Organic Runner Mom

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Find Your Happy Pace. A Rundown of Different Running Workouts.

Why is it important to diversify your running workouts?

Want to Discover Different Types of Running Workouts to improve your Speed and Endurance? Click through to find out more! | Organic Runner Mom

Discover Different Types of Running Workouts. Improve Speed and Endurance.

People often ask me what helped me to get fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon? How did I get to my “Happy Pace?” While there are several factors that helped me,  I would definitely say that one of the most important was adding speedwork into my training. Before I started working with my coach Denise Goode  my running consisted of short runs and long runs mostly at a similar pace. I always felt like I could run forever but when I went to races I never got any faster. Once I started diversifying my pace and workout type during training I began to shave significant amounts of time off my race times at different distances. I began to set P.R.’s and eventually I was able to run my fastest marathon to date a 3:33 and to qualify for the Boston Marathon!

So if you are looking to improve your running performance for the coming season, variety in type of running workout is the key.

Different types of training runs to get you to your “Happy Pace”

Base Run

The base run is meant to be run at your natural pace and the distance should be short to medium. Base runs are essential for building your aerobic capacity. A base run will do exactly what it says, “develop a strong base” or endurance.

Tempo Run

A tempo run will help your body learn how to maintain high levels of speed for longer periods of time. When you do a temp run you are training  at your lactate threshold.  At this rate of speed your body is working hard to remove the lactic acid from your body.  Tempo runs simulate running at race pace although for a shorter distance than the actual race. When you do a tempo run this is the time that you will learn how to “leave your comfort zone.” An example of a tempo run would be a 15-20 minute warm-up (including dynamic stretching), 4 miles at your 10K pace and then a 15-20 minute cool down.

*This is my favorite type of training run!

Long Run 

Oh, the long run. The longer the race the longer the long run so it is highly suggested that you find a good running buddy or group to join you on the run, some music to keep you motivated, or use the long run for some extended meditation and quiet thinking time.  Think of the long run as an extra long base run. Training on the long run will ensure that your body has the endurance to sustain on race day all the way to the finish line.

Hill Repeats

A necessary evil. Hill repeats will build muscle. This is a way to strength train while you are running.  Your speed will also improve after doing hill training. You need to have a strong base before you begin hill training.  A warm-up is always necessary before you do hill repeats to get your muscles nice and warm.  Pick your most dreaded favorite hill and set your watch for work time and rest time.  Hill repeats are done at a fast pace on the uphill, think 5K (youe lungs will be burning and your heart will be racing!).  Decide on the number of repetitions. You will repeat running uphill and slowly jogging or walking downhill for recovery.  An example would be 45 seconds uphill with 2 minutes downhill for recovery and then repeat. You will be extremely fatigued following this workout and may want to plan a recovery run or day to rest or cross train for the following day. Being that this is a tough workout physically it is always great to bring a running friend along for the torture fun!

*When I was training for the Boston Marathon I also completed downhill repeats to acclimate my body to hard effort on a downhill course.

Fartleks (Speed Play in Swedish)

Fartleks are fun because this workout can be lacking structure. Essentially the idea is to add in quick burst of running at random intervals through a run to get your body ready for quick speed pick-ups.  Add in things such as a sprint to the next mailbox or to to the next driveway followed by an easy pace. Then build your pace back up again and follow it with another burst.

*In college we used to do a fun Fartlek Alphabet run around campus. We would run around campus looking for each letter of the alphabet and then would add in a sprint to tag the letter and then we would repeat all the way from A-Z

Interval Workouts

Intervals are the Type A cousin of the Fartlek. Think of intervals as an organized fartlek. Intervals involve quick short bursts followed by recovery in regular intervals. During intervals you want to focus on obtaining the same speed for each fast burst of speed. By doing intervals you will become more efficient and your body will learn to recover better.

*I am not a certified running coach but am a marathoner, triathlete, and rower who has worked with many different coaches with different styles throughout the year and also spent two years coaching collegiate freshman rowing.

Which type of running workouts are your favorite and why? Which ones do you just hate but grit your way through anyways? Share your training stories with me!

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Boston Prep 16 Miler: I am racing tomorrow . . . well sort of.

Boston Prep 16 Miler

Boston Prep 16 Miler

Tomorrow I will be heading to Derry, NH to run the Boston Prep 16 Miler. And yes, it is actually as hilly as the attached picture shows. This race will be a training run for me as well as a chance to get out and be on course with many other people heading for the same goal of completing the Boston Marathon this year.

Here I am all bundled up for last years Boston Prep 16 Miler. It was freeeeezing!

Here I am all bundled up for last years Boston Prep 16 Miler. It was freeeeezing!

My coach Denise (The Sustainable Athlete) does not want me to “race” this one. The plan tomorrow is to:

  • practice nutrition for marathon day
  • practice hydration
  • work on mental focus
  • work on pacing for the last 30 minutes (8:15-8:30)
  • to get in some hill training
  • to have fun and get a positive mindset for racing the Boston Marathon

It is a little weird to go to a race and to not truly race it. I am always in a competitive mindset on race day so it can be tough to hold back. However, when training for a bigger goal it is important to practice discipline and to keep my eyes on the prize.  This race is like a “quiz!”

I am hoping the winds won’t blow me away on the course like last year! I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have a great training day tomorrow and happy racing if you are on a mission tomorrow!


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#Sponsored Favorite Friday Five!

Five Favorites from this week!

I am taking a cue from one of my favorite bloggers Happy Fit Mama today I am going to share with you my five new favorite things from this week! It’s Friday Five!

*Disclaimer: I was given the Harbinger Fitness HumanX X2 Speed Rope by SMAK Publications and Marketing in exchange for my review. I was not compensated for this post. All of my opinions are my own.

  • Today I tried out the Harbinger Fitness HumanX X2 Speed Rope which was sent to me by SMAK Public Relations and Marketing.  Lately I have been all about trying new things. I have been in need of a change from the routine of just running all the time because I do not want to get anymore overuse injuries! Also, adding change into your life adds a little bit of excitement back in.  The HUMANX speed Rope touts a “new ultra spin mechanism” and a fully adjustable cable which is customizable to your height with the use of an allen wrench. I was happy to receive this speed rope because my coach has just added plyometrics into my workout routine which includes simulated jump rope movements. I figure that it’s even better to add in the real thing.  I had fun using the speed rope but let me warn you . . . this is not your school yard jump rope. I definitely need some practice to get back into the “swing of things.” Do you use a speed rope in your training? 
HUMANX X2 Speed Rope

HUMANX X2 Speed Rope

  • I have discovered that I might actually still enjoy using my Concept II Ergometer (Rowing Machine).  After a long hiatus from this evil torture device my coach has added erging into my training.  Erging is fantastic cross-training working all of the core muscle groups. Today I did a nice and easy Steady Steady at 20-22 strokes per minute. I am sure I will be feeling this in my creaky, rusty rowing muscles tomorrow! Do you erg? 
Erging! (Rowing)

Erging! (Rowing) I don’t look too psyched in this picture.

  • As soon as 2014 begins I have decided to join Jill Conyers of Fitness, Health, and Happiness in her 2014 running challenge to run 14 races in 2014. Sounds crazy right? But I do run a ton and figure by Boston I might have at least 3 races under my belt (probably more).  For this challenge I have decided to do the combination of races–5K, 10K, half, Full . . . trails and road because I like to mix things up don’t you?  Will you be joining the 14 in 2014 challenge too? I dare you! 
14 in 2014– Running Challenge from Jill Conyers

14 in 2014– Running Challenge from Jill Conyers

  • Today when I was shopping at my local COOP food store I discover Mamma Chia in the refrigerated section.  I was intrigued by the flavors, Cranberry Lemonade, Pomegranate Mint,  and Coconut Mango. I decided to try the Pomegranate Mint as I have been on a pomegranate kick lately.  Mamma Chia’s blend of juices includes a light serving of agave nectar as a sweetener and also a nice blend of lemon and lime juices so that it is not too sweet. The Chia seeds provide a great source of fiber, and protein.  I loved the blend of sweet and tart with mint thrown in.  I actually love the texture of the Chia seeds in Mamma Chia and rapidly consumed my drink.  I think I will have to try some of the other flavors! I like their tagline too: “Fun for Your Mouth – Great for Your Body!” Have you ever tried a drink with Chia seeds in it? 
Mamma Chia–Pomegranate Mint

Mamma Chia–Pomegranate Mint

  • In honor of Nelson Mandela’s passing my final five for Friday is one of his powerful quotes. May his legacy live on.
Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

What are your Friday Five?

Boston Marathon Training from The Sustainable Athlete Coaching:

The Sustainable Athlete Coaching–Denise Goode

The Sustainable Athlete Coaching–Denise Goode

10 Minute Plyometrics Routine:

. Simulated Jump rope- Looking for more of a hopping motion with both feet together. Hop 30 times, walk around

2. Simulated One-Legged Jump rope- 15 each leg
-Walk around

3. A Skips- See video -8 each leg
-Walk around

4. B Skips- See Video- 8 each leg
-Walk around

5. Walking lunges- Make sure you keep the knee behind the front toe- 4 each leg

30 min erg session

Strength Training

10-15 sec rest in between (~10-12 reps 2 sets each):

Dumbell chest press
Lat pulldown or bent over row
Dumbell squat (weights at your side and squatting down to seated position and back up)
Seated dumbell shoulder press
Dumbell bicep curl
Forward lunge with no weights (alternate legs)
Tricep extension

Happy running!


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Eastern States 20 Miler Race Recap (Boston Marathon Prep Race)

20 Miles. The New Hampshire coastline. Energizing sunshine. Training to make a dream come true. A serendipitous meeting along the way. A new found inspiration.

Yesterday was a day to test sheer will and determination.  Last week my running schedule was loaded. The last big week before the start of taper (although I know there is still plenty of hard work to be done before the big day right Coach Denise? It will be time for some fine tuning. 3 WEEKS to go until the Boston Marathon!)

Here is a glimpse about the torture . . . I mean FUN that was training last week . . .

Final week of Boston Marathon Training Pre-Taper from The Sustainable Athlete

Final week of Boston Marathon Training Pre-Taper from The Sustainable Athlete

Over the weekend I ran a total of almost 30 Miles 29.75 to be exact! On Saturday my awesome coach Denise had me run a marathon pace run. When I saw the workout on my schedule I thought, “REALLY!?! but I am running the Eastern States 20 Miler on Saturday. Won’t this run completely exhaust me for tomorrow.” But now, I understand. The purpose of this run was to prepare my body for racing when I am fatigued. To train my muscles to learn to recover and flush the lactic acid faster.

On Sunday I wake up feeling rested but my legs feel tight thanks to my snowy almost 10 miler from the day before.. Thankfully the Eastern Sates 20 Miler does not start until 11:00 a.m. (also good preparation for race day at the Boston Marathon). I wake up do some stretching and enjoy a large breakfast, a toasted poppy seed bagel with cream cheese on one half and peanut butter on the other (I hope I don’t have any poppy seeds stuck in my teeth like Elaine in Seinfeld in case of any random testing . . .HAHAHA!), a giant bowl of granola with milk, an orange, and a glass of orange juice. I typically would not eat quite this much pre-race if the race started early in the morning (I’d actually have a pre-bed meal the night before to “fill up my tank”) but figured I had better get in as many calories as possible so as not to bonk when running through lunch time. I spent time during breakfast laughing to myself as I sit in a bar in the hotel by myself  surrounded by beer paraphernalia, a fully stocked bar, the smell of stale beer, with house music blasting. The setting for this pre-race meal is just too hilarious.

After breakfast I headed to catch the bus to the starting line. The bus is filled with some of the fittest looking people you might ever see all sharing marathon tales and tales of Boston qualifiers. I am trying to stay relaxed and enjoy a 15 minute catnap in the sun on the bus as we head to the starting area. The Eastern States 20 Miler has the most chill atmosphere of almost any race I’ve been to of this size. Perhaps its due to the fact that many of the racers are seasoned veterans of the marathon distance. I enjoy some relax time an decide its warm enough to ditch the long tights in favor of my preferred race “uniform”–a Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra in Lapis Blue, my SLS3 Compression Socks in Bright Pink (my daughters favorite), and my favorite well-loved New Balance Running Shirt from Reach the Beach, and a Sweaty Bands Head Band in a Zebra Print (for my son who has a zebra lovey) I like to keep my outfits colorful and slightly crazy. It helps keep me happy on the run!

A dynamic warm-up before the race with some striders, butt kicks and high knees to get my legs loosened up was just what I needed and  I am relaxed and mellow at the starting line and am even surprised to “run” (haha) into a friend who I haven’t seen for awhile.It is  good to reconnect.

Let's do this!

Let’s do this!

The race starts suddenly and we are off down the coastline from Portsmouth, NH through Hampton Beach, NH (reminiscent of finishing Reach the Beach Relay NH), to the finish just over the state line in Salisbury, MA.

I work to settle into a nice easy pace (suggested pace is 9:15-9:00 for the first 10 miles. The race today is practice for Boston and not truly a race. This is hard. I have a hard time not being super competitive. Thankfully an awesome runner from Maine runs up alongside me and asks what my pacing plan is for the race. She joins me to run as our paces seem similar. and come to discover serendipitously that our coach is the same,  Denise Goode of The Sustainable Athlete. Kate and I begin to laugh and settle into a comfortable pace together, sharing stories of racing and family and life. The run is fun and the first ten miles seem to just fly by, we do not even notice any mile markers on the course. We just enjoy a new friendship and the amazing coastal scenery and warm sun (which I would later find results in the most odd running tan).

Sustainable Athletes and new running friends Sarah and Sandra

Sustainable Athletes and new running friends Sarah and Sandra

The run feels comfortable and at 10 miles to go we drop the pace to marathon pace, 8:15-8:20. I feel strong, my legs are still tight so I focus on keeping my strides long and relaxing my feet. I have noticed that I sometimes have a habit of clenching with my toes as I run. Perhaps that is why my calves are so tight? (any thoughts or tips????) As I run I keep my focus on my form and on finding my strength from training on the hills and in the mountains all winter. Running negative splits can be a challenge but this is how I have been training. Denise has been having me drop the pace at the end of all of my long workouts and today I can feel the power that I have acquired by running this way all winter. I am able to settle into a faster pace and challenge myself o drop the pace for the last 5 miles if I still feel good which I do. Running the last stretch of the course I am soaking up the sun and the sparkling ocean views. I am energized by thoughts of my Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks kicking ass on the way to the beach at Reach the Beach and can almost hear them cheering me on.

Pete and Gerry's Organic Chicks Reach the Beach Relay NH (Van 1)

Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks Reach the Beach Relay NH (Van 1)

I finish the race with pacing just under 8:00/mile pace. I am salty, I am tired but I am proud. I watch my new running friend Kate cross the line with a smashingly fast time and then we head to the beach. The water looks tempting to dip our tired legs in but upon feeling the ice cold chill we decide its not worth it. Maybe next time!

I worked hard and have new confidence as the Boston Marathon approaches in less than 3 weeks. The Eastern states 20 Miler is a test of my endurance and my inner strength. I feel ready. Now bring on the taper!

Eastern States 20 Miler!

Eastern States 20 Miler!

Skirt Runner Skirt Sports

Training for a dream

A perfect day to run!

A perfect day to run!

Link Love:

We Finally Got to Run on Dirt!–DangerGirl

The @OaklandMarathon–I finally learned-Pavement Runner

Marathon Recovery the Right Way!-Miss Zippy

Azalea Trail Run 2013-Road Runner Girl

Eastern States and Altered States-A Wicked Good Blog!



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Motivation Monday: Focus and Discipline

This week is all about Focus, and discipline.  It is week 12 of my Boston Marathon training and Coach Denise (The Sustainable Athlete) has been loading up my training schedule with some amazing workouts. Having a coach has definitely helped me to achieve great success because I feel more accountable about my training (if I miss a workout I feel like I am going to be in trouble for playing hooky). Coach Denise also gives me my schedule on a week by week basis allowing for tweaking as needed (which was super helpful when my energy was zapped from my terrible sinus illness a few weeks back).

Right now the miles are high and my body feels strong. I am seeing improved muscle definition in my legs from all of my strength training, and mountain running and miles (which is amazing since I have string bean legs). I am feeling positive and want to work my tail off to be faster and to reach the next level of speed.  Thankfully I have a super support network of women to train with who challenge me and encourage me.

Who encourages you in your training?

Now I am working to make my mind strong. Yesterday I did not have a training partner for my long run. The workout was 1:45 at ~9:20 pace with the last 40 minutes at marathon pace~8:10-8:15. My legs were tired from racing #WinterWild at Mt. Sunapee yesterday but I knew I needed to get out and get the time on my feet.  I was actually glad for the solitude on my run yesterday. Running alone forces you to practice focus and discipline. Also, running solo allowed me to find my pace and stick to it and not allow the energy of a group to challenge or change the pace as can sometimes happen when running with others. I cranked out this workout with a strong 12 miles in 1:52! Not to bad the day after a 4 mile mountain quad burner at Winter Wild at Mt. Sunapee!

Do you prefer running by yourself or with others?

I also find my solo runs to be meditative. I love finding the rhythm of the run. When I run by myself I am able to listen to the rhythm of my body, the sound of my breathing, the sound of my foot hitting the pavement. I am able to tune into my pace by listening to how my breathing sounds and by feeling the energy in my legs. When I run alone I am able to focus on my strides, my foot-strikes and the way that my upper body is moving. Running in solitude I am able to visualize myself running on race day and to teach myself mental tricks to work through difficult parts of a run. Running alone can be much more difficult than running in a group because there are no distractions so you must work on strengthening your mind.

On Friday I am going to take another step towards strengthening my mind. A friend of mine used to do hypnotherapy at one point in his life. At the beginning of my truly finding my groove with running I had a long talk with him one day about my running . . . little did I know he tried a little conversational hypnosis to help give me some tools to work with during a tough point in a race or run. It may sound crazy but for me this was a key turning point towards building better mental toughness and confidence. I am going to visit my friend later this week and try out some official hypnotherapy . . . I will keep you posted as to how it goes!

Chase your dreams! #FitFluential Boston Marathon

Chase your dreams!

 Link Love:

Five Things Athletes Do To Create Success

A Snowshoe Experience to Remember!–DangerGirl

Marathon Monday Week 3–Happy Fit Mama

Monday Motivation–Little Fancy Nancy

The Hay is in the Barn–Miss Zippy

Sugarland Half Marathon Recap–Mommy Run Fast 



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Running Hill Repeats!

Can you tell I am breathing hard?

Can you tell I am breathing hard?

Today I renewed my love for hill repeats. Perhaps I am a masochist but I have always LOVED running hills. People have always thought that I am nuts. I haven’t done any specific hill workouts in a long time but it felt amazing.

Hill Repeats

Hill Repeats

I picked a pretty steep hill, the sun was setting the trees on fire with a golden glow and it was actually pretty warm out. Just getting outside improved my energy level. The endorphins from this workout were just what I needed!

Do you like to run hills as a part of your training? 

Here is my vlog recap of today’s workout:

My workout today was designed by my awesome coach Denise Goode at The Sustainable Athlete. The Sustainable Athlete is a fantastic endurance coaching program started by an amazing friend of mine who amongst other things is an Ironman.  If you are in need of some coaching to help you meet your goals you should definitely check it out. My coach Denise has helped me to build my strength, speed, and endurance which played a crucial role in my qualification for the 2013 Boston Marathon

Coaching for Endurance Sport-The Sustainable Athlete

Coaching for Endurance Sport-The Sustainable Athlete

Don’t forget to VOTE for my blog to be a Top 25 Health and Wellness Blog for 2012 on Circle of Moms!

Top 25 Health Wellness Moms 2012 on Circle of Moms

Top 25 Health Wellness Moms 2012 on Circle of Moms


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Running to Middle Earth

Peace. Tranquility. Fresh air.

A surprise run to “Middle Earth” aka the Franconia trails today was exhilarating and just what was needed. B. and I headed out for a 1:40 minute road run today and were both feeling pretty tired/blah about the run when we started but the entire mood of the run changed when we found the entrance to the trails in Franconia.

The switch to the soft footing of the snowy trails was a welcome change from the cold pavement. It was gorgeous in the woods. Light snow falling and frosted trees lining the trail.

Even Nanook, B.’s Husky appeared excited by our find as he bounded off through the snow.

This was the perfect running adventure! What is your favorite running adventure?


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It has been crazy around here. I love having a full plate and being scheduled to the max. I always feel more productive. Although sometimes when I take a break for a minute I almost feel winded (almost like after running up a mountain . . . Which by the way I’ll be doing again tomorrow morning at the “egg” crack of dawn. Winter Wild Round 3 here I come!).

2 Laps of Pats Peak=4 Miles of Winter Wild

My two little chicks keep me on my toes every day. I wish I could drink in endless amounts of twirling, dancing, jumping, laughing pure energy. From the moment they awake they are out of their beds as though the starter pistol has gone off at the start of a race. During the race of our day there are meals to be made and devoured, intense playing at home and at pre-school, a daily battle of wits between 3.5 year old and Mommy, and wrestling matches with a cranky toddler who has discovered the joy of play and doesn’t want to concede defeat to exhaustion.

In the middle of this chaos is time for me to work, to write, to run. I officially started training for The Key Bank Vermont City Marathon this week to add in a bit more craziness. A coach from my friend Doug’s awesome coaching business The Sustainable Athlete is setting up my training. I am looking forward to having a daily plan to provide extra motivation. It’s been a long time since I had real coaching for sport.

Sweet one on one coach for ENDURANCE athletes

I am hoping for a Boston qualifying time which will be a fast 3:40. I feel like I’ve built a good base this past fall and winter thanks to half marathons and long miles with the awesome Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks.

Now it’s time to dial it up a bit. And just to kick things off with a bang my first official workout was intervals and I chose my friend Bridget (crazy fast with the energy of my 3.5 year old ) as my interval buddy. I had great plans to complete this workout in the morning but life took over. So, this workout ended up being a headlamp run on a dark VT dirt road. It felt amazing though and always the perfect way to end a crazy day and somehow I am always able to find the energy.

Post Intervals Glow

Now begins the race to the finish line. This time with a plan to guide me and high energy surrounding me to serve as motivation.

Where do you get your energy?

Find your power source


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