Marathon Mama: Different types of run options

Hogeye MarathonThe Hogeye Marathon is about a month away and there’s something for everyone – races of all distances, volunteer opportunities, and lots of room to just watch the running show.

We’ll have two more posts from Northwest Arkansas mom Beth Gallini in the Marathon Mama series before race day and Beth said she’d love to hear from new runners (or any level, really).

If you have a question for Beth — or if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered here — feel free to email her at

Here’s Beth’s latest Marathon Mama post:

At first running seems straightforward – lace up your shoes and head outside.  However, it won’t be long before you’ll find yourself getting more curious about how you can take things one step further.

Whether you want to extend how far you can go, reach the finish line faster, or become a stronger runner, varying the types of runs you do each week can help.

Here are different types of runs you can add to your training:

running womanLong run – The long run is a staple run for any distance runner.  In its simplest form, this run is the longest run of the week.  The length of your long run will vary according to your goals.  Someone training for a 10K or half marathon will have shorter long runs than someone training for a marathon.  These runs are normally run at a slow pace (60-90 seconds slower than your goal pace).

The goal is to get accustomed to being on your feet for longer periods of time.  You will get the same physiological benefits as you would if you ran faster, but you will reduce your risk of injury by keeping your pace easy.

Easy/recovery run – Easy runs are run at a slow pace and are runs that allow you to get extra mileage during the week while allowing your body to recover from harder workouts.

Speed workThe last post in this series covered how to introduce speed work and I would encourage you to reference those tips before adding in any of the speed workouts below:

  • Fartleks – Despite the silly name, fartleks are a great way to introduce speed work.  Fartleks are unstructured speed work where you add surges of speed into an easy run.  You can do this by running fast until you reach the third street light, five cars pass you, or any other form of measurement.
  • Hill repeats – Hills are speed work in disguise and will quickly make you a stronger and faster runner.  To perform hill repeats, you will want to find a hill that will take you 20-90 seconds to run up, run at about a 5K effort, and then run easy downhill for recovery.  Hills encourage proper form and will make you a more efficient runner.
  • Tempos – Tempo runs help you learn how to run faster for longer periods of time.  They are run at a “comfortably hard” pace that falls between your 10K and half-marathon pace.  Those who are new to tempo runs or training for shorter distances will want to work up to a tempo run of about 20 minutes in length, whereas more experienced runners or those training for longer distances will want to work up to a 40-60 minute tempo run.
  • Intervals – Intervals are a more structured and advanced form of speed work and should only be introduced once you have a comfortable base and have already incorporated other forms of speed work.   Tracks are the best place to run them because they are flat, a standard distance, and you can easily measure how far you are running.   One lap around most tracks is 400 meters, which is a quarter of a mile. Common interval workouts include 400s, 800s, or 1600s with a recovery distance in between each interval.  You will want to run hard for each interval, but do not go all out.

Rest days – Taking days off to allow your body to recover are just important as all of the other training you do!

McMillan Running offers a calculator where you can enter recent race time and it will provide you with training paces for a variety of runs.

Beth Gallini runningAbout Beth: Beth is mom, runner, running coach, and the blogger behind RUNNING around my kitchen.  She and her husband adopted two boys who are a month apart and are 1 year old. Beth serves on the board for the Hogeye Marathon and is interested in helping other moms with their training and answering any questions you have.   Be social, connect with other Hogeye runners, and let them hear from you by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  #hogeyemarathon


Funny Friday: A dad’s rant about a 4th grader who was kicked out of school

This episode of Funny Friday is being brought to you by a Northwest Arkansas dad who likes to rant about TV commercials, news articles and blog posts.

one ringHe recently ran across a news story about a 4th-grader who was suspended from school for what the teachers deemed was a bullying situation involving the Lord of the Rings ring.

Here’s our local dad’s tongue-in-cheek rant:

A 10-year-old boy was recently suspended for threatening to render one of his classmates invisible using the One Ring, you know the magic trinket from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films and books.

I know society today is careful about bullying, but in this case it should be a no harm no foul decision.

The kid making the threats has no idea what he’s talking about, therefore the threats were not valid. Being uninformed is not bullying. It’s simply and aggressive form of not paying attention.

Any teacher involved should have picked up on this. Maybe we can’t expect them to keep up with such a gigantic film franchise as The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, but they are based on epic works of literature.

If you were awake during any of the movies, or heaven help us skimmed the book, you know you can’t use the One Ring to turn others invisible, so it’s  not even an authentic make-believe threat.

Spoiler alert here, assuming the One Ring wasn’t actually, how should I say this, oh NOT REAL, the One Ring turns THE PERSON WHO WEARS IT INVISIBLE.

The only way the alleged bully could turn the other kid invisible using the ring would be to give the threatened kid the prized object. If that happened, the bullied kid could turn himself invisible, kick the bully in the butt while invisible and claim the ring for himself, set himself up at the Dark Lord and otherwise wreak havoc.

So, the threat of turning someone invisible by using the One Ring is really the same as saying, “Hey, wanna be an all-powerful evil dude?”

So, once again no threat.

It is, in fact, an awesome gift for most of us with aspirations of world domination.

More to the point, being invisible is not the same thing as being insubstantial. Turing someone invisible doesn’t hurt them. In fact, ask most people what superpower they’d want and most will say flight. But many would choose invisibility.

Once again, clearly no threat.

It’s like saying to a kid, “You better watch yourself or I’m going to give you super-strength or x-ray vision.”

If you’re going to punish anyone here, you need to punish the teachers for not knowing the basic premise of a wonderful book or being so out of touch they’ve never seen any of the films. Not one of those involved in this fiasco thought, “Yo kid, stick to ‘Your mom dresses you funny,’ because you have no grasp of the plot here.

Valid Hobbit-based threats might be, “That big white Orc guy from The Hobbit is a personal friend of mine and if you don’t give me your lunch money, I’ll give him your address and tell him you’re related to Thorin Oakenshield.”

Or something like, “Hey, if you don’t invite me to your birthday party, I’m going to tell all those dwarves from The Hobbit about it and get them to show up, eat all your food, and sing depressing dwarf songs till midnight.”

A fit punishment is to have the teachers at this school read The Hobbit to their classes. Maybe then everyone will learn something.

Dad rant over and out.

Five Minutes with a {New} Mom: Ashley Miller

Ashley Miller

Name: Ashley Miller

Baby’s name and age: Hattie, 7 weeks

What has been an unexpected joy of motherhood? The instant love I felt for her. You always hear moms talk about that, but I didn’t realize how that would really feel.

Hattie (Ashley Miller's baby)

Has anything been harder than you expected? The lack of sleep, especially those first 4 weeks, was much more difficult than I was prepared for.

Where are you from and how long have you lived in NWA? I grew up in Wynne, and have lived in NWA for 9 years. My husband moved here from Missouri 3 years ago.

Which songs are on your iPod right now? To be honest, I’m not sure. I haven’t used it in so long. If I’m not near a radio I typically use Pandora instead.

What’s your favorite tv/Netflix show? My new favorite is Scandal. I recently binge watched from Netflix while on bed rest and was hooked.

Do you have any fun hobbies? I love any type of craft project when I have time.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be? I have always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand!

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life? I’ve never really thought about it, but since you mentioned it, Jennifer Garner.

What superpower would you love to have for one day? I would love to be able to teleport so that I could travel around the world. I’ve even had a dream that I could do this!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn? To cook well without needing to use recipes.

What three things do you always have with you? Chapstick, a ponytail holder, and most recently…Hattie.

As a new mom, you need a few guilty pleasures. What’s your favorite? Lately it has been an hour or so to roam around Target!

One word to sum me up: Organized

Photo credit: Melissa Brawner Photography

Marathon Mama: How to add speed work

marathon mama, speed work

By Beth Gallini, runner mama of 2

When you first start running, just getting outside and getting used to running is exciting.

Your pace and distance are not important. Instead what is important is that you are out there and building consistency.  At some point, though, you will find yourself wanting more. You’ll want to improve, you’ll want to become a stronger runner, and you’ll want to challenge yourself.  This is when you will likely start thinking about speed work.

Speed work is the best thing you can do to get faster and to see improvement, but it is critical that you do it the right way to reduce your risk of injury.

This post will cover the basic rules of speed work and help you learn what to do and what not to do. Next time we meet, I’ll cover different types of runs, which will include different forms of speed work.

Speed work rules that work:

Build a base. It’s important to have built a good base where you’ve been running consistently at least 3 times a week, for at least 3 months, with an average weekly mileage of at least 20 miles per week before you add speed work.

Add it slowly. Experienced runners may do a speed workout twice a week, one of which may be an intense track workout. That is not where you want to start. Start introducing speed work in small chunks and get used to doing one hard workout a week before you do more than that.

You could begin by adding quick bursts of faster running to an easy run, such as a running faster for two minutes three times during a run. You could also pick one run a week where you want to run an increasing amount of that run at a faster pace—you could start at five minutes and work up to a longer period from there.

Don’t add too much. Regardless of your experience, you should always be careful not to do too much speed work.  A good rule of thumb is that speed work should not be more than 20% of your total weekly mileage.

Take easy days EASY. When you start to add speed work into your training, it becomes critically important to take easy days easy. Almost everyone runs too fast on easy runs and running slower than you want to run can be a hard adjustment. However, if you run too fast on easy days, you will compromise your speed workout because your body needs to be fully recovered from prior runs. Go hard on hard days and easy on easy days.

Include a warm-up and cool-down. Don’t jump into speed work without allowing your body to warm up and do not end your workout without allowing your body to cool down. Your warm-up and cool-down should be about a mile or 10 minutes in length.

Let your body recover. It’s important to take an easy day or a rest day the day before and after a speed workout so your body can recover. You should never do hard workouts on subsequent days.

Know when to skip speed work. If you think you may have an injury coming on or something does not feel right, your best bet is to skip any speed workouts and not risk making anything worse than it may already be.

Speed work can be is a great way to build confidence, see hard work pay off, and to improve as a runner.  These basic rules will help get you started while helping to keep you injury-free.  Next time, we’ll cover different types of runs, which will include different types of speed workouts!

Remember: Prices for the Hogeye Marathon races go up again on February 17th!  Also be sure to check out our Facebook page if you are interested in joining us on Saturday mornings for one of our group runs!

Beth Gallini runningAbout Beth: Beth is mom, runner, running coach, and the blogger behind RUNNING around my kitchen.  She and her husband adopted two boys who are a month apart and are 1 year old. Beth serves on the board for the Hogeye Marathon and is interested in helping other moms with their training and answering any questions you have.   Be social, connect with other Hogeye runners, and let them hear from you by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  #hogeyemarathon

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