speed & interval sessions

Training for a race? Tips for getting stronger, faster… and maybe even a new PR!

Believe me, I’m no elite and not the guru of all things racing. BUT… I have PRed a lot over the years and more recently, my hubby has started KILLING it at road races! So we pulled some thoughts together – nothing you probably haven’t read before – and wanted to share a few tips that have worked for us.


Finish line celebration at this year’s M3S Sports Cap City Half – Deedra (second from left) pulled out a new personal record and her first sub 2 hour finish! 

1) Make time for speed training. 

From my first to my second half marathon, the only thing I changed was adding in speed work ~ and a pinch of confidence knowing I could go the whole distance ~ which resulted in a 10+ minute PR! I broke the two hour barrier on that second attempt and have made that my goal for most half marathons since. Speed training will benefit you and your body in SO many ways including shredding body fat, building your endurance and more. Read one of our older posts on speed training HERE.

We do a lot of speed work at Shred 415 Sawmill, but also hit up the track on occasion, do outdoor tempo runs and when we’re feeling really ambitious, meet for hill repeats out on the Dublin trails!

Shred Fitness 415 Dublin Sawmill -12

2) Find the right training plan.

Many of us are training for the fall Columbus half marathon. We posted some of our favorite half marathon training plans back in January 2018, some of which we still love. Our Living Fit runners all like Hal Higdon’s plans and we typically use them as a template, then modify based on where we are in “life.” The one we are using this fall is a mix of his intermediate and advanced plans with 4+ days of running per week including hills & speed sessions.

We also like the Shred 415 Half Marathon Training Program. It’s perfect for the minimalist runner that only wants 3-4 runs per week and a lot of cross & strength training! We have been LOVING Shred 415 Sawmill this past year ~ see why HERE ~ and were excited to find a plan geared towards us distance junkies.

Shred 415 Half Marathon

Other plans – the Hanson method for instance – will have you running a LOT more mileage. Find what works for you, your body, your schedule… and remember to always be flexible when life comes your way!

3) Summon your inner rock star & engage your mental toughness. 

You hear this a lot in the running world… “Running is 90% mental.” Agree! You have to be willing to push your body, even when your mind is telling you “this is hard, quit, walk” etc.

Screen Shot 2019-09-08 at 10.55.40 AM

My husband is much better at ‘pushing through’ during a run than I am. When it gets hard for me, I want to slow down… or even walk (and pending the run, sometimes I do!) When it gets hard for him, he turns his music up a bit louder and somehow just pushes forward, often faster. He says he visualizes the finish line and also tries REALLY hard to not let anyone pass him.

“You have to be able to push through pain and adversity in many aspects of life… it’s no different when you’re running. You can’t give up.” -thoughts by Joey Gellenbeck  🙂

Blog post Sep 2019 Joey cap city

Joey EC 1

Joey had huge PRs this year at the M3S Sports Cap City Half (finish time of 1:35) and the Emerald City Quarter (finish time of 41:33) – attributing it to consistent training, regular long runs and speed+strength sessions at SHRED 415 Sawmill!  


Regardless of all of the tips above, some times your performance just comes down to race day. In spite of all the training, there are so many variables, some races just may not go your way.

But sometimes, all the stars align. The weather is perfect. The course is ideal. You settle into your pace – perhaps a bit uncomfortably – but your training pays off. Some may call it “race day magic.” Others just call it kicking a*s. Either way, you cross the finish line, look at the clock, and smile.

Blog post Sep 2019

-Kara Goucher 


Tour of Columbus // RISE Fitness Community

Tour of Columbus – RISE Fitness Community, Upper Arlington, Ohio 

[by t gellenbeck]

We have toured a LOT of fitness places around Columbus. Some are “okay” and we are glad we made the visit to check it out. Some are so good we blog about them and include on our Tour of Columbus recaps and visit now and then.

And rarely, we fall in LOVE and will continue going back time and time again.

This has only happened with a handful of places in Cbus since the onset of this blog four years ago. You probably already know that we are obsessed with VPower Yoga, Harbor Yoga and Orange Theory Fitness. Well, add another studio to that short list!

I started attending RISE Fitness Community for their December challenge last month and absolutely fell in love! This is a runner’s dream and the perfect combination of running, speed work, cross training (variety of options including HIIT classes and runner specific strength training in run club classes) and knowledgable coaches that are all runners themselves.


Although there are a wide variety of run classes and HIIT classes, my work and family schedule has only allowed me to try two different types so far, Rise Run Club (RRC) Power and RRC Precision. As a distance runner, I’m (typically) good about getting in the mileage & the long runs with friends… but I’m always looking to add strength training and speed work to my routine. RISE offers the perfect combination!

RRC Precision is an hour long class where you rotate in 10 minute intervals between the treadmill and your yoga mat, doing runner-specific strength training and floor exercise intervals. RRC Power is very similar, but you do the 30 minute treadmill portion first, then hit the yoga mat for the second 20-30 minutes.  Both classes include a warm up and cool down. Get there a tad early and you can likely get in some additional time on the treadmill as you warm up!  I can almost always count on getting in 3.5 – 4 miles or more.

All of the RRC classes have the option to utilize heart-rate based training. Strap that bad boy on and push yourself into the four different zones throughout your workout! Your trainer will guide you through the session and like any good run coach, will also motivate you, believe in you… and PUSH you! I seriously feel like I could go conquer a marathon after I’ve finished a workout here.  Although I don’t plan to any time in the future. 🙂

I’m excited to check out other classes, especially RISE & RENEW – you start on the treadmill, and then end with a yoga session. Seriously?  My two favorite things! This is the best combination since peanut butter and jelly!!

There are also HIIT classes that take place in the front studio and do not include treadmill running. I haven’t taken this class, but we did a few workouts in the front area…


When I told the owners, Michelle Flemming & Jessica Kopp, that I wanted to rave about RISE in a blog post, they were willing to answer a few questions for me. I love including things from the owner’s perspective!  Here are a few tidbits from co-owner, Michelle…

Why did you start RISE?

“We started RISE to help more people find health. We believe that each person is on Earth for a purpose and if they are healthy, they can do it with zeal. The world is a better place when people are doing what they are meant to do. Thomas Jefferson said, “Exercise and recreation are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary, because health is worth more than learning.” The root of everything is having a healthy body, mind and soul. RISE is working towards that every day.

From a business perspective, we wanted to be the first to open a running studio in Columbus so that we could expand our love of running to our programming. Running studios are popping up around the country just like cycling did ten years ago. We love being a part of this action-packed opportunity.”


Me with co-owner, Michelle Flemming

What is your experience as a runner and how does that help make RISE specifically beneficial for runners?

“Both Jess and myself have been runners for a long time. We were athletes growing up in sports that required at least 5 miles per game. After our sport specific days came to an end, we both desired a physical challenge, to feel strong again and of course a little competition (even if it just with ourselves). We ran for exercise and for mental health, but when RISE Run Club came about, we discovered another level of training. We are healthier and stronger athletes than we were ever before, and the best part is that our RISE athletes are actually in better shape than us! Although it is a pride check to get out run by one of our athletes, it is the exact reason that we do what we do: to bring out the best in people.”

Can you give us a quick rundown of the classes and programs you offer to benefit runners?

“We offer RISE Run Club and HIIT IT classes all day, every day of the week and our athletes reach their goals using any combination of the two. In addition to these large group exercise programs, twice annually we offer a half & full marathon training program (July & February). We love helping our athletes set a lofty goal, overcome obstacles, and cross that start line. The finish line is just some extra icing, and it is only after our runners do it that they realize the journey was just as sweet as the glorious finish.”


Both owners and all the instructors we’ve met so far are kind, genuine and super motivational. They want you to work hard towards your goals, whether its getting into running, training for your first 5K or trying to qualify for Boston. That last one’s not on my personal bucket list, but I’m only half crazy!!

If you want to check it out, they offer first class free and have ongoing specials, challenges & more.  Tomorrow is FRIEND FRIDAY so bring a new training buddy to sweat it out with you and you’ll both receive a free class added to your account!

I really can’t say enough good things about this studio, the workout(s) and the people. I will be a long-term athlete here and can’t wait to have them help me cross many finish lines over the coming years… starting with th



Left to right // Jen (new member!), Jessica (co-owner), & me in the obnoxious neon 🙂

Weekly Workout – Interval [treadmill] Training II

[t gellenbeck]

For yesterday’s speed session, I did a “ladder” interval workout.  My brother, a former Track & Field sprinter and state qualifier (yes, I’m bragging, but I’m a proud big sister!) once told me that ladders were one of the best speed workouts for getting faster.  They are also a nice change to your regular routine!

I did this at 5AM, so I needed a slower paced warmup to wake up my body.  Feel free to adjust to your own level, but make sure you warmup for 10-15 minutes at a comfortable, easy pace.

Following the warmup, the ladder begins!  It can be any time or distance you’d like, depending on how much time you have (I was limited) or what distance you’re training for.  A good goal would be 20-30 minutes or 2-3 miles.  Conclude with a short cool down and stretch.

Below is what my exact run looked like, feel free to modify!

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 10.28.59 PM

I did not rest at all between intervals due to my time constraint ~ plus once my body warmed up, I was feeling good!  Take rest breaks or recovery laps as needed, you know your body best.  One advantage of rest/recovery is that your intervals will likely be stronger.

Each week/time I try it, I will likely increase the speed and/or duration to gradually challenge myself and add rest as needed.

Do what works for you!

Here is another ladder workout from Triathalon.competitor.com ->

  • 15 minute warmup
  • At your 5K race pace, run a 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400 with 1-2 minute rest between each interval
  • If you’re training for a half or full marathon, add a 1600 and additional 1200 into the mix (sorry, longer race distance = longer training runs 😉
  • 10 minute cool down
  • If this is too easy or after a few weeks of conditioning, decrease the recovery and/or increase the distance and/or intensity

For more info and details on ladder workouts, check out this article, How Running Ladders Work.

Try to make sure you are getting in at least one speed, interval and/or hill session per week and one tempo session per week.

Run fast & stay fit!

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 11.15.35 PM
Disclaimer:  I am not an expert, just a seasoned runner.  Please consult your doctor and make sure you have been running, injury-free, for 6-12 months before introducing speed work! 


Weekly Workout – Interval [treadmill] Training

[t gellenbeck]

While many of our running groupies are racing a half marathon this summer, I personally am focusing on a shorter distance ~ the 10K.  I’m somewhat pleased with my 5K, half marathon and marathon PRs, but my 10K one is less than stellar.  Therefore, many of the interval and speed sessions I’ll be attempting over the next 8-10 weeks will be geared towards that shorter distance.

For you half marathoners out there, a common goal is to break two hours.  This magical finish time is the one several of our runners have set their sights on for their spring race. If you want to see that 1:59:59 on the finish time clock, you need to keep your pace at 9 minutes & 9 seconds [or faster] per mile.  During training, you want to get your body used to running this pace, so running your tempo and some of your intervals at that 9:09 [or faster] will help you mentally and physically prepare for your half marathon pace [HMP] goal.  You can do it!   Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 10.47.57 PM

For today’s speed session, I kept the 2 hour half marathon finish time in mind.  My ‘recovery’ pace was a 9:05/mile ~ this way your HMP seems easy compared to the rest of the workout!

You can substitute songs as desired below [hey, not everyone is a Tswift fan!] but the just of it is to alternate periods of speed with periods of recovery [your HMP].  Take 30-60 second breaks between songs as needed, eventually working up to NOT needing breaks.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 10.53.25 PM

I was sweaty and felt like I got in a great run.  Hope you can make it work for you!

Try to make sure you are getting in at least one speed/interval session per week and one tempo session per week.  Hill work is never a bad idea either.

Good luck & stay fit!
Disclaimer:  I am not an expert, just a seasoned runner.  Please consult your doctor and make sure you have been running, injury-free, for 6-12 months before introducing speed work!