training update! When I last wrote about training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco on October 19 and GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon on November 23, my “train” was eerily on track. I wrote:

I feel like pulling a Harold Zidler from Moulin Rouge! and screaming, ‘Everything’s going so well!’ But I know that training can change as quickly as the wind. So instead, I’m simply grateful that I’m motivated and on track. That certainly isn’t always the case.

Um, yerp. Of course, as Yeats wrote: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” Hold it did not. The train fell off the tracks.

A week later, I missed my long run for no good reason whatsoever—life simply got in the way. The following week, I set out on Saturday for my long run of 12 miles, only to eke out 6. I wasn’t feeling well at all—a sore throat and general tiredness soon gave way to a full-blown cold with fever and chills. It was ill-timed. My husband, Phil, and I were on our way to Peru and Panama the next day for a two-week running vacation.

Machu Picchu! From: Marathon Training Derailed? Get Right Back On Track

Machu Picchu! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Sick on Vacation

We left on Sunday morning and got to the base town for Machu Picchu on Monday afternoon. I spent three flights and one train ride to Machu Picchu and the first full day on the ground in Peru incredibly sick. As Phil walked around town, I laid in bed shivering and desperately trying to get warm and healthy. We had tickets to tour Machu Picchu, the impetus for our trip, on Tuesday, the next day. There was no way I was missing that.

Machu Picchu! From: Marathon Training Derailed? Get Right Back On Track

The classic Machu Picchu shot (RunKarlaRun.com)

Thankfully, my fever finally broke on Monday night after almost three full days. We bussed to Machu Picchu early Tuesday morning, toured the ruins, and hiked Montana Machu Picchu, the mountain that gives the site its name. It was a big push for me, and I was incredibly tired, but I really didn’t want to miss it. All told, we were on our feet for 10 hours and hiked 5,560 ft of elevation change, topping out at 10,112 ft. Read the rest of this entry →

Running the Maraton RPP Scotiabank in Lima, Peru

Running the Marathon RPP Scotiabank in Lima, Peru

Maraton RPP Scotiabank start

Saludos de Lima! I’ve been in Peru for six days touring Machu Picchu, Cusco and now Lima. It’s been a magical tour of Inca ruins and Peruvian culture, and I have lots of posts to come. But the final leg of our Peruvian adventure awaits: Maraton RPP Scotiabank in Lima.

When my husband, Phil, and I planned our last-minute whirlwind trip through Peru and Panama, I started searching for races that might be happening while we were there.

Luckily, I found the Marathon RPP Scotiabank in Lima on Sunday, September 21, which bills itself as Peru’s biggest race with 20,000 runners. Interestingly enough, the winners of the race get all-expenses paid trips to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October. Funnily, both Phil and I ran that Toronto marathon in 2013—Race Report: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Kismet? I think so.

Maraton RPP Scotiabank Lima Registration
RunKarlaRun.com

Maraton RPP Scotiabank in Lima

So I turned to Google Translate to figure out the details on the Maraton RPP Scotiabank website. Contrary to the name, Peru’s “red tide” is not a marathon but a half-marathon with a 10K option as well. Perfecto! Both Phil and I are training for the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon in November and the race fit in well with our training plans.

I clicked “Inscripciones” only to discover that the registration process is anything but easy. Runners must first pay 50 Soles (about $17) in person to an escrow account at a Scotiabank. Then, 24 hours later, register online with their bank receipt. So I went into problem solving mode. Read the rest of this entry →

20

Sep 2014

Hiking, Running and Touring Peru and Panama

Touring Peru, Hiking Machu Picchu & Running Lima

Machu Picchu (©Pedro Szekely/Flickr via CC BY-SA 2.0 license)

Buen viaje! I’m off for a 12-day trip touring Peru and Panama! It’s a last-minute adventure—and by last-minute, I mean my husband, Phil, and I decided on the vacation and booked our flights exactly one week ago. We still don’t have all of our hotels sorted. Details, details.

What’s important is that we’re going to straight to Machu Picchu, which has been on my lifetime bucket list as long as I can remember. I’ve written about the Inca Trail Marathon in the past, and while we booked too late to hike the trail (trail passes sell out months in advance), we’ll still get to tour the ruins and hike one of the mountains around the ancient Inca citadel.

After Machu Picchu, we’ll spend a few days in Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the capital of the Inca empire. With Machu Picchu at nearly 8,000 ft. and Cuzco at 11,200 ft., Phil and I keep joking that we’re altitude training for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco leading up to Philly. We’re just hoping we don’t get altitude sickness like so many people I know. (Shout-out to running and blogging friend, Elle at a Fast Paced Life, who just went to Peru, too.)

RunKarlaRun.com

Maraton RPP Scotiabank in Lima

Then we head to Lima for one last Peruvian adventure: running the Maratón RPP Scotiabank. After we’d already settled on Peru and come up with a tentative itinerary, in my usual way, I started Googling to see if there were any races going on when we’d be around. I found three: The Panamericana Running 10K and 5K in Cuzco, The Terry Fox Run 5K/10K in Lima and the Maratón RPP Scotiabank in Lima.

Rather than put ourselves through a race at elevation in Cuzco, we got really excited about the idea of the Maratón RPP Scotiabank, which bills itself as the largest running race in Peru with 20,000 registrants. Contrary to the name, it’s not a full 26.2-miles race, but an event with half-marathon and 10K options. Obviously, Phil and I were in. More on that later…

Since we are flying Copa Air through Panama, and Copa Air allows free stopovers in Panama City, we decided to end the trip in the land that connects North America and South, the Caribbean to the Pacific. We’ll spend two nights in Panama City and two nights on the beach in the Gulf of Panama. Yep, I can’t get Van Halen’s “Panama” out of my head. Especially now that I’m sitting in the Panama City airport surrounded by stands selling Panama hats.

I’ve never been to either Peru or Panama. Excited? Crazy excited! We’re hiking, running, touring and relaxing in two countries that have long been on my radar. Perfecto.

Adiós, amigos!

Philadelphia Marathon & Half Marathon Running Playlist

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Running Playlist

Rocky cheers on runners at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon. (Photo: Philadelphia Marathon)

The 2014 GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, November 23 is a little over 10 weeks away. I’m running as a guest of GORE-TEX, my second tango in City of Brotherly Love. The 2012 race is where I ran my current marathon personal best of 4:28. I’m looking to put a huge dent in that number. So far, all my training and racing points to “Yes!”

To help me get excited and inspired to run the streets of Philadelphia (see what I did there?), I put together a Philadelphia Running Playlist with 20 songs about the Birthplace of America that make for good running company. Use it for any Cradle of Liberty race you might be running: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, Blue Cross Broad Street Run or any other event.

Enjoy and please list in the comments any great Philly running songs I may have missed!

Philadelphia Running Playlist

1)   “Gonna Fly Now” Bill Conti

No Philadelphia running mix would be complete without the theme from Rocky.  

2)   “I-76″ G. Love & Special Sauce

Hands down, this ode to the Philadelphia 76ers and the highways of Philly is my favorite song about the City of Brotherly Love. It will help you find your running groove for sure.

3)   “Summertime” DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

It wouldn’t be a proper Philadelphia playlist without some Will Smith. For more comic effect The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire theme song would work in a pinch. But I’ve always liked the laid back vibe of Smith’s ode to hot summer days in West Philly.

4)   “Streets of Philadelphia” The Fray

Yes, The Boss’s version is the original and I’m sure many will disagree with me, but I prefer The Fray’s rendition. It feels a little more raw and running friendly. Either way, lyrics like “I walked the avenue, ’til my legs felt like stone,” don’t get any better for marathon training.

5)   “Philly Night” Berry Jones

A 2010 retro dance pop number from Philly collective Berry Jones, it’s the perfect song when you need to pick up the pace. Read the rest of this entry →

My Running Mantras For Racing And Training

My Running Mantras

“Just Keep Pushing!” (RunKarlaRun.com)

Recently, someone asked me: What’s your running mantra? I didn’t always have one. But this summer I’ve been using two mantras that have really been working for me. When I’m struggling and need to dig deep, I turn to these two phrase that somehow spur me on.

1) Just keep pushing

Hiking, Running and Eating in Italy's Cinque Terre

Pushing is easy when the run is this beautiful. (RunKarlaRun.com)

This is my go-to racing mantra. My husband thinks it’s too simple. “There’s no magic to it, no poetry to it,” he says. He prefers mantras like, “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” and, “Pain is temporary, glory is forever.” Yes, he actually says those to himself. Perhaps that’s why he is a Boston Qualifier and I am not.

But that’s the funny thing about mantras. What works for one person does not always work for someone else. Anytime he’s tried to encourage me during a run with one of his mantras, I just get annoyed. I don’t know why, but waxing poetic about pain seems to make me angry. And not in a good, “Yeah, I’m going to crush this run!” sort of way. But in a “Shut your face, you’re not helping!” sort of way. Read the rest of this entry →

Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF Course + Training

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. (Nike)

A few weeks ago, I announced that I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco on October 19 as part of a Nike media group. I was waiting for Nike to release the course map before I decide if the race will be the scene of my sub-2 hour half marathon attempt.

Well, the course map is finally here! For the 11th edition of the race, Nike has drawn a completely new route through San Francisco.

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

Course Map

Like years of yore, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon starts in San Francisco’s Union Square.

But instead of heading north to the Marina and Presidio, the first three miles take runners through the city streets, including the iconic Alamo Square neighborhood with its rows of Victorian houses.

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

San Francisco’s Alamo Square neighborhood. (Nike)

Miles 4 through 8 tour the bucolic 1,017-acre Golden Gate Park before another mile through the often-foggy Richmond District. Read the rest of this entry →

Triathlon Gear List For Runners, Beginners and Beyond

Triathlon Gear List For Beginners. At the Wild Dog Triathlon

Coming out of the water at the Wild Dog Triathlon. (Phil Hospod)

As I stare down my sixth triathlon— Triathlon Valleyfield in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec on Sunday, August 24—I realize that I have fully fallen down the multi-sport rabbit hole. In that hole is an assortment of athletic equipment that I’ve accumulated to help me swim, bike and run my heart out. Before every race, I write out a triathlon gear list to be sure to pack for race day.

Triathlon Gear List For Beginners

Biking my second triathlon. (Capstone Photography)

Unlike running, triathlon is incredibly gear intensive. All that “stuff” is the main barrier to entry for runners who are interested in dabbling their toes in the open waters of the sport. Buying everything at once can be intimidating and expensive. I’ve staggered my purchases over the course of three years, reached out to sponsors, and still don’t have all the gear a truly competitive triathlete calls their own, like a tri-specific bike, areobars and the like. But that hasn’t stopped me from getting into the sport and it shouldn’t stop you either.

So here is my triathlon gear list. Some of these items are essential, some merely nice to have. But once you know that the sport of triathlon will be part of your regular racing routine, you’ll want each of these items in your gear bag.

I’ve listed the full price for each item, but in many cases I found them on sale or got them for free, and have indicated where that was the case. Where gender specificity is a factor, I’ve listed the women’s gear. But most items are available in men’s options too.

Triathlon Gear For The Entire Race

Tri Kit

Your tri kit is the outfit that takes you through all three events. Ideally, you can swim, bike and run in it. You don’t have to buy a fancy tri kit. I certainly didn’t. Here’s what I use to race and train. Both of my kits have two things in common: 1) They’re designed and tested by female triathletes for female triathletes, and 2) They’re from American companies that manufacture the majority of their products in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry →

I’m Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014

Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014

Irina Mashkantceva wins the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. (Philadelphia Marathon)

It’s official. I’m running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014 on Sunday, November 23! I’d been debating which marathon, if any, to run this fall and I’ve finally committed to running Philly as a guest of sponsor GORE-TEX.

While I considered—and was invited to—a few other marathons in the U.S. and Canada, I decided on Philly for a few reasons.

Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

Pausing for a photo just before a PR finish at the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)

1) PR Course: I ran my current marathon personal best of 4:28:06 at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012. I failed to best it at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, despite perfect weather and a pancake flat course, thanks to a cold that settled in two weeks before race day and decided to linger.

2) Redemption: I feel like I have unfinished business in Philadelphia. Back in 2012, I’d been zipping along on target for a 4:14 finish when a quad cramp struck after the 20-mile mark and decided to linger. I lost 14 minutes in the last 10K, as I stopped to stretch the cramp a few times, jogging slowly in between. While I was ecstatic about my finish time, a new personal best, I knew I had even more in me. I want to return to Philly and run the time I should have two years ago: 4:15. Read the rest of this entry →

Sprint Triathlon Training: Swim, Bike and Run, Oh My!

Sprint Triathlon Training: Swimming and Biking and Running, Oh My!

Biking in Rhode Island (RunKarlaRun.com)

It’s that time of year: sprint triathlon training. Ever since I got bit by the multi-sport bug in 2011, my summers have been a mélange of cross-training activities. This year is no different: swimming and biking and running, oh my!

I got a later start than usual this year. I’ll blame it on the long, cold winter. But I know myself and know that the best way to get me to train is to sign up for something. So that’s what I did. I now have two triathlons on my calendar: the Newport Naval Station Triathlon in Newport, Rhode Island on Sunday, July 27 and the Triathlon Valleyfield in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec on Sunday, August 24.

Sprint Triathlon Training: Swimming, Biking and Running, Oh My!

Swimming in a friend’s pool (RunKarlaRun.com)

Sprint Triathlon Training

I’m two weeks into training, and I’ve managed to ride my bike three times and swim three times. One of my swims was in open water, which is a must for me before any open water race like the tri in Newport.

Since I’ve just started biking and swimming, my goal for the Newport Naval Station Triathlon is just to survive the 1/3 mile swim, 10.5-mile bike and 3.1-mile run. Read the rest of this entry →

22

Jul 2014

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards Make Workouts Simple

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards Make Workouts Simple

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards

WorkoutLabs compensated me for the time it took me to test their product, write about it, and share it on this blog. Compensation I receive from any company is not compensation for my good opinion. Consider this an advertorial where I have complete editorial control.

I travel a lot. And while I do my best to squeeze in runs wherever I go, sometimes I’m traveling in an area or at a time when I don’t feel safe running alone; can’t stomach the tiny, windowless gym in the hotel basement; or might not have access to a gym at all.

I’m also a fan of calisthenic workouts. I’ll often roll-out my mat in front of the TV to squeeze in 30 minutes of exercises while I watch an old Friends or Seinfeld episode. But my rotation of exercises often gets stale, and I’m constantly losing the pages of exercises I’ve clipped from magazines over the years.

Enter WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards.

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards Make Workouts Simple

Deck contents

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards: The Basics

The concept is simple—a deck of cards, the size and shape of playing cards, depict an exercise or stretch per card. Each deck has 40 exercises that don’t require any equipment, nine stretches and five workouts plus a stretching routine. A blank exercise card and workout card are also included, so you can create your own favorite routine among the included exercises or add an exercise of your own. Read the rest of this entry →

Run Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF For Charity TNT

Run Nike Women's Half Marathon SF for charity with TNT

The Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF. (Photo: Nike)

So you didn’t get into the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF? If you want to be one of the 25,000 runners at the start on October 19, you still can. Charity bibs are available with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TNT), the series’ major beneficiary.

Run Nike Women's Hlaf Marathon SF for charity with TNT

A TNT runner. (Photo courtesy of Team in Training)

Since the first Nike Women’s Marathon in 2004, Team in Training participants have raised more than $147.9 million in Nike Women Series events, helping The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) fund research to advance lifesaving blood cancer treatments.

Through its 25th anniversary last year, TNT had trained more than 600,000 participants and raised more than $1.4 billion for LLS.

If you want to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF with TNT, you’ll be asked to raise funds in exchange for your spot in the race. You’ll also train with TNT coaches for four months, receive access to clinics on nutrition and injury prevention, and race past San Francisco’s iconic sites.

Nike has yet to reveal the 2014 course. Previous editions started at Union Square in San Francisco and finished on the Great Highway at Ocean Beach, travelling along the San Francisco Bay with views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Read the rest of this entry →

Heartbreak Hill Half Is Here! Will I or Won’t I PR?

Heartbreak Hill Half: Will I or Won't I?

My bib. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Greetings from Boston College! I’m in my dorm room (yes, dorm room!) at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon & Festival as part of the official blogging crew (Runner’s World is covering my race entries, dorm room and some meals).

The weekend has been packed with activities. I’ve been to Q&A’s with Paralympian Sarah Reinertsen and Olympian Shalane Flanagan. I watched the Saucony and Runner’s World film Finding Strong, and hit the expo to pick up my race bibs, among other things.

Heartbreak Hill Half: Will I or Won't I?

Sarah Reinertsen talks about life as a parathlete. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Tomorrow I’ll toe the line in the Runner’s World 5K as a shakeout run for the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon on Sunday.

And I’ll be a panelist in “How to Get Your Name in Lights: Building a Social Media Running Brand.” If you’re in the Boston area, come check it out at 3:45 on Saturday. Here’s the entire seminar schedule.

I’ll also be popping by the Eukanuba 2-Mile Dog Run because I’m obsessed with dogs. I really wish my pup, Cinderella, could be here to run it with me.

Heartbreak Hill Half PR Attempt

But the big day comes on Sunday. I’ve made no secret about the fact that I finally—finally!!—want to run a sub-2 hour half marathon.

There’s no good reason that I haven’t yet. My 5K and 10K race times indicate that it’s well within my power. My recent workouts agree, as I wrote about in Chasing the Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon at Heartbreak Hill.

For some reason, though, that 2-hour barrier has plagued me. With a 2:00:30 personal best, I’ve got just 31 seconds to shave. Read the rest of this entry →

06

Jun 2014

Chasing the Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon at Heartbreak Hill

Chasing the sub 2 hour half marathon

1:58 is my goal time! (Photo: morgueFile)

In two weeks from today I’ll be at the start of the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in Newton, Mass. The race will be my third half marathon in 2014, but my first attempt at a sub 2 hour half marathon this year. My current half marathon personal best stands at 2:00:30 from the 2012 Staten Island Half. Breaking “2” is the one running goal that has eluded me time and time again. It has become my Everest.

Chasing the sub 2 hour half marathon

I’ve got “2” on the brain. (Photo: morgueFile)

Last Long Run

On Saturday, I finished my last long run before the big race. I ran 12.15 miles total, with 10 of them in Central Park’s rolling hills at a 9:40 pace overall. My goal half marathon pace is 9:00, which would bring me in at 1:58. A sub 2 hour half marathon pace is 9:10. I’m absolutely within striking distance.

My splits were:

10:13
9:30
9:35
9:35
10:13
9:31
9:40
9:25
9:37
9:20

I don’t like that I had two 10:13 miles as I climbed one of Central Park’s steepest hills twice during miles one and five. But I like that I was at least consistent over said hill. And I love that my last mile was my fastest.

Race Goals

My goals for the race are:

A) Run a sub 2 hour half marathon
B) Run a personal record, which means besting 2:00:30
C) Run as hard as I can, whatever time that means

Chasing the sub 2 hour half marathon

My “A” goal is a sub 2 hour finish! (Photo: morgueFile)

I know I have the speed in me to finally break 2 hours. I’m much faster than when I set my current half-marathon PR. My long runs have been consistently 30 to 40 seconds faster per mile than they were in fall 2012. And I’ve since lowered my 5K and 10 PRs by two minutes and three minutes, respectively.

But I’m just not sure I have the endurance I’d like to have at this point in the season. Going into the Staten Island Half, my longest run was a 16-miler since I was in the middle of marathon training. Going into this race, my longest run was yesterday’s 12.15-miler, with just 10 of them at speed. The other 2.15 miles were an easy warm-up and cool down. Do I have 13.1 fast miles in me? That remains to be seen. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Run Faster? Run With The Fast Crowd

running races, New York Harriers

The New York Harrier men (inlcuding my fist-pumping husband) are ready to cheer on the Harrier women at the 2011 NYRR Team Championships. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I stared down the track in front of me. I’d already run a 1600, two 800s and four 400s at an all-out pace. Now just one more 800 stood between me and the end of the workout. I didn’t know how to run faster. But that was the task before me.

“Group 4, you’re up!” my coach yelled.

“Why do we have to run another 800?” someone moaned.

“Because it mentally prepares you to run hard, even when you’re tired,” he said. “All right, this is all-out. This should hurt. Group 4, go!”

I had a cramp in my left foot, a stitch in my right side, and I still hadn’t caught my breath from the last interval. Everything in me wanted to quit.

But I took one look at the rest of the runners in my group, and I thought, “I can do this.”

How to run faster? Run with the fast crowd

(Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Over the years, team speed workouts have become my favorite part of half-marathon and marathon training. There are so many reasons to train with a friend or a team. Camaraderie, accountability and encouragement are some of them. But my favorite reason to show up to team speed workouts is that I like to run with the fast crowd. It’s inspirational, motivational and encourages me to push myself harder than I ever would on my own. Read the rest of this entry →

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