Apr 22

Race Ready Workouts

I wanted to share some of my favorite workouts with you today. As most of you know, I’ve been training in three disciplines – swim, bike and run – to get ready for three different races – marathon, duathlon and triathlon. Most weeks have been pretty grueling but, I love every minute. Right now, I’m days away from the NJ Long Branch Marathon so, while in taper mode, I’ve been daydreaming about all my hard efforts.


Mental game is huge on race day. The more I think about all the hard work that will lead me to the start, the more prepared I will be when things inevitably start to suck get really challenging in the race.

Here are my favorite swim, bike and run workouts from the past three months:


15 miles with 4,4,4

2 mile warm up

4 miles @ Marathon Pace

4 miles @ Half Marathon Pace

4 miles @ Almost Tempo

1 mile cool down

For this effort, I found the flattest stretch of 2 miles of road possible. I did the entire workout in 2 mile increments and was mentally able to break it down into manageable segments. Unfortunately for me, the day I did this was pretty windy and there were a few uphill sections, but afterward I felt like I could conquer the marathon.

Mind and Body Lessons:

1. You lean how to feel your marathon target pace and how to hold it: I tried to keep it without looking at my watch

2. Maintain a pace you don’t think you can for the last four miles of a very challenging workout: This will be a huge advantage when you have tired legs for the last 6.2 miles!…at least I’m hoping for that!

I need to remember this feeling! I took this right after doing the above workout and I felt strong and happy!

I need to remember this feeling! I took this right after doing the above workout and I felt strong and happy!

BIKE (on a trainer or spin bike)

Warm-up: 15 minutes total done as:

5 minutes easy, cadence > 90rpm | 5 min of 30 second alternations between 100 and 80rpm | 5 min at 95+rpm

Main Set: Each set is done at a gear which allows cadence of 65-70rpm in specified heart rate zone:

Set 1: 3 x 2 min Z2-Z3, 1 min rest between, sitting in easy gear

Set 2: 3 x 2 min Z2-Z3, 1 min rest between, standing in big gear

Set 3: 3 x 2 min Z2-Z3, 1 min rest between, sitting in big gear

Cool down: 5 minutes easy

I was pretty cocky going into this ride, thinking it wouldn’t be that hard. I was seriously wrong. It was a very hard effort and I was dripping sweat when I was finished. Of course, I did a 40-minute strength training workout just before swaggering over to the bike. #KnockedDownAFewPegs

Mind and Body Lesson:

Don’t get cocky! The rides I will be competing in are hilly and long…and then I have to run afterward. I need to stay focused and think about my effort on the bike and not jump ahead (in my mind) to the run.

Stay focused and have fun.

Stay focused and have fun.



Warm-up: 300 swim with good form, 4 x 25 descending

Main Set:

5 x 100 fast, 10 second rest intervals

3 x 500 done as 250 moderate, 250 hard, 30 second rest intervals

4 x 50 pull, 15 second rest intervals

Cool down: 200 swim with alternating stroke

Total: 2800 yards

When I was able to hold the 100s with only 10 seconds of rest in between sets, I knew I was finally gaining endurance in the water! This was a real eye opening workout for me.

Mind and Body Lessons:

If you don’t push yourself, you don’t know if you can do it. Lose the fear and just go for it. If you fail, hopefully the lifeguards will rescue you.

Seriously though, this is one of the reasons I need a coach when it comes to swimming. I have a fear of the open water and really pushing the limits when it comes to the swim in a race. These kinds of workouts have built my confidence along with my endurance and I would have never done something like this unless CRS made me told me to.

That moment right before you jump in and go for it.

That moment right before you jump in and go for it.

What are your favorite workouts?

What do you do that scares you?


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  1. OH
    this walker LOVES the mantra FEEL YOUR PACE FEEL YOUR PACE.
    for this
    race walking and life.
    CARLA recently posted…An introvert outside her comfort zone.My Profile

    1. Oh this runner can use that one for sure! Thanks Carla!

  2. Aw, thanks for sharing some of your favorite workouts here with all of us today 😉
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Ridiculous or Not – Moms, It’s All Worth ItMy Profile

  3. My goodness these workouts are serious! You have put so much work in Allie! #beastmode what am I scared of? My first 26.2 of course!!! I’m terrified but I have faith in my training that will happen and faith in myself too.
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Crossover JacksMy Profile

    1. You have to trust the training. When the time comes, you will be ready!!…and I hope I’m there to see it!

  4. That 4-4-4 workout is such an awesome confidence builder!! I love the tough runs too (although I didn’t have as many as I wanted this cycle- my body just wasn’t feeling it). Enjoy obsessing over all those numbers and knowing that YES, you did enough and you will rock this race!!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…The Boston experienceMy Profile

    1. Thanks Laura! I’m definitely thinking about that one as I have pool-only workouts or none at all. Embrace the taper!

  5. I love these photos of you! So cool.

    I haven’t done a workout that scares me in a long time…maybe I need to change that!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…I Mustache You Some QuestionsMy Profile

    1. Well you did just have a baby and that is scary for sure so…

  6. Those are all killer workouts! I agree: if you can nail that run workout you can nail your marathon goal. Speaking of–how are you feeling? Very excited for you!

    You’ve made such awesome progress in the pool. Very impressed that you’ve done that swimming solo. I do my best work in the pool in a master’s group, no question!
    misszippy recently posted…Two half marathons/one week apartMy Profile

    1. I’m feeling crazy! One minute I’m super confident and the next I’m asking myself why I even decided to run a marathon, you know, typical taper stuff. Other then the slight peroneal tendonitis in my left foot, I feel good and I’m ready! The forecast is 58 and partly cloudy so it should be a great day to race.
      I would much prefer to swim in a master’s group too! I need to find out when mine meets…

  7. I want to try the 4-4-4 workout – it sounds challenging but so confidence-boosting! I love those workouts that let me know I’m race ready; even if I have a bad race day, I know I’m still where I want to be in running. You are going to do great in your race!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…In Medias Race (The Training in between Training)My Profile

    1. Exactly! You can’t control how you’re going to perform one day out of 365 but, training runs like that prove you are making progress. Thanks so much Laura.

  8. I really love all of my “on land” workouts. Running and biking for sure. I do go into the pool but I am afraid of the open water side of the deep end so I swim by the edge for extra mental security.
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Shamrock 8K Run ReviewMy Profile

    1. I hear ya! The first time I swam in a pool that had an enormous deep end, it was a little daunting. The pool at the Y is only 8 feet, so it’s totally manageable.

  9. I love track workouts and hill repeats…I can’t wait to dive back into them this summer!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Improve your Running Game with Champion’s #ALLGAINNOPAIN clothing line!My Profile

    1. I didn’t do a lot of hill repeats as this is a fairly flat course, but I do love them! And speed workouts always scare me but when they’re completed I feel like a million bucks.

  10. Don’t get cocky is a big lesson… I get hurt of F*&% something up every time I get to confident. Still have to focus… look! Squirrel!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Semi-Homemade Spaghetti DinnerMy Profile

    1. YES!!! Exactly. Thanks Laura.

    • Kim on April 22, 2015 at 9:07 PM
    • Reply

    I’ve said this before but you are a total bad-ass!!!
    Is your marathon this coming weekend? I know you are going to crush it!
    Kim recently posted…Too Many Rewards?My Profile

    1. Hahaha thanks Kim! YES, it’s this Sunday and we go off at 7:30am ET!

  11. Love the 4 4 4 running workout. I’ve yet to make the cycle swim switch… maybe one day!
    emma @ be mom strong recently posted…What a Nutrition Specialist EatsMy Profile

    1. I bet your husband would be pretty happy if you did 🙂

  12. It’s funny you ask that. I actually just did a workout (flywheel) that really scared me. I’m glad I did though because it was a lot of fun. I need to do some race ready workouts and begin training for 5ks again.
    Hollie recently posted…Competing for St. JudeMy Profile

    1. FlyWheel is serious!! I did one class last year and it was intense. I loved it but it definitely scared me a little bit too 🙂 I can’t wait to see what kind of times you pull when you start training for 5ks!!

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