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.

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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.

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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

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Last Long Run, Calorie Tracking and Pre Race Jitters

Last Saturday was my last long run before the California International Marathon. I signed up for the Davis Turkey Trot and planned on running 7-9 miles pre-race. Of course because I was suppose to do this run last weekend it was pouring rain this weekend as my punishment.

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It was so cold and rainy I didn’t want to get out of my car!

A few tips for running in the rain:

1. Wear a visor – Keeps the water out of your eyes

2. Use Body glide or Vaseline – It’s much easier to chafe in the rain

3. Don’t wear tons of crazy layers because you think you might get cold – wear what you would normally wear for the temp, plus wet clothes can get heavy

4. Good socks are clutch – If your socks suck you are about a billion times more likely to get nasty blisters. I love the Injinji toe socks. They have significantly cut down the level of ugliness of my toes

The run was good though. I ran seven miles pre-race then ran a 1:53:54 Half Marathon.The post race was ok but I was super soaked so I just wanted to get home so I could get my ice bath over with and then start to warm up again.

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I am obsessed with this medal!

The best part of my training run was imputing it into my calorie tracker. I just started using MyFitnessPal to track my calorie intake. It is awesome for me because I am sooooooooo bad counting calories, macros, or whatever. When you track your food one thing it really makes you aware of is how much you snack. Grab a couple of chips here, a slice of salami there, a glass of juice when I get home. All the stuff that you think is nothing adds up big time!  One of the things I LOVE about MyFitnessPal is that it has a lot of items that I eat already programmed in there like, Wine. It also hooks up with other apps that track runs like Map My Fitness and automatically adds those calories to your daily total.

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Here is my tracker for my 20 mile run! Yeah I got to eat a lot!!

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And here is my tracker for Thanksgiving. Yikes!

Now that my race is getting close I’m starting to get pre race jitters. I’m worried that I’m not ready. I keep thinking over my training and comparing it to last year. Ahhhhhhhhhh! Why did I sign up for this?!?! You know when you have goals but you are to nervous to tell people because what if you don’t hit them? That is soo me! Anywho, does anyone else feel like that?

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!

What was your first post Thanksgiving workout? I did BODYATTCK and just about died but I’m out of my food coma!

Kristen xo

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.

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

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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!

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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!!!

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This girl saved my post run legs!

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Love the double Bling!!

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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

Party Crash FlyWheel and Class Review

Hey, have you ever heard two NBA stars were making an appearance behind your office and walked out with some work friends to have a look, just to realize they were hosting a cycle class outside then decide to talk your way in and party crash the event? That’s so weird, me too! Let’s talk about it!!!

On Tuesday, Kaiser Permanente and Flywheel held a demo right outside my office because Flywheel opening a studio in San Francisco. For this event they had Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors and Chris Paul from the LA Clippers as special guests! (I LOVE basketball) A few of my work friends heard these guys were going to be right outside our office so we decided to check it out.

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100 Bikes were set up all around a stage with big screens, a DJ and very loud music! I took one look at this and said to my friends “I’m getting in there! See you guys later!” Walked up to the entrance and asked how to get in, they said that you had to register online but it was already full. I had to turn on the charm but you bet your a$$ I got a seat!

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Towel, Water, Weighted bar for upper body work!

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Craziest looking selfie ever!

Once I got in, they set me up with some bike shoes and gave me a jersey to wear just like the players had on! (Side note, I was able to jump right in to class because I pretty much wear workout clothes everyday to work anyway, true story) There was tons of hype before the class started and the instructors let everyone know that there is a new Flywheel Studio coming our way but I didn’t hear when because I was soooooooo excited. Then the players got there and it was pretty awesome! This is the first time I can say I have done a cycle class with NBA Super stars!! Stephen Curry and Chris Paul were both funny, sang the songs, danced on their bikes and I was super impressed with their appearance! I did ditch out of work for that whole time but it was totally worth it!!

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Chris Paul on the Mic

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Stephen Curry heading to the bike

Ok, now that you know how I got there let’s talk about the class! I had only vaguely heard of Flywheel before this little shin dig but I really knew nothing about it. The description directly from their website “An experience that lasts 45 or 60 minutes and includes climbs and descents, while working arms with weighted bars. It’s an amazing escape that challenges your body and relaxes your mind. Our studios offer stadium-style seating, making every seat in the house a good one.”

The class we did was 45 min there were about 8 songs but it was hard to tell because one rolled right into the next. There was no real set up/stated purpose for each song but each one did have a theme to it. I’m not sure if it would be the same format each time you did the class. In this class there was one song where we used the weighted bars to work the upper body. There were 4 main exercises we did with the bar, Overhead press, Something I would call a chest press but because we were sitting up it would really be working the top of the shoulders, bicep curl and overhead tricep extensions. It was pretty tough and I was definitely feeling it. The workout itself was good exactly what I would expect from a good cycle class. Each instructor makes up there own choreography, and having the three different instructors on stage you could definitely see how the classes would differ based on what they did. The music was great, Flywheel has a DJ that has a collection of songs the instructor can choose from.


Looks like Stephen has some moves off the court too!

What makes Flywheel different from the average gym cycle class is their Tech-Pack. That is a little screen on the side of the bike that has information for you to gauge your ride. Four sections, Torq (the level of resistance on being used) RPM’s (the number of revolutions per min), Current Power output and Cumulative Power output, were on the screen. The instructors used this Tech-Pack to lead you through the workout, giving ranges of Torq and RPM’s for you to be at in each song. Another feature, is a large screen in the front of class that displays the top 20 performers in the class. This is great if you’re competitive but I could see how this might intimidate someone that is new to working out.

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Tech-Pack

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Leaderboard

Some of the other perks of the studio are provided cycle shoes, towels and lockers. Your Stats are also recorded for each ride so you can log on to the Flywheel website and check your stats “including RPM’s, Torq, Speed, Power, Distance and Estimated Calories”. I LOVE that! Unfortunately I can’t speak to the extra perks that they offer in studio because the class what in my office backyard.

So in review:

1. Cool tech stuff to keep you motivated and to see how far you come.

2. Great Cardio workout with a little but of weight training included.

3. Instructor makes up the class so find one you like because the workouts will most likely differ from person to person.

4. Super cool current music

*These are my opinions based on the demo class I party crashed and what saw on their website. I am not affiliated with Flywheel in anyway.*

Have you ever crashed a really cool looking event? Tell me about it!! Maybe we can be partners in crime next time!

Kristen xo

Hiyo, PiYo!

Last weekend I did a little PiYo instructor training, by little I mean a full 8 hour day. What is PiYo? I’m so glad you asked. It is what I would call, “Yoga, Pilates and a little punch of plyo set to fun, inspiring music” Basically it’s Yoga and Pilates moves done a little faster then normal with some light jumping (totally optional) to create a big calorie burn while still providing some of the benefits of Yoga (flexibility, Injury prevention, improved athletic performance) and Pilates (Core strength, better balance and posture) and sculpting and toning your body. Whoa!!! That’s a ton a great stuff!!

A basic class is made up of 4 parts and is set up like this:

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1. Warm up and Heat Building – Great news the warm up is ALWAYS the same!! Once you get it the only thing that will be different is the music. I love this because sometimes it takes me a min or two to get out of sleep mode or work mode and I don’t want to think about anything, so I could totally zone out for a min. Heat building is going to do just that. Heat up you body to get ready for the work and give you the ability to stretch better. There are a lot of sun salutations here to get you nice and warm.

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2. Lower-Body Strength, Flow and Balance – This is going to be your big calorie burn section. It’s a higher level of intensity, working harder, holding poses longer and moving through flow sequences faster. Think strong flow segments, single leg squats lunges, This is when you’ll be glad your brought your sweat towel!!

3. Upper-Body Strength, Flexibility, and Core Focus – Last section of work before cool down. In this section you be focusing on back, chest and core with push-ups, planks and a bigger focus on Pilates moves.

4. Cool down and final stretch – Finishing out the class with some static stretching, relaxing the body and coming back to a focus on alignment.20141025_163355(0)

Who is PiYo for? Everyone, right? That is the standard group fitness instructor answer. While Yes, I do think everyone can do PiYo there are many modifications and ways to make it harder but I do think that if someone is a Yoga or Pilates purest this might not be for them. I think this is a fantastic program to give a intro to Yoga and Pilates, or for someone that gets a little bored in a traditional yoga class but realizes the benefit of flexibility training (Runners, I’m talking to you!! I know a lot of us don’t stretch as much as we should and this can lead to all sorts of injuries!). This is also a great program for someone new to working out because the is minimal impact on the joints. Like with any workout if you have questions about if it is safe for you talk to your Dr. first!!!!

There is also an at home version of PiYo and if you want more information on that you can always email me!! Sparklespandex@gmail.com.

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Dang,  we look cute after a 8 hour day of training!!

Have you ever tried PiYo? I would love to hear some other opinions on it.

Kristen xo

We’re Going Streaking

 

I’m starting a running streak!! Truth be told I tried to start one on the 1st but then I missed a day or two and then whole thing fell apart…………. but I did manage to take my first running selfie. So I’m going to count that as a win.

 

Running Selfie

 

I still haven’t figured how to look pretty in them but I guess that is just part of the selfie learning curve.

So my plan is to do a 12 week running streak with it falling apart with a min of one mile a day. I decided to post about it to keep me accountable or suffer internet shaming for not sticking to it!!

A ton of stuff has happened so far this year but this was pretty much the high point so far.

Some topics to catch up on:

San Francisco races 2014

Davis race 1 of 2014 – I hate my life

Davis race 2 of 2014 – Suck it Davis

Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC

Wall of shame for missing a race or two

That’s the main stuff but for now………… We’re Going Streaking!!

Have you ever done a running streak? How many days? What was your min mileage?

What was your favorite race this year so far?

Show me your best running selfie? And give me any tips you might have so I don’t look like I was just startled.

SS x

Weekend Update with Sparkle Spandex

Who knew unemployment could make you too busy to update your blog!?!?

Skip to Friday!! Yesterday I ran an 18 Mile training run. I have the Nike Woman’s Marathon coming up in October so I figured that I better start logging some miles. Since I’m not working Friday is as good a day as any. I have been a little worried about this race because last year when I ran it at mile 21 I wanted to run directly into traffic rather then stay on the course. After running my 18 miler yesterday though, I am feeling a lot better about it!

I decided to try out a new running fuel. So I got Cytomax Energy drops. I got both flavors because one had caffeine in them and the other one didn’t. I love to have the caffeine ones first then go no caffeine for the back half. I don’t have any reason I do it this way other then I think it seems like the right thing to do.

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Here is my review:

Pros –

  • They are delicious
  • There are two servings per packet

Cons –

  • The packets are not resealable so it makes it a little messy when trying to eat half and keep the other half in your running belt (especially if you get as sweaty as I do)
  • They are big packets so carrying more then two in your running belt might not be possible

They were yummy but I probably wouldn’t use them for a race because of how complicated it was to deal with the bag and getting only half of them out at a time.

In other news here are some pictures related to my run yesterday:

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Any one need some Ski Boots? Mile 3 and 15

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OMG there are sooooooooo many little people!!! Mile 16

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First comes laughter, then comes tears

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I did wear this out in public. I mean it is the Champagne of Beers!!

20130914-162002.jpg Yeah, this happened for lunch!!

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I wanted to order a GF pizza from Domino’s for dinner but the boyfriend said we should probably have a salad.

Are you doing any long runs this weekend?

What do you eat after a long run?

What is your favorite burger joint? Mine is a toss up between In and Out and Five Guys but I have to give Habit a honorable mention as well!

SS x