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10 Running Workouts to Re-Awaken Your Inner Speedster

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Winter can leave runners feeling sluggish, tight, and slow. Let’s face it: it’s hard to maintain that quick, bouncy feeling in windy, snowy, sub 30 degree temperatures. Fortunately, warmer days are just around the corner—so here are a few suggestions to put those fast-twitch muscle fibers back in business for the spring race season.

Strides: If speed wasn’t in your vocabulary this winter, strides are the easiest and safest way to ease your body back into some faster paces. Strides are best when done at the end of a workout to help  activate your fast twitch muscle fibers and open up your stride. When first starting out, do your strides at 5k pace—if you don’t know your 5k pace, just guess. As you get fitter and faster, you can do your strides faster than 5k pace. The key is consistency and control. Don’t sprint so hard on the first stride that you can barely jog on the 5th one.

  • Do 5-10 x 100 meter strides at 5k pace. If possible, do on a grassy area or softer surface.

Fartlek Runs: I absolutely love fartlek runs! Why? Because they offer a pressure-free, efficient, and safe way to improve fitness fast.  After a long winter, integrate fartlek runs once or twice a week on dirt trails (because it reduces the amount of shock on the lower body). For the first few workouts, don’t pay attention to your paces—simply listen to your body and try to stay as consistent as possible. After several weeks, you can start attempting to hit set paces.

  • 10-12 minute warm-up. 3 to 10 x 2 minutes fast, 2 minutes slow. 10-12 minute cool down
  • 10-12 minute warm-up. 5 to 12 x 1 minute fast, 1 minute slow. 10-12 minute cool down
  • 10-12 minute warm-up. 1 minute fast, 1 minute slow; 2 minutes fast, 2 minutes slow; 3 minutes fast, 3 minutes slow; 4 minutes fast, 4 minutes slow; 5 minutes fast, 5 minutes slow; and back down 4:4, 3:3, 2:2, 1:1. 10-12 minute cool down.

Pressure-Free Tempo Runs: I keep emphasizing “pressure-free” because after the winter season, it’s very easy to think “I’m not as fast as I used to be” and get frustrated during speed workouts. That said, don’t stress your paces during your first few tempo runs. Go entirely by feel until you develop a solid speed base. Tempo runs improve your running economy, endurance, efficiency, and speed. I like to view them as “riding the edge”. Don’t move so slow that it’s easy, but not so fast that you lose control. Keep it challenging and steady.

  • 10-12 minute warmup. 10 minute tempo at perceived 10k pace, 10-12 minute cool down
  • 10-12 minute warmup. 30 minute tempo at perceived half-marathon pace, 10-12 minute cool down
  • 10-12 minute warmup. 5 to 6 x 5 minutes at perceived 10k pace + 20 seconds. 2 minute recovery between each interval. For example, if your 10k pace is 7:00 min/mile, do each interval at 7:20 min/mile. If you aren’t paying attention to pace, do them just slightly slower than your perceived 10k pace.
Hills: I know hills are at the bottom of the list, but they should really be at the top. Hills workouts are speed workouts in disguise. Not only do they improve speed, they also improve form and build the crucial muscle strength needed to stay injury free. Many of us dread hills, but they ought to be our most trusted training companions.  

  • 10-12 minute warm-up.  Find a long hill of 400-800 meters and do 3-5 repeats up the hill, with recovery on the downhill. Focus on form, not speed when going up the incline. As you build fitness, you can begin surging up hills.
  • 10-12 minute warm-up. Find a short, steep hill of 100-200 meters and do 5-10 repeats up the hill, with recovery on the downhill. Again focus on form until your body starts craving surges.
  • Find a rolling hill course run for 40-50 minutes. Focus on maintaining the same pace throughout the entire workout. This will teach your mind and body to maintain the same pace on the ups, downs, and straights. Perfect for building mental and physical strength.
So there you have it—10 workouts to help you re-unite with your inner speedster. I mention this several times throughout the post, but I’ll say it again—keep the stress away and have fun. If you aren’t as fast as you were in the summer or fall, it’s okay! Mix a positive attitude with a little persistence and you’ll be back to the races in no time. If you’re faster than you were last summer or fall, stay healthy and keep up the good work!

5 Traits to Avoid when Seeking the Perfect Running Partner

Thursday, February 16, 2012
So, you’re a runner on the prowl for the perfect training partner? Seems pretty simple, right? While there are plenty of fish in the sea (or runners on the streets), there are several pitfalls you should avoid before delving into a full-blown running partnership. Chances are, avoiding these traits will save you a world of frustration, injury, and burnout.


The Flake: Have you ever come across those people who say “I want to start running” or “ I want to get into better shape”, but never seem to stay committed? When selecting a training partner, you want to nix those who are less motivated and committed than you. Reversely, don’t ask an Olympic bound runner to be your training partner if your goal is to simply complete a 5k. In a training partner, seek those with a similar commitment and ambition for running.

The turtle or the hare: While it’s sometimes beneficial to train with people on a vastly different level than you, it’s better to find someone with roughly equal capabilities. However, based on your running personality, you can really benefit from training with someone slightly faster or slightly slower than you. If you’re the type to grind, grind, grind all the time, seek someone slightly slower than you to keep your efforts in check. If you struggle to push yourself, train with someone slightly faster than you to keep you motivated to improve.

Negative Nancy: Negativity is really toxic. Running, in and of itself, is a mentally and physically taxing sport. If you have a negative Nancy adding to the stress, it’s a sure recipe for lame running experience. Conversely, if you train with someone who is positive and uplifting, it can exponentially amplify your running experience.

The Sprinter (Unless you’re a sprinter too): Choose someone who has similar goals and/or is training for a similar race. For example, if you’re training for a marathon, don’t try to train day-in and day-out with a sprinter, or someone with opposite goals. Your paces, mileage, and mindset will be a lot different. While the occasional speed workout or long run with people of different events is okay, steer clear of the long term partnership.

The Competition Junkie: Competition is a healthy, fun way to grow as a runner, but if your training partner is constantly pushing the pace and/or racing you, it might be time to reconsider the partnership. Save the racing for races. If you and your running partner consistently run with your egos rather than your brains, your risk for burnout, injury, or chronic frustration dramatically increases.

Finding a quality training partner can be a tedious search. Remember to stay open-minded and to have a balanced approach to running. As I’ve mentioned throughout the post, it’s okay and likely beneficial for you to train with different types of runners from time to time. But when it comes to the long term, you have to do what’s best for your mind, body, and spirit! Over time, It is likely that the best partnership for you will naturally emerge. What experiences have you had with training partners?

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Body: 4 Ways to Improve Fitness with your Mind

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Lately I’ve been deviating from the typical exercise and fitness advice I usually offer. But it’s for an important reason! This week, I want to address one of the single most important elements of not only a fit, clean body; but also a fit, clean life: your thoughts.

For some this may sound cliché, corny, or oversimplified; but your thoughts play the lead role in determining virtually every detail about you and your life. In a sense, they are the paintbrushes that create every stroke on your life canvas.

So, how can you practice the art of thinking to improve your fitness? Here are a few ways to brush off the dust on your fitness goals:

Choose your words carefully! Amplify the good feelings and minimize the negative feelings with the way you think about and describe things. Instead of saying or thinking “I had a good workout”, say “I had an earth-shattering, incredible workout”. Instead of saying “I had a horrendous workout”, say “I had a challenging workout”. By amplifying our positive experiences during and after exercise, we create more positive memories that will prompt us to want to do it again and again. Here are a few examples to get you started. Choose three positive and negative words that you usually associate with exercise, and practice super-boosting your vocab!

Good- Deeply Fulfilling
Great -Breathtaking
Okay- Extraordinary
Awful-Hard won
Freezing Cold and Terrible- Uncomfortable
I felt drained of all energy- A little tired

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude: I’m going to take a chance by saying that gratitude is the single most powerful mindset an individual can possess. A genuine, consistent attitude of thankfulness will, I repeat will change your life. No matter how challenging a workout may seem; you have the power to shift your attitude, mood, and perspective with a mere glimmer or gratitude. Before and after workouts, spend a few minutes to reflect, pray, or draw awareness to the things you are grateful for. It can be as simple or detailed as you like.

Think about it: we are all experts when it comes to our misfortunes, why not become experts on our blessings? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Spouse, Family, and Friends
People from your past that influenced you
The body
The ability to stand, walk, exercise, run
The breath
Your home
A means of income

Think big: I recently watched a documentary called “The Secret”. While it offered many interesting points and concepts, one piece of advice that really struck a chord with me was this: make the universe your catalogue and, without inhibition, keep a list of everything your heart desires.

Every thought has a unique energy and frequency. By thinking confidently and optimistically about your goals and dreams, you generate more energy for them to come to life. It’s as if each thought is a breath, and the more breaths you devote to optimism and proactivity, the more your dreams begin to breathe and become alive.

The world’s greatest athletes, authors, thinkers, activists, influencers and entrepreneurs can attest to this concept. Like everyone else, they face a minefield of adversity, disbelief, and doubt. But at the end of the day, one thing prevails—their belief in themselves and/or their belief in a higher power. Don’t allow anything or anyone—from the past, present, or future—to create your life’s destiny. Try this: create a list of fitness goals without holding back. Every day, think about your goals with the attitude of “I can”. Over time, pay attention to the feedback of your positive attitude.

Visualization: Many of the top sports psychologists spend a ton of time doing one mere thing with their athletes: visualizing success. Because your brain cannot effectively distinguish between reality and fantasy, you can reap tremendous benefits from visualizing positive, successful outcomes. Imagine your goal is to run a marathon. One way to bring this goal to life is by intensely visualizing every detail of the process and successful outcome. What will your training look like? What will you eat? How will you look and feel? What will you do on the weekends? How will you interact with others? What will you be wearing? Who will you be spending time with? What will the race feel like, look like, smell like? Once you’ve established your goals, visualize them often (once a day) in great detail and depth.  

As a runner (or parent, spouse, employee, ect), what keeps you mentally strong?

10 Must Follow Blogs and Websites for Runners

Monday, January 16, 2012

As runners, we are very lucky. Not only is our sport (relatively) inexpensive, easy to access, and amazing for maintaining lifelong fitness; it also has a plentiful supply of free, accessible, and helpful resources! Virtually any question about running can be found online via websites and blogs. Don’t stumble the next time you have a question about running. Here are 10 of some of the best websites and blogs to obtain the best news, advice, and stories related to running.

1. Can’t figure out which races to do this year? Active is the best website for finding and signing up for the perfect races near you. As if that wasn’t enough, the site also features an extensive list of training plans, nutrition tips, and healthy living tips.
2. Athlinks: This is like a Facebook for runners. If you’ve participated in a race of any kind, chances are your results are on this website. All you have to do it “claim” your results, set up an account, and Wa-Bam! You’re ready to become part of a network of 216,000 runners nationwide.
3. Complete Running Network: It’s called “Complete” Running Network for a reason. This comprehensive blog offers a plethora of tips involving: training, gear, reviews, injury assessment, and beginner runners. As a newbie, check out their article
100 Beginner Running Tips.
4. Cool Running: This is a must-follow blog for beginners and seasoned runners alike. It has a ton of great articles,
nutrition tips, and training plans for all levels and distances. My favorite feature is the pace calculator that eliminates the math and guessing from knowing your paces.
5. Flotrack: Flotrack is basically a YouTube for runners. It contains
videos of workouts, interviews, race reviews, articles, pictures, and athlete blogs. If you’re keeping up with the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon, check out these videos. Runner beware: this site is highly addictive and motivating!
6. Running and Rambling: In addition to top-notch product and gear reviews, this blog features race reports,
photo tours, general training discussions, and “occasional assorted nonsense”. Authored by a recreational athlete, father, and barefoot aficionado, this blog will undoubtedly pique your interest.
7. RunnerSpace: Runner’s Space is a stellar site to find the best running news: from 
high school to elites; this site will fill you in on everything happening in the running world!
8. Running Times: Running Times has a great supply of training resources for all types of runners. It also contains a list of high-profile marathon bloggers that share life stories, experiences,
training secrets, and personal insights. Recent marathon sensation and Olympic Team Qualifier Desiree Davila has a few posts to get you started!
9.Runner’s World: Runner’s World is America’s mecca for running information. It provides an array of interesting articles about virtually every element about running including: 5k and 10k
training plans, pace workouts and charts, half-marathon training plans , marathon training plans, strength training/cross training, and so much more. If you have any minor or major questions about running, this is your website!
10. Scott’s Blog: On and Off the Trails: If you haven’t heard of ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek, you’re missing out! Dubbed” Hero of Running” by Runner’s World Magazine, Jurek is a true competitor, ambassador, and inspiration in the sport. His blog features a plentiful variety of stories, tips, and insights. Definitely a great blog if you’re looking for motivation or interesting read!

Some others to check out:

-BRC/Adidas Blog: For great insights and stories from some of Colorado’s speediest elites.
Colorado Runner Magazine: For the scoop on race results and reviews in Colorado. A great source for the top news in running—ranging from high school to the masters level.
-Kids Running: a great website for the little runners! Features some great information about how to train safely and properly as a youngen!

What are some of your favorite websites and blogs to read? Let us know!



Contact: Redline Running Co.
  • P.O. Box 1047, Erie, CO 80516
  • (303) 834-7717

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