We all know the phrase “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” but, as my husband said recently “Is that really the baseline? Death?” It obviously shouldn’t be but, having a sense of “this may kill me” during a training session has it’s benefits.

WORKOUTSThat Almost Killed Me


You chose a race, you get a plan and you start to train. Your workouts should follow some type of base building phase and then gradually build mileage using speed, tempo, hills and various other workouts for a well rounded and race ready mind and body.

I agree that you should feel more energized than spent post workout. If you go hard each and every time, you will either get injured or quit. I believe in the absolute power of rest days and taking your easy days, truly easy. That takes courage and you need to be brave enough to run slower or not at all, in order to progress.

I believe in all of this, but I also believe in needing those workouts where you think you just may not be able to finish, have heavy legs, a screaming mind and possibly tears.



You how you build muscle? By making microscopic tears in it. That soreness you feel is the repairing of the muscle tissue which leads to bigger, stronger and perhaps better functioning muscle fibers. I strongly believe you also need a tearing down of you mind, to build your training up, in order to get to the next level.

If you are training for a race, this is especially important. There will come a time during that race when you will question everything, second guess your sanity and internally debate just why and how you came to be in this place and time. This is also known as the pain cave. It is during this time when you will need to think back to those death workouts. Knowing you survived them will push you to the finish.


I have them about once per month and thought, why should I keep this agony all to myself? Seriously though, I share them with you because I believe these workouts truly make me stronger in every conceivable way. And, you can bet when I feel the walls closing in during my upcoming triathlon, I will reflect on these specifically, and remember how I lived to train another day.


As if hill repeats alone are not hard enough, let’s add speed!

I do the above workout about every 4-6 weeks and it never gets easier. I just hope my coach doesn’t start adding to the .25 mile!


I did this one multiple times during my marathon training last year and I always felt incredible after it was done. I chose a two mile stretch of as-flat-as-I-could-find road and just ran back and forth for about two hours. It was a blast. Especially on windy days.

The outcome was a PR of 3:28 at the NJ Marathon and a struggle and fight to the finish for 3:31 at the NYC marathon so, I would say, it paid off.

We all have the “I’m going to die” training moments. Use them to your advantage and get a little bit stronger every day.

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Have a great weekend!

What was one of your death workouts from recent memory?

Do you believe in REALLY hard training efforts?