How To Run Faster

Here is a question I get allllllllllllll the time!! Kristen, how can I run faster? Oh and yeah, I know I look crazy in that picture! That’s how  you feel after at the end of a half marathon.

IMG_9811

First let me say, I am not a certified running coach, I am a fitness professional but not in running. I was an assistant cross country coach for like a season, I ran cross country and track in high school, I run a bunch of races but I am not a certified running coach so this is all based on my opinion and experience.

So now how to run faster! The only way I know to actually get faster at running is to run faster. Ha ha, sounds simple and hard at the same time, right. Let me break it down. When I say you have to run faster to get faster, I don’t mean just will yourself to run your normal routs faster then you do on the reg. That sounds kind of daunting especially if you are doing a lot of miles during the week and your runs are long!  Although I have total faith you could do that, there is an easier way.

Track Repeats

I personally believe that track repeats are the easiest/quickest way to speed up your pace. Here is a list of what I like for best for each race length:

5k – 200 meter repeats
Pace – Your one mile pace
Amount – 20 (sounds like a lot and it might take some time to get to 20 but once you do, I’m pretty sure that you’ll be crushing it)

10K  – 400 meter repeats (By far the hardest, but kind of the most rewarding too)
Pace – Your 5k pace
Amount 10-12

Half Marathon  – 800 meter repeats
Pace – Your 10k pace
Amount 6-10

Marathon  – 1600 meter repeats
Pace – Your 10-15 seconds then your desired marathon pace
Amount 4-6

There are a Zillion different variations that you can do with track workouts but I like to keep it simple, zone out, and focus on the work. Chances are that the first time you do these you might not get to the full amount of repeats, that is OK. Start with a few and work up to the full amounts. If you add this to your training, I would be shocked if you didn’t get faster times.

Now you can just do this on the road but I would suggest finding a local track that you can go to. This reduces distraction, makes the distance that much more consistent each time and the terrain will be nice and smooth for you.

IMG_0285

Here is an example of a track workout that I did a few years ago. It was mile repeats. I did three repeats with a mile warm up and cool down. I was training for marathon at this time. I actually ran the repeats a bit to fast, 6:30 pace. That is not anywhere near my desired marathon pace but you get the idea. On a side note, even though I was running my track workouts faster I didn’t hit my time goal that race. Faster isn’t always better, just saying.

I would love to hear what are your favorite speed workouts if you have them!!

Kristen xoxo

PS. I have just updated all of my social media. Click on the links below and just like it OK!

Instagram: @sparklespandex
Twitter: @sparklespandex
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sparklespandex

I’m BACK!!! AND a Free entry to ANY See Jane Run race!!!

Wooooooo whoooooo!!

Hey Guys! I missed you!! There is sooooooooooo much to catch up on!!

Running, CIZE Live, new food stuff,  more exercise and I’m working on a new look for the blog!! What what!!

I know I have been away for a while but to make up for it I one have one free entry to any See Jane Run Race!! There is one next weekend here in the Bay Area! We can get free bubbles together after the race!! BOOM!

download

To enter all you have to do is………

-Like my new FB page! (I know it is basically the same as my old one but some technical stuff has changed, don’t worry about just hit like xox)

 facebook.com/SparkleSpandex

OR

Like my Instagram!!

instagram.com/sparklespandex

Or you can do both for extra credit!!

If you already like those share this on your Facebook, Repost on Insta, or Comment below!!  I’ll announce the winner Monday!

Can’t wait to catch up more on all of the exciting thing going on!!

Kristen xoxo

Berkeley Half Marathon/ CIM Marathon Training

I’m running the CIM Marathon in 4 weeks!!! AHHHHHHH! Why do I sign up for this stuff!?!? Here is my problem with that! I hate long training runs! After 15 miles on a training run I’m soooooooo bored!! Like I want to run in to oncoming traffic bored. Last year on a whim I decided to meet up with a friend that was running a half and run 5 miles before the start of the race so I could get my 18 miles in. AMAZING!!!!!! All of the good, happy, I just started my run and I love it! feelings I got before the race and instead of the “I’ve been running for almost three hours and if I have to eat another gel, why am I running this far not in race” rage spiral at the end, I got a super awesome medal and a free banana! YEAH!!

This year I decided to do the same. I signed up for the Berkeley Half on 11/9. I picked up my packet on Saturday and it wasn’t super busy, but it is only a small race. They had the pickup at the UC Berkeley football stadium which seemed like a good idea but the parking was a nightmare. If they do the same next year try and go on Friday if you can. The expo wasn’t even busy at all so it ended up taking longer for me to park then pick up my stuff and walk the line of booths. As far as booths there was nothing too exciting, so I just waked the line up and left.

IMG_8079
This is my favorite pre-meal!! Gluten Free Obvi!

IMG_8081-0
Pre run beverage of choice! Black, no sugar!

The trick to doing a Marathon training run/race is you have to pick a race that doesn’t start at 6 otherwise you would have to get up at some ungodly hour to run your pre-race miles. The Berkeley Half Marathon started at 8, which in my opinion is the time every race should start!

IMG_8083-0
Five Miles down only a half to go!

This year the course was quite a bit different, which I liked. Last year a large part of the race was in a park type area running on gravel and that is a little to close to trail running for me. Also last year, there was a massive hill right at 12.5 mile point, so yeah that was not cool. This year the hills were front loaded which I prefer because it prevents me from starting out to fast as well as getting you in the habit of running negative splits! BOOM! Thanks hills!!

Another great thing about running your long training runs with a race on the back is you have all of the excitement and energy of a race to keep pushing you when you get tired, as well as on course staff just in case you collapse. (Please don’t run to this point, I was being dramatic but if you feel like you are going to pass out, Please stop!!)

The on course support for this race was good, like any race should be. The post race totally made up for the expo being only so so.  Whole Foods was there! Nesquick was there with Girl Scout Flavored Chocolate Milk!!! Amazeballs!! Zeel Massage also had a booth. Free post race massages are my fav!!! (a little birdie told me that they are going to be at the SF marathon next year!!) Zeel is a new app that offers same day massages in your home. Super awesome!!! Check it out!!!

IMG_8088
This girl saved my post run legs!

IMG_8092-0
Love the double Bling!!

IMG_8095

IMG_8098
Post race party time!!

So all and all it was a success! 20 miles next week on my own, no free banana. 😦

So to summarize:
Berkeley Half marathon:
1. Expo – meh
2. Race course – great
3. Post race – amazeballz

Long training run with a race:
1. No end of run rage spiral
2. On run water stations
3. And Bathrooms
4. Free banana

What do you do to get through those loooooong marathon training runs?

Kristen xo

I won BIG at Nike Women’s Marathon

So I didn’t win the race or even place in my age group but I’m reasonably sure that I was the biggest winner of the day when I crossed the finish line!! I’ll get to that but first let’s talk about the race.

Nike Woman’s Half Marathon is by far my favorite race, both in San Francisco and DC. Nike does S%#T right! Starting with the list of sponsors, Whole Foods, Paul Mitchell, SUJU, Neutrogena, and Uber, all offering great products and services in the expo and finishers village. I went to pick up my packet on Thursday first day if the expo on my lunch. It was super quick there were no lines for all of the fun stuff and the energy was still awesome, not the same level as on Saturday but still plenty to get you all jacked up about your race! I would definitely tell some one who is running this race for the first time to go on Friday or Saturday to get the full experience but if you have run Nike before go on Thursday!

IMG_7747
There were no lines for any photo op!

IMG_7748
CUPCAKE SF!!!! YES PLEASE!!

 

IMG_7752
YEP!!

IMG_7753
The names of all 25,000 runners are on the wall of Nike SF. My name was all the way up at the top!

This year only the half marathon was offered, which I was kind of sad about but actually turned out to be better for me, and the course was new as well. It basically went the exact opposite way as last year. I think the corrals were set up better this year and I think each set if corrals had their own set of port-a-potties, but I can’t really be sure because it was 6:00 am. What I do know is that there was no line which it clutch on race morning. Once I got to my corral I still had 20 min till race time. I love the start of races! All of the energy from everyone and I lose it every time the sing the national anthem (yeah, I’m that person).

IMG_7796
Pre Race Selfie

IMG_7800
This is what 25,000 women look like!

The race started a little late, I would say about 5-10 min, I guess because they were clearing the road (I don’t organize races, I don’t know, I can hardly organize myself). When I’m running, especially at the start, it’s all kind of a blur of people, noise, excitement, me trying to slow myself down so I don’t go out to fast. (Side note, in my first marathon I ran my first mile in 6:30 min and that was only 1 of the 20 million things I did wrong that day, but I’ll talk about that another time.) I do remember that there was a low grade incline for a bunch of the first few miles and a wicked hill around mile 2. It was pretty flat though Golden Gate Park then after the park there was a decedent sized hill in the neighborhoods right after. Then………………………..then came mile 10!!!!!!!!! I’m still trying to block it out of my memory. It was hard and steep and looooooongggggg. I said a LOT of swear words running up that thing! It was Awesome though! At the top the view would have been unreal but the city was super foggy, oh well next year! After that is is smooth sailing all the way down and along the marina greens to finish!

At the end of the race I came around the corner with about 100-200 yards left and I was looking for my boyfriend on the sidelines but he was not there and I was starting to think he wasn’t going to see me finish. Then I saw him standing at the finish line……………in a suit……. what??? So I stopped running and then realized the  we was about to ask me to MARRY HIM!!!!!! So then I started running again and finished the race! It was the most romantic amazing thing that has ever happened to me!! He had been planning it for 6 months and worked with Nike to be allowed to be at the finish line! It was absolutely perfect!!

race_572_photo_11842146 (1)
Running to my Man!!

IMG_7807
I can’t believe this is real life!

IMG_7803
I’ll take the tall one any day of the week!

After that the post race was a bit of a Blur but I managed to still pick up my finishers bag and my Tiffany’s Finishers Necklace and a whole bunch of other stuff from finishers village. This year the Firemen weren’t handing out the Tiffany’s boxes. They were in finishers village for photo ops, which is really what everyone wants anyways right!! Facebook Photos!! At the finishers village, there was an massage tent, a whole foods tent, a Neutrogena tent where they had all sorts of stuff you could use to freshen up and huge samples to give out, there was also a Paul Mitchell tent where they would fix your hair and the last one I saw was a huge tent where Nike Training club was doing a huge stretch clinic or class or something for post race stretching. I was far to amp’ed to sit though some stretches!!

IMG_7818
Got all these goodies at the finishers village!

So my summary is…. Nike puts on an amazing race again. They never fail but this year I was the biggest winner on the day by far!!!

What is the best thing that has ever happened to you at a race?

Kristen xoxo

Rock N Roll Remix Challenge Review

Saturday and Sunday was my first back to back race weekend! I’ve been wanting to try it so when I got an email about the Rock N Roll Remix Challenge, 5k Saturday and half marathon Sunday, I was like “Sure! I’ll do that.” I figured 5k was easy enough to recover from before a half. Plus you get three medals for the whole weekend!! Boom!!!

IMG_7705

The Orange on is the 10K medal. The half’s was the same but yellow, but you get the drift.

I live north of San Jose so I couldn’t pick up my packet before the race on Saturday but luckily enough they had race day pick up for the 5k. Yes!! You had me from hello Rock N Roll! I am not a morning person at all, so we ended up arriving about 15 min before the race was suppose to start. It was do organized that I was able to get my race stuff hit up the Port-a-potties and shimmy my way up to the front of the starting chute! Well done Rock N Roll race crew for anticipating my unorganized-ness. The race itself was flat and fast just like it! Plenty of water stops along the way. Basically perfect. I ended up 1st in my age group and 5 woman over all. Yay!!

IMG_7676

We had some time to kill before the the expo opened for the half packet pick up so we hit up a breakfast spot right by the finish line. Once we finish we walked over to the convention center and it was still 30 min until it opened so we got in line but then they opened it 15 min early!! Yeah! Way to go Rock N Roll! Packet pick was super well organized, One of my favorite things about big races! We were in and out in about 10 min flat. That afternoon I spent some time in my sweet Ice Pants (Click here to read all about it) and then spent the evening in the city for the Bill Burr Show.

IMG_7677

Post 5k food fest.

IMG_7678

A little medal chomping outside of the expo.

Getting up the next morning was a little rough. I was surprisingly drained from the 5k and didn’t think I was going to run well at all in the half, plus I knew it was going to be a hot day and I just crumble in the heat. One thing I loved about Rock N Roll is that they sent out an email saying it was going to be hot and ways to run safe. It mapped out the misting stations as well so you could be prep’ed for the heat. However, before I started I thought maybe this whole back to back race thing isn’t my jam.

IMG_7695

Pre-race selfie! Man I wish I had a sweet tiger shirt!!

Once again getting to the start was super easy and the corrals were really organized. I was in the second wave of starters so I crossed the start line about two min after they started the race. The course was flat and a lot of it was in neighborhoods that were covered with trees, so at least there was a little shade. There were tons of aid stations, and even one that was offering cold wet sponges. Awesome at the end when I was starting to feel a little fried. The only thing that I can say I wasn’t a fan or was the 10k and the Half Marathon courses merged at the end. I was trying to pick up the pace and finish strong and this made it a little hard as the 10k’ers were merging in.

Post race was incredible. There was a whole line up of awesome goodies at the end! Big bottles of Gatorade, Chocolate milk (one of my favorite recovery items see here), ice cold wash cloths to wipe down with, bananas, power bars and a ton more. Plus the medals were awesome. There was also a separate tent to pick up your bonus medals that was super organized.

IMG_7697

Super quick bathroom change to watch some football at BJ’s in San Jose, where I ate an entire Gluten Free Pazookie!

All in all I give this race 5 Super sparkly stars out of five! Can’t wait to run another Rock N Roll Race.

Have you ever run a Rock N Roll Marathon Series Race?

What is your favorite post race recovery item?

Kristen xo

SF Marathon 2nd Half Recap

This weekend I ran the the 2nd half of the SF Marathon. I ran the first last year, and you get a double  medal if you run both halts two years in a row, So I was all about that!! I love the race bling!!

So I had a strange goal for this race! I was actually trying to chill out and enjoy the ride. Don’t get me wrong I love to run fast and feel like I ran my hardest, but for me, when I have a great race, time wise, most times I “zone out” and don’t remember much of the course or the racers or really much of anything. It’s kind of like a black out but no hangover and none of that exciting time where your friends are recap’ing how you sang the best karaoke rendition of Baby Got Back ate two In-n-out double doubles with a side of animal fries.I actually say I’m going to chill out and not care about how fast I run all the time (pretty much every race) but then the competitive side gets the best of me and I calculating my splits and looking for racers that I can catch up to. For this race I was pretty sure I didn’t have a shot of PR’ing so I decided to (for real) enjoy the race and use it as a training run.

20140801-121317-43997136.jpg

You know what! It was actually one of my favorite races! I got to stop and take a selfie or two. (I am so bad a running selfies, have no idea how people do it) We started in Golden Gate park, ran through the city, (yes, I have lived in the Bay Area for two years are I still don’t know the different areas of SF) then ended in the Embarcadero . Running in the park was amazing. I saw so many signs that I haven’t seen before, like the one with a picture on Lil’ Jon that said “Slow down for what” My newest favorite race sign ever. I think my favorite part was to really see and be inspired by all of the different runners on the course crushing their own goals.

So will I run a race just for fun again, heck yes, but only every now and then.

2014-07-30_1057

Totally Busted taking a Selfie by race photographers 

2014-07-30_1058

Ok, less about me more about the race. SF Marathon is one of the best run races I have ever been to from the packet pick up to how they handle to flow of traffic on race day. The expo it HUGE!!!!!! (too big for me, I am in and out of those things so fast cause I hate big crowds of people) If you have any interest in any type of running gear there will be a vendor at this expo. The course is one of the hardest but so so beautiful. I actually think I like the first half better because you get to go over the Golden Gate Bridge but it is also a little bit harder. On course support amazing! You seriously can’t go wrong with this race. Anywho, that about about it!

SS x What is your favorite karaoke song? Have you ever participated in a race and used it as a training run? Are you running in a race this weekend?

 

This is how I feel at crowded expos! It’s blurry!!!!!  20140801-121314-43994758.jpg   This is what I think I look like when I get water at a water station during a race. “Look at me sipping water like a lady” 20140801-121317-43997835.jpg This is what I actually look like! “Blurp Gargle Blrrrrrg”  20140801-121318-43998172.jpg Nothing like a selfie but the port-a-potty, Classy!! 20140801-121317-43997494.jpg

Water to Wine? Now we’re talking

Wine wine wine!

This weekends race was in wine country!!! Yeah!! Man, I love wine!

20130813-222057.jpg

Run Wine Country is the series. There are 4 races one duathlon, and three half marathons. You do all three halfs and you get a bottle of wine. It’s like a trophy or something but it has wine in it and I would drink that.

The race started at Lake Sonoma and ended at the Alderbrook Winery in Healdsburg. I had read somewhere that it was a really fast course but I’m not so sure. The first half was flat enough but the back half was hill after hill after hill. It was a beautiful course but not fast.

Healdsburg is about 80 miles from where I am so I didn’t really want to make two trips up there. I decided to pick up my bib on race day. We had to get up really really early, really early. We had to get there before 6:45 to pick up my bib, the race was at 7. I got there at 6:43. Lucky! They were super organized so it wasn’t an issue.

Race run, nailed it! The came the wine. Heck yes! I loooooooove races where they give you free wine! This stuff was delicious too! The Alderbrook Winery has some good wine and plus it’s super cute. I would totally go back. I would run that race again too!

20130813-234607.jpg

20130813-234614.jpg

After the race we went to downtown Healdsburg. It is super cute. Go there 50 times. We went to Costeaux for brunch. It was delicious. Then we just strolled in to Moustache Baked Goods just to look. I’m a little obsessed with Cupcakes but I just look at most bakeries because I am gluten free, buuuuuut Moustache had one gluten free one!!

20130813-235937.jpg

20130813-235944.jpg

20130814-000015.jpg Yeah, we’re doing a puzzle! Deal with it, get one of your own. That is good clean fun, right there.

Then we went to Ferrari-Carano tasting bar. It was really good as well and I wanted to buy everything in there.

If you are thinking about going to wine country I would highly recommend Healdsburg over Napa. Napa is great but Healdsburg is amazing. Go! This weekend!

Have you been to a winery before? What is your favorite?

What’s your favorite cupcake place? Do they have gluten free cupcakes and what is their address?

SS x