August 27, 2013

Ladder intervals

According to the Hansons' marathon schedule, my Tuesday runs from now (well, last week) until the marathon are "strength" runs. These are similar to speed work, only the intervals are longer (1-3 miles per interval), and the pace is much slower (10 seconds per mile slower than marathon pace). Today, I was supposed to do 4 x 1.5 miles at 8:48/mi pace. I really didn't want to do that workout, and not because I didn't feel like running; it just feels like a race pace run with a few breaks thrown in, and that isn't very challenging.

The Hansons' plan is very marathon-goal-specific, so if I had my heart set on a goal for the Chicago marathon, I'd follow the strength runs on Tuesdays to the letter. But I don't want to just forget about doing speed work for the next several weeks, so I decided to go back to the speed workouts and continue doing those instead of the strength runs. The speed workouts are shorter, faster intervals, where I really push the pace. These will help me keep up my speed for my shorter distance races after the marathon is over.

So instead of today's 4 x 1.5 mile intervals, I chose to do ladder intervals--something I've never actually done before! This would consist of 400 meters, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, and then 400, at 5K-ish pace (7:30/mi); all of these would have a 400-meter recovery jog in-between. I liked the idea of a variety, and I knew the 7:30 pace would be tough, especially for the 1600 meter (1 mile) interval.

I set up the entire workout on my Garmin, so that I wouldn't have to think much while doing it. It was thunder storming outside, so I chose to use the treadmill (I like the treadmill for intervals, anyway). I've been watching the fifth season of Breaking Bad on Netflix, and it's a pretty short season. I'm almost done with it already!

Anyway, I started with a one-mile warm-up. I set the treadmill at 6.0, and then just kept increasing it by 0.1 mph each tenth of a mile. After the warm-up, I started the first interval. It wasn't too bad! The second one was tougher. By the third, I was thinking, "Oh, man, why didn't I just stick with the strength run today?" I was really nervous about the "top" of the ladder, the one-mile interval. That one seemed to take FOREVER. Once I finished that one though, it was all downhill (er, down the ladder...), because the intervals would get shorter each time.

After the 1-mile interval, I was doing the 1/4 mile recovery jog, lost in Breaking Bad. One minute, I was trotting along, watching the show, and the next second, I almost ran through the wall (okay, that's definitely an exaggeration, but I did run into the front of the treadmill, banging my hip pretty hard). The power had gone out (from the storm), which made the belt on the treadmill come to an instant stop, while I kept running. Bahaha, that was pretty funny.

And you know what my first thought was? "Yes! The power went out! Now I don't have to finish my intervals!" I decided to wait five minutes before calling the workout quits and getting into the shower. At around minute number four, the power came back on. So, I truly had no excuse not to get back on there.

It was a tough workout today! But I really liked doing the ladder intervals for variety. It looked interesting on the pace graph:

Doing the ladders definitely made the miles fly by. Since I was focused on each individual interval, I didn't realize that I'd run nearly seven miles by the time I was done.

I've been really getting into a "fall" mood lately, so I decided to make Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Baked Oatmeal for breakfast. It's a hefty 9 PointsPlus, but it sounded SO good today. It makes six servings, so I can just heat it up each morning for the next five days.

After breakfast, my friend Jake stopped by with his kids. He has a son Eli's age, and boy-girl twins who are, I think, three years old. The little girl kept asking me, "Where's your girl?" She's so adorable! I just had to keep reminding her that I am the only girl in this house, and she seemed to think that was very strange. The twins were very interested in the cats, and I'm glad my cats are people-friendly, because they definitely got a lot of attention today.

For Taste Test Tuesday this week, I bought these Salted Caramel Biscotti by Nonni's:

Holy smokes, these are SO good! If you like the salty-sweet combo, you will love these. They have everything as far as taste and texture--crunchy, smooth, salty, and sweet. They're only 100 calories, so they make the perfect treat to go with my salted caramel tea :)


  1. Whoa, that looks really good! Where did you buy the biscotti?

  2. Almost 7 miles in an hour... holy sh*t!

    1. I totally agree, I can't belive how fast she runs! She is awesome though!

  3. The oatmeal looks delicious! Would you ever consider doing a "day in the life" post, food wise, where you show us how you typically break down your meals, PointsPlus-wise (or calorie-wise)? I have trouble balancing my PPV optimally throughout the day.

  4. your warm up is my fast pace lol

  5. Your treadmill workout would kill me. LOL :) I love the Nonni's biscotti! I have one with my coffee some mornings and I love the lemon or plain one. I'll have to try those.

  6. Danggggg those are some fast intervals. Great job! Breaking Bad is so good! I am sad there are only five episodes of it left.

  7. So excited I looked up the biscotti on the wegmans website and they carry them! Yes :)

  8. Yikes ... I rarely can even get to 6mph on the treadmill, I do 5 and then have to slow it to just over 3 to recover. I do LOVE watching shows while working out though. I'd feel super guilty spending time just sitting and watching, but if I'm on the elliptical or treadmill, then it's all good! I read while on the stationary bike.


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