Author: rachel

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

“I had all and then most of you Some and now none of you Take me back to the night we met I don’t know what I’m supposed to do Haunted by the ghost of you Oh, take me back to the night we met” […]

Why Do I Need a Running Coach?

Why Do I Need a Running Coach?

It’s a fair question. In fact, if you are considering hiring a personal running coach and you haven’t asked yourself this question, we urge you to take a moment and consider it. Understanding how a coach can assist with your training and, more importantly, what you […]

Embrace the Fartlek

Embrace the Fartlek

What is a fartlek?

A fartlek, or pickup workout as it’s also sometimes referred to as, is a continuous training run where you alternate between slower and faster paces for given intervals of time. Although specific paces can be prescribed for the various intervals, paces used in fartlek workouts are usually effort-based. For example, one workout may ask a runner to alternate between recovery run pace and tempo run pace. The loose-structure of a fartlek workout makes it a highly versatile training tool, one that can be beneficial to runners of all levels. Below is some information regarding when and how to incorporate fartleks into your training!

When is a fartlek useful?

When you are just starting to get in shape or are coming back from an injury

The fact that fartlek workouts are time and effort based means they give a runner the freedom to run at a pace and intensity that is appropriate for their current fitness level. When you are just beginning to run or are getting back into running after a break, it can be easy to get wrapped up in trying to hit specific splits or mileage. You may get discouraged by what your GPS watch is telling you and wind up pushing yourself too hard to do more. During a fartlek workout, rather than obsessing over exactly how fast you are running or how much distance you have covered so far, you can simply focus on yourself and how you feel. Maybe you are tired after a bad night of sleep or are sore from your race a few days ago. Running based-on effort allows you to get in a solid workout but also encourages you to listen to your body.

When you are running in a new place or don’t have access to a track or marked path

The beauty of a fartlek is that it can literally be done anywhere. All you need in order to successfully complete it is a watch, and it doesn’t even have to be a GPS watch either! This makes the fartlek a very convenient workout for when you are traveling or have limited access to facilities. Say your training schedule calls for half mile repeats, but you are on a business trip in a city you have never visited before. Rather than waste time searching for a public track, simply convert your would-be half mile repeats into comparable time-based intervals. Now you can get your workout in at the park across from your hotel and not stress about hitting exact splits after a long day of travel.

When weather conditions are less than ideal

Bill Bowerman is famously quoted as once saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people”. While the point he was trying to make with that statement is an important one – successful people don’t make excuses – there is no denying the fact that weather conditions do impact performance to some extent. If it’s 100 degrees with 90% humidity, chances are you are going to run significantly slower for the sample level of effort. Conversely, if it’s 10 degrees out and the road is a little icy, you’ll likely also wind up running slower due to tight muscles and poor footing. Knowing when and how to adjust your training so you can safely and effectively train in sub-optimal weather conditions doesn’t make you soft, it makes you smart. A effort-based fartlek allows you to get in solid workout and may prevent you from straining to achieve paces that are unrealistic given the weather.

Sample fartlek workouts

The Pyramid

1:00 on / 1:00 off
2:00 on / 2:00 off
3:00 on / 3:00 off
2:00 on / 2:00 off
1:00 on / 1:00 off

As you get more fit throughout your training cycle, you can increase the length of each of the intervals to increase your total volume of work.

3:00 on / 3:00 off
4:00 on / 4:00 off
5:00 on / 5:00 off
4:00 on / 4:00 off
3:00 on / 3:00 off

The Inverted Pyramid

A slightly more challenging version of the Pyramid where you start and end with the longest intervals. The key to the Inverted Pyramid is to be relaxed and controlled early on so you can maintain your pace as you go back “up” the pyramid in the second half of the workout.

3:00 on / 3:00 off
2:00 on / 2:00 off
1:00 on / 1:00 off
2:00 on / 2:00 off
3:00 on / 3:00 off

Cut-downs

This workout is a great way to practice progressing and changing gears. Do 2-3 of the following set:

3:00 at tempo pace / 3:00 easy pace
2:00 at 10k pace / 2:00 easy pace
1:00 at 5k pace / 3:00 easy pace

To make this workout a bit longer and more challenging, turn it into a 5-3-1 cut-down with the same general structure. Again, do 2-3 sets of the following:

5:00 at tempo pace / 3:00 easy pace
3:00 at 10k pace / 2:00 easy pace
1:00 at 5k pace / 3:00 easy pace

3 Tips to Successfully Training in the Winter

3 Tips to Successfully Training in the Winter

With winter now officially in full swing, the ability for many runners to get in quality training is seriously under threat. Dangerous, unpredictable weather conditions may plague your town for days at a time, leaving you at a loss for exactly how you are going […]

Topo Athletic Road Shoes: What, When, and Why

Topo Athletic Road Shoes: What, When, and Why

According to a recent survey conducted by the Huffington Post, women over the age of 18 own 20 pairs of shoes on average. If they’re considering only regular, non-athletic shoes, this statistic is way off base for me; I typically cycle between no more than three […]

There and Back Again: A Runner’s Tale

There and Back Again: A Runner’s Tale

So far in my life, I have competed in the 3000m Steeplechase at the USATF Outdoor Championships twice. The first time was in 2013. I was coming off a huge break-out junior year at Cornell where I set a 23 second PR of 9:50 and finished 4th at the NCAA Championships. Although by the time I got to USAs I was pretty burned-out as a result of the long and rigorous collegiate season, I was still in the best steeple shape of my life, both physically and mentally.

I had run under 10:00 in each of my 6 steeples that Spring. This consistency was the result of not only the higher quality of training I had been putting in all year long, but of the overflowing reservoir of steeple-confidence I had built up. When I stood on the line before a steeple, there was never a shread of doubt in my mind about what I had to do and how I would do it. All of my strengths as a runner played into the steeple: my strong and durable build, my grit, my love of running from the front. A track with barriers in place and the water pit uncovered was my sanctuary. When I was there I was untouchable.

At the 2013 USATF Outdoor Championships in ran 10:22 and finished in 17th place. Going into the race I knew my body was pretty fried, but I was determined to put myself in the mix and make the race honest. I led for the first mile before being passed by basically the entire field and dying a glorious death. Despite coming in as the 14th seed, I was at peace with not making the final. I had given it all I had on tired legs. I had gotten the opportunity to compete against the Nation’s best. I had been there.

Flash forward to the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships. As I stood in the warmup area about to compete once more in the 3000m steeplechase, I couldn’t help but think about how different things were this time, about how different I was this time. So much had happened in four years. My senior year at Cornell was a highlight – I lowered my PR to 9:43 and once again took 4th at NCAAs – but the next three years were a roller coaster marred by one bad steeple experience after another. Injuries, falls, and bad luck had all but depleted my once plentiful store of steeple-confidence, making me fearful and resentful of an event which once brought me so much joy.

After a very successful 2017 indoor season where I ran 15:58 for 5k and qualified for the 2017 USATF Indoor Championships, I thought perhaps this would be the year where things would finally come back together for me in the steeple. In the end they did – I made the meet and ran 10:04 to take 18th – but not before taking me on yet another crazy ride.


Presenting: my journey to the starting line of the 3000m steeplechase at thee 2017 Outdoor Championships

March 25th – Ran 10:09 by myself at a tiny D3 meet on Long Island. I went out very conservatively as I was still unsure about my ability to navigate the water jump. The first jump of that race was actually the first I had done since I dropped out of the steeple at the Stumptown Twilight meet back in June of 2016. My jumps got better as the race went on, and I was able to pick it up every lap. I finished that race feeling really hopefully that my steeple troubles were behind me.

March 31st – DNF at the Stanford Invitational. Strained my hamstring on the 3rd water jump and had to drop out. After not dropping out of a single steeple (or any race) in my entire high school and collegiate careers, I had now DNF’ed in 4 of the last 7 steeples I had run.

April 1st – Decided on the flight home from San Francisco that I didn’t want to steeple again this year…possibly even ever again. Shifted focus to trying to make USAs in the 5k.

May 13th – Ran 4:26 for 1500. A good start.

June 1st – Ran 9:08 for 3000m. A 1 second PR and indication that I was ready to do big things in the 5k.

June 10th – Had the 5k where I was hoping to qualify for USAs go HORRIBLY wrong. It was hot. I was super dehydrated. My body gave out at 2 miles and I crawled home to finish in 16:24. I took three days off to try and recover, but it took almost 2 weeks of no workouts and easy running before I stopped feeling completely dead on my runs.

June 13th – Decided on a whim to enter my 10:09 for the steeple at USAs, knowing full well that a mark that slow had not made it in almost 4 years.

June 14th – Did hurdle drills for first time in almost 3 months.

June 15th – Attempted practice water jumps. First couple were absolutely dreadful: stuttering, two-foot landings, running at the barrier and then stopping last minute because I was scared. The next few went better – I got up and over them in once piece – but on the last one I landed funny and tweaked my right hamstring and knee.

June 16th – Painful run that had to be cut-short.

June 17th – Crosstrained. Got a massage to help loosen hamstring.

June 18th – Crosstrained. Hamstring was feeling better, but still not 100%. Seriously doubted whether or not I would be able to make it through 7 water jumps.

June 19th – Slowly jogged 4 miles. Found out my 10:09 was officially accepted to USAs.

June 20th – Ran 6 miles. Did 4 200s – my first ‘workout’ in almost 3 weeks – 37, 37, 36, 35. Got on a plane and flew to California.

June 21st – Easy 6 mile prerace run. Stopped at a local college track to do hurdle drills and hurdling. Decided at the last minute to try some practice water jumps. To my surprise and delight, my jumps went incredibly well. For the first time since I decided to enter, I thought I might just be able to make it through the race without something going terribly wrong.

June 22nd – Stood on the startling line. Finally felt ready. Finally felt excited. Finally felt like I was home.


The race itself was nothing spectacular. The first lap was a bit overwhelming what with everyone all bunched up. Even at the height of my steeple prowess I was never truly comfortable hurdling next to other people (hence why I bolted to the front in virtually every race) so I definitely freaked out a tad that first lap. I wound up going all the way to the back of the pack so I would have more space.

After 800 meters or so I had finally found my rhythm, so I started moving up. I got around a group of three girls only to discover that, while I had been hanging out on the end of the train, a massive gap had opened up in the field. The next girl now was almost half a straight away ahead.

I ended up running the entire last mile completely by myself…except for when this one chick snuck up on me and kicked me down in the last 150 -_- There was a point with 2 to go where I thought perhaps I could make a run at a girl who seemed to be falling off the pack that was in front of me, but I couldn’t really muster the motivation to do it. With all the uncertainty regarding whether or not I would make the meet and then whether or not I would actually physically be able to compete and finish the damn race, my competitive fire just wasn’t burning all that bright.

The truth is, I was pretty content with where I was and how things were going. I know it sounds kind of lame to essentially ‘settle’ at a national championship, and anyone who knows me well knows that being content with things is not often something you hear me say. But after everything that’s happened over the three years, simply being out there, where things were finally going right and I was truly enjoying it again, was enough for me.

Being a steeplechaser once more, a fearless, flying steeplechaser, was enough.

However, the moment I crossed the finish line, it was no longer enough. The moment last week’s race was over, all I could think was “when can I go do this again!?”

And that is not something I have thought in a very long time.

So it is with great pleasure that I announce that USAs was not the end of my track season, but rather (in quite unconventional fashion), only the beginning! I’m going to be competing on the track throughout the summer, continuing to have fun, *hopefully* sets season’s bests, and restock that steeple-confidence supply 🙂

 

 

@rachelandherlaces

@rachelandherlaces

A few weeks ago, I decided to change my Instagram handle from @runningbetweenthelines to @rachelandherlaces. Although I had grown quite fond of my former handle, I had been thinking for a while that I wanted a handle with my actual name in it so that […]

Stay The Course

Stay The Course

One of my family’s all time favorite movies is The Patriot, a historical fiction war film set during the American Revolutionary War. During any given family gathering, it’s not uncommon to hear one or more quotes from the movie tossed out: “A dog is a […]

Interview: Alicia Marie Eno Juyl, Boston Qualifier in all 50 States (+DC!)

Interview: Alicia Marie Eno Juyl, Boston Qualifier in all 50 States (+DC!)

Name: Alicia Marie Eno Juhl

Age: 39

Hometown: Munger, Michigan

College: Western MI University and Eastern Michigan University

Residence: Shrewsbury, MA

Distances: all from 5k to Ultra ( 50 miles longest race to date)

Notable Accomplishments:

  • Winner of 2016 Red Rock Canyon Marathon
  • Winner of 2016 Hoover Dam Marathon
  • Winner of 2016 Sweltering Summer Ultra
  • Winner of 2016 New York Syracuse Marathon
  • Third Women in US to complete a BQ marathon in every state and DC
  • 17th Women to complete the Sub 4 hour marathon club in December 2015 (A sub four hr. marathon in every state)
  • 8th in USATF-NE All Terrain Series 2016 year- 7th in Mountain Series, USATF-NE 2015
  • Iron Runner for the USATF-NE 2014

Before we get talking about marathons and Boston Qualifiers and such, tell us a bit about your running background – how you got into the sport of running, what team you compete for, who your sponsors are, etc.

I always loved running; I grew up in the country and was outside all the time. I did some high school track and then I raced my first race a 13.1 in college, loved it. That was the real start

I get up at 4 am daily. Usually 2 run a day 90 miles a week.

I am a Behavioral Psychologist working with Autistic Children. Love it.

Sponsors:

  • Sponsors- Skechers Performance Team
  • Amrita health food
  • Lace Lockers
  • rabbit
  • Swiftwick socks
  • Feed your crazy
  • OnlyAtoms
  • Nuttzo Peanut Butter
  • Irun4ultra
  • Honey Stinger Elite
  • Central Mass Striders racing

 

When and where did you run your first marathon? How did it go?

It was in OH in 2002. It was fine. No big deal, loved it, I think my time was 4:06

 

At what point did you decide you wanted to try and become a member of the 50 States Marathon Club? Once you began that journey, how did you go about training and scheduling races? How long did it take you to achieve it?

I just keep on doing marathons after my first one in 2002. A lot of ones that were close by me, in TN and MS when I lived in Memphis, TN. After a few years I realized I had enough states to join the club, (you need 10 different states). Then I joined and my goal was born. I scheduled out races each year and once I started to really work on it, it took me 4 years for all the states.

 

Can you explain what the Boston 50 Marathon Running Club is? How did your quest to join this even more prestigious group begin and, how did it feel to become the first female 5 star elite member?

It is a very new club, born this year. In order to be a 5 star member, one has to have completed a marathon in every state plus DC. I am still the only women in this club to do so; we have 2 more ladies that will complete this goal in early 2017.  A friend tagged me in a post for this club and I was then in! We are looking for other runners to help them in a goal of a BQ in every state as well.

 

So now that you have accomplished these two great feats, what’s next? Do you have any aspirations to join any other marathon clubs such as the Seven Continents Club or the 100 Marathon Club?

My big goal is a 3:00 marathon this year. My entire focus is here.

Long term: this year I will race a 24hr race in NJ in May. My goal here is 125 miles to make the long distance team for the USA list. Long term, I have big goals. We first have to see how this year progresses. I have a new coach and my training is much different. My first marathon in 2017 is at Houston, so I will see how my training pans out in early January.

I am in the 100 marathon club and finished my 100th marathon in TX in early Dec of 2015. I do plan to do the 7 continent club and the marathon majors. I have Berlin, Chicago, and Boston thus far.

Running Debates: Miles or Minutes?

Running Debates: Miles or Minutes?

Miles or minutes? Minutes or miles? It’s an age-old topic of debate among runners and coaches alike, one that seems to have only grown more fervent as new technologies have developed. In the past, when *all* watches did was tell time, running for minutes was […]