Ready to talk speed?  But first… here’s what I’ve been up to the in last 18 hours or so.


I was in the Cincinnati area to speak at Northern Kentucky University about Operation Beautiful.  The presentation went well!  I was surprised that so many students came out because the weather was quickly turning from bad to horrendous.  By the time I finished speaking, the sleet had turned to snow. 


The organizing committee.


I drove back to my hotel absolutely GRIPPING the steering wheel.  It’s been quite a few years since I drove in weather like that!  The city got around five inches overnight, and I found myself cursing my selection of the cheapest possible economy car.  Four wheel drive would’ve been great!  Oh well. 


Spent this morning scraping snow off my windows and praying that I’d make it to the airport in one piece.  There were a few skids coming out of the parking lot, but clearly, I survived to blog another day. Winking smile


Alright… let’s talk about…



For all these workouts, use a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being lightly jogging, 5 being your comfortable long run pace, and 10 being a full-on being a full-time sprint that you can only maintain for 30 seconds.


Speedwork #1:  The Progressive 5K – You’ll want to start off with several minutes of Level 1 (light jogging) to warm yourself up.  Then, you’ll do a series of speed intervals that progressively get faster and shorter.  Do 2 minutes at a Level 7 followed by a 30 second rest at Level 5.  Then, do 1 minute at a Level 8 – a bit faster! – followed by another 30 second rest at Level 5.  Finish it off with 30 seconds of Level 10 sprinting followed by a 30 second jog.  The entire interval will take 5 minutes.  Repeat this pattern three or four times, and then finish off your 5K with a jog.


Speedwork #2:  HIIT Workout – HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  A HIIT treadmill workout is a really fun way to mix up your runs.  I generally despise being on the treadmill, but this workout helps time fly by!  When I say ‘high intensity,’ I mean ‘high intensity.’  Following a warm-up, alternative 1 minute of sprinting at a Level 9 with 1.5 minutes of walking or light jogging.  I try to repeat this pattern 10 – 12 times, but it’s really hard!  Finish up any remaining 5K distance with a job.


Speedwork #3: Half Mile Repeats – I find the HIIT to be challenging, but Half Mile Repeats are hard (and fun), too.  After a warmup, run 0.5 mile intervals slightly faster than your comfortable 5K pace – you should be able to squeak out a sentence but with lots of huffing and puffing.  Recover for two minutes by walking or lightly jogging in between.  Aim to do five or six half mile repeats, although six will probably take you over the 5K mark with the recovery breaks.


I did a Progressive Speedwork yesterday on the hotel’s treadmill and felt great afterwards.  There’s something SO satisfying about speedwork.  And it really does pay off come race day!


How do you do speedwork?  On the treadmill?  On a track?  Using a watch?  What you’re favorite speedwork workout?



  • Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution March 6, 2013, 9:47 am

    haha, I bet for people who aren’t familiar with the area, they are confused that you were in the Cincinnati area to speak at Northern KENTUCKY University. It just dawned on me that if I didn’t live nearby, I would be confused.

    Thanks for the speedwork tips. I tend to do types of workouts: one pace or all-out sprint. I needed this!

  • Allison March 6, 2013, 9:48 am

    Thanks for the workout suggestions! These will really come in handy for me. So glad you’re safe…driving in snow is the worst. My heart beats like crazy the whole time.

  • Laine March 6, 2013, 10:15 am

    Don’t you have something in your contracts about the kind of rental car the people hiring you to speak have to rent for you? And hotel and food allowances?

    • Caitlin March 6, 2013, 10:27 am

      Naw, I get a flat rate and cover my own expenses.

  • Elizabeth @ Positive Change March 6, 2013, 10:17 am

    I wish I knew you were talking at NKU! I live about 30 minutes away, both of my cousins attend, my sister went there and my dad is an alumni! We are huge NKU fans :)! Hope the driving went well, we got the 5 inches here also!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action March 6, 2013, 10:18 am

    Stay safe in the snow! The first drive is always the worst- though I guess that’ll probably be the only time you’re driving in the snow this year.

  • Ashley March 6, 2013, 10:31 am

    I’m about an hour and a half north of Cincinnati (in Columbus) and we were hit with the same snow. It’s so wet and heavy and gross!

    Speedwork is my FAVORITE. I generally stick to doing it on a treadmill because I don’t have a Garmin or any other nifty time keeper so I find the treadmill is the easiest way to stay on pace. Today I did a slightly modified version of half mile repeats. 10 minute warm up, 5 minutes @ a slightly uncomfortable pace followed by 2 minutes recovery, repeat 4 times, 10 minute cool down. I like to mix up my speed days to keep them interesting. Progressive runs are probably my favorite but I think the repeats work me the most.

  • DadHTP March 6, 2013, 10:43 am

    You left out the Super High Intensity Training.

    • Emily March 7, 2013, 11:50 am

      Hahaha 🙂

  • Marlène March 6, 2013, 11:29 am

    I noticed you’ve got Brooks Ghost shoes. I just bought those recently, and they were presented to me as shoes for “big and tall” runners (which I am). I’ve only run one race in them, but so far I like them. Wondering how you like them, as someone who is more on the petite side. Do you find them too burly? Do you really care about running shoe suggestions based on height/weight?

    Just curious really…

  • Nicole @ Fruit 'N' Fitness March 6, 2013, 11:51 am

    I wish I had known you were speaking at NKU! My boyfriend goes to law school there. I would have loved to hear you speak about operation beautiful! I live in Lexington and we had the snow too, I was shocked how fast it started and how it was all snowing sideways.

  • Elisabeth March 6, 2013, 11:59 am

    Welcome to Ohio weather… I live in Northwestern Ohio & we usually enjoy plenty of it in the winter. I’ve driven in it for 11 years now & still hate it with a passion 😉

  • Sharisse March 6, 2013, 12:03 pm

    I don’t follow any speedwork outs, so thank you for sharing the three above! =)

  • Hana March 6, 2013, 12:36 pm

    Hello there! My name is Hana and I have been an avid reader for many years! I can’t believe you spoke at NKU! I am a student at the University of Cincinnati not too far away, which makes me wish I could have attended! You have such a positive outlook and you are truly inspirational! Just thought I’d pop in to say that 🙂

  • Kristin March 6, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Enjoyed the talk last night. My friend Steph and I work at NKU and tried to blend in with the crowd of students last night…haha. We particularly liked the Clive Owen reference and were dismayed by the girl behind us who said, “Who’s that?” I was worried the promise of bad weather would keep the crowd away, but there was a nice turnout. Glad you made it to the airport safely.

    • Caitlin March 6, 2013, 1:33 pm

      Oh I wish you had said hi! Clive is the man 🙂

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt March 6, 2013, 1:09 pm

    I really need to work on speeding up my 5k. Three miles is actually my least favorite distance…I usually want to quit throughout the first three miles and then eventually become numb and ok with feeling uncomfortable by mile 5.

  • Chelsea @ Bacon & Pearls March 6, 2013, 1:32 pm

    These workouts look great! I’m looking forward to trying the progressive 5K once I recover from a bit of an injury..

  • lynne @ lgsmash March 6, 2013, 1:32 pm

    too funny that you were in cincy last night – it looks like the city shut down today because of the snow!

  • Chelsea @ Bacon & Pearls March 6, 2013, 1:33 pm

    These look great! I can’t wait to try the progressive 5K. I like to do my speed work on a treadmill and right now I’m totally obsessed with 400m repeats. MY FAVORITE! I am so motivated by numbers on the treadmill and 400m is long enough to challenge me but still allow me to be speedy and outside of my comfort zone.

  • Erin @ The Elliptical Chronicles March 6, 2013, 2:59 pm

    It’s crazy to see you were at NKU! If I hadn’t just moved out of the N. Kentucky area, I definitely would have gone to see you speak! My dad actually texted me this morning asking how much snow we got here in Harrisburg, PA (which has been none so far), and he told me about all that overnight snow you mentioned…

  • Steph @ Smiles Through Miles March 6, 2013, 3:00 pm

    Love this post! Speeding up has really become one of my biggest running challenges- I have my comfy pace and don’t deviate much. I recently tried following the Galloway run/walk method and found that I was faster than when I was maintaing a jogging speed for my whole run. I will definitely try some of your tips too!

  • luv what you do March 6, 2013, 10:08 pm

    I was just posting about yesterday’s speed workout that I did at the indoor track. These are some great ideas…I will link up to them for sure!

  • Bob Lee March 7, 2013, 9:41 am

    Great workouts but I really struggle with speed. I seem to stay in the same rut with my pace.
    I will pick it up though. I just need to get motivated.

  • Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} March 7, 2013, 10:59 am

    I love doing progression runs and speedwork! Breaks up the monotony of long runs and being stuck on the dreadmill! Great suggestions.

  • KT March 8, 2013, 1:54 am

    Aaaaw you spoke at my alma mater! I hope you had a good time in the concrete jungle…I miss it there!

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