Introducing Speedwork (+ a Garmin Workout Tutorial)

So you just started a new training cycle after a nice little run-hiatus. Or you’re coming back from injury. Or you’ve been resisting “complicating” your stable-but-stale run routine with workouts that aren’t “go run xx miles/around the park/till you feel like stopping.” Whatever your situation, it’s about time to throw some speedwork in the mix, don’t you think?

Running fast is undeniably the best way to run faster (hills a very close second), and isn’t that what we’re all here on the internet reading running blogs to do? Get faster, get motivated, buy things you didn’t know you wanted but OMG NEED now?

Thought so.

I’ve proclaimed my love for the track, but it’s not always realistic to get there. 1) you might not have access to one 2) you might have access to one but it might be closed/dark/occupied/suck 3) going alone kind of sucks 4) trying to kill meter repeats at the start of a training cycle without a base is asking for i-word trouble. Don’t be dumb and get hurt, no matter how many times I scream my love for 800s on twitter. Start slow(ish).

Since I’m all flabby and out-of-shape but pressed for time to get in PR form before Carlsbad, I had to make a smart decision on Week One’s speed day. I needed something that would kick my ass, but not knock me so hard on it I’m toasted for the rest of the week.

Enter: 10x 60s on/off

Also enter for brain assistance: Garmin Workout Function

Now before we get into the how-tos and dirty deets, here’s why I love this workout:

It’s impossible to number crunch.

I said on Monday that staying out of the comparison trap would be key to this round of training. One of the most number-dangerous workouts? Speed intervals. Everything is calculated to the second and measured to the meter/.001 mile it’s hard not to fall victim.

With 60s on/off the only assignment is to run hard, then recover. No prescribed paces or formulas calculating what you should be able to run – just honest effort. If you’re breathing heavy at the end of hard, and just barely catching your breath after easy, you’re doing it right.


Sure I could check all those average paces and criticize post-run, but none of that is reported during. If I do set a goal next time I do this workout, it will be to simply try and get further than the 2.5 miles I ran for the 10x 60s portion this time. Partial Type-A’ing allowed.

And my final selling point: you don’t need any fancy gear and can do it anywhere! Em and I did this workout with an old Timex on the trail in Eugene when we couldn’t sneak onto Hayward for the scheduled track sesh. Was a fine substitute, I say.

Buuuuut, I might as well show you how to muddle up the simplicity and load it onto your GPS watch just to nullify that perk.

I showed you once upon a time how to use the Garmin Workout Function (I have the 405)  for 800m repeats, but thought it time for a refresher and a better pictorial. So here you go, for :60s Intervals!

Garmin Interval Workout

Garmin Interval Workout2

(your in-run prompts. beeps at end of each interval are loud and clear. tap bezel to switch to standard pace/dist screen)<— not recommended since this workout is anti-#s

Now that you got all the way through that, I should also tell you that you can log on to Garmin Connect and build workouts there a bit easier that’ll sync to your watch. Plan—>Workouts—>Send to Device. Will be loaded in Training—>Workouts—>Advanced.

Take this workout with you through your entire training cycle. Add reps as your endurance improves and make the “hard” efforts harder as you get faster. Or slow down the hard and speed up the recovery for a more tempo-like workout. Whatever your little legs desire (/need /yourplansays)

Sarah OUaL

My New Project & Where to Find Me bc I’m Definitely Not Here

Expect service blackouts from Once Upon a Lime the rest of the week – I’m in Nashville for my best-friend-since-age-two’s bachelorette party! The company and entertainment of 15 other chicks (inc some long lost buddies) trumps interneting.

Not sorry.



heaven help our hillbilly selves. so many busch lights to drink, karaoke bars to storm, and wrangler butts to pinch. (jk brian)

In the meantime you can get a little Lime fix over at Oiselle’s blog. I’m going to be writing a recurring column (sounds so official) and the first installment, “From “Ka-Flez-a-what?” to US Champs” is up.

The working title is “The Evolution of a Fan Girl, In Progress”, and my mission is pretty much to convince people pro running is worth your attention. As a former running dunce and someone not ashamed to look foolish on the internet, I want to guide my fellow Run Fan Rookies around the ropes and highlight some of the cool shit going on with the athletes who make a living out of running.

Like the USA National Track & Field Championships (Des Moines, IA) and US Half Marathon Championships (Duluth, MN) this weekend! There’s info in the post about how and where to follow. So do it. It’s going to be awesome. I’ll be squeezing Flotrack updates between tequila shots and karaoke sets, for sure.

If you have any ideas for features, or any burning questions you’ve been too embarrassed to ask anybody (“what’s a steeple/A standard/EPO/mary cain?”) hit me with them. If you’re really super super embarrassed, use the anon Q&A page.

Oh and if someone wants to start an indiegogo campaign for bail money, that’d be great. Foresight.

Sarah OUaL

Sophomore Season at #HugeEug (Eugene Half recap)

I’m on the plane home from Eugene (…at the time – it’s now almost two days later. I’m at home on the couch if you want to know), the first moments I’ve really had to digest what happened this weekend. Vacation running with so many friends is an absolute blast – I LOVED sharing HugeEug with all of them – but all the activities and socializing left for little time to personally reflect on my own race.

Which is a cool problem to have, but I’m grateful to finally have had some quiet time to sit down and uninterruptedly hash it all out. Every split, every gut feeling, every overcome negative thought. It was easily my best race EVER and deserves some selfish time in the forefront. At least to me.

(and you, bc you’re here and obvs I’m going to word vomit every detail for you)

Here we go – The Half PR Tale, aka HugeEug Part II

eug25 joc

Oiselle, Nuun, and general Internet friends making race weekend FUCKING AWESOME since 2013 (jocelyn’s pic)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


That was my original time goal when I began training for the Eugene Half. And this is the first time I’m publicly admitting it.

Half-way through my 12 week cycle things started falling apart – I wasn’t seeing the gains I wanted and my paces were no where near what McMillan prescribes for that goal time. I gutted out the rest of training but rescinded to the fact Eugene wouldn’t be that “Run To The Absolute Best of Your Ability” race I wanted.

So when race week came I adjusted my goals and said all I wanted was to run to my best ability on THAT day. To cross the finish feeling I gave it all I had. If I could run strong mentally and overcome the mid-race self-doubt and unwillingness to hang out in the pain place that’s plagued me before, I’d be one step closer to getting to that 1:3x territory someday down the road.


Bum Wrap & Pros solidified as official OUaL race uniform

I settled into the corral between the 1:40-1:45 pace groups and listened to words by Steph Rothstein-Bruce and Craig Leon, two top US finishers at Boston this year. As the national anthem played I felt the perfect mix of nervous energy and calm confidence, and knew it could be a great day if I kept that balance and didn’t get in my own damn way.

The gun went off, “Sweet Caroline” poured through the speakers, and we crossed the start.


emily’s pic

I kept my eyes off my watch at the start, trying to run on feel until we leveled out and I could lock in to something. I really didn’t want Garmin dictating my run, but running without my usual constant monitoring terrified me that I’d either run a) way too fast and crash and burn or b) too leisurely and have too much in the tank at the end.

7:32, 7:26

The next few miles were a blur of trying to find that perfect “uncomfortably manageable” pace. My breath was controlled but my legs were already feeling the work of the hills and long slight incline. I tried not to let the idea of burning for 10 more miles scare me into slowing down.


Focusing on rhythm and feel instead of numbers worked shockingly (?) well. Each split beeped right around PR pace (7:45), and the consistency I was running at without watch-stalking was super satisfying. Like I finally just let my legs do their thing instead of robotically forcing it, and they performed way above expectation. Crazy.

7:40, 7:43, 7:43, 7:34, 7:44, 7:42

At mile 8 “The Hill” came into sight. I took water from the station (volunteers were stellar, btw) and got ready to put my head down and just go.

But then I heard a yell for my name, and déjà vu to Nuun Kim last year, SkinnyRunner’s mom was there yelling her face off, and then Mason was running next to me telling me to pick up my knees and asking if I’d been hydrating (obviously).

Hearing updates on my friends (he was on super pacer duties for like 10 people) gave me a boost, just in time for the Oiselle cheer force at mile 9. Cowbells, chicken hats, and banana suits are a great distraction from the fact we were running away from the finish line, btw.

eug24 ois

Abby, Lauren, BeckyJJ, Meghan, KMet, Sweaty


sweaty’s caption : “see, she DOES love running!’

As we ran out towards the river the feeling in my legs turned from “working hard, muscles!” to “rapidly filling with lead, don’t want to move!” I worried I’d blown it by going out too fast and feared the looming wall that was surely just around the corner.

The thought of backing off to keep the pain at a distance crept in – without an actual goal time it seemed so tempting to turn away from it…

“will you look back at this point and regret it? when you write your recap do you want to admit to everyone you gave in?!”

I thought about the 10 miles of hard work I’d be throwing away, how I said I was going to give EVERYTHING, how the beer would taste better if I kept pushing, and committed to the rest of the race.

Still avoiding Garmin, I focused on just letting the effort feel a little bit harder – I knew I had to keep control a few more miles before really getting into the pain place.

7:49, 7:48, 7:54

“Strong and smooth. Strong and smooth.”

When two miles to go hit, I didn’t care about anything other than gassing out what was left. We were running the gorgeous tree-covered river path and the weather was perfect. There were enough people around to chase but not too many to feel cramped. I let my breath shorten and focused on lifting my knees and pushing off.

“Strong and smooth.”

It hurt. I didn’t think I could hold it. I thought again about giving in, and that for sure I was either going to puke or shit my bum wrap.


But we hit the bridge with one mile to go – crossing the water back towards campus in a very poignant “homestretch” way. I burned holes in the shirt backs in front of me, desperately trying not to let them pull away. We turned past our shakeout run spot, onto Agate, and up the cruel final hill, the sounds of the crowds at the top pulling me up.

eug26 ois

Thanks, KMet… (photo cred Oiselle)

We crested and the Oiselles were there – their excitement cuing my first proud/happy feelings (expression attempt in above photo gets a B for effort). My legs were completely shot and I felt like I was barely moving. The final 1/2 mile to Hayward felt like a fucking eternity and I don’t think I’ve ever been passed by more people at the end of a race, but there was just nothing left to kick with.

7:41, :42s (7:30 avg)

Finally we turned into Hayward, the stands packed and the announcer calling out names, and all I could focus on was picking up my feet enough to not trip and face plant on the Tracktown USA oval where so many world-class athletes have been.

And nearly a minute faster than I ever have, I crossed a 13.1 finish line, with a “hand over heart for Boston.”

… and then collapsed into a volunteer and was put in a wheelchair. For like, a tiny amount of time. Just enough to stop the world from spinning and be able to say (/remember?) my name and where I’m from.

Which I guess validates the “finish on empty” goal?



Eugene Half Marathon, 4.28.13   –   1:40.45 (*New PR)

Almost even more than the race and PR, I’m proud of myself for not letting that original 1:38 goal overshadow my accomplishment this weekend. I set out to run the very best race I was capable of that day, and that’s exactly what I freaking did.


More on race weekend (lots of friends to brag about), the magical city of Eugene, and shenanigans soon. All with stolen pictures since my phone went the way of that old PR – RIP to both of you.

Sarah OUaL

extra thanks to Pro for sponsoring me – is this what I’m supposed to say? disclosure and stuff? anyway BLG13 is good for 40% off and free s/h!