Benefits of HIIT For Runners

Stepping outside my comfort zone – chatting with you about what I feel are the benefits of HIIT for Runners!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to speak at our local running store, Runner’s Retreat, about the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for Runners. While I greatly enjoy instructing HIIT classes, generally speaking in front of a group of people just about scares me to death!

When I’m nervous, I tend to talk about as fast as I run, so I decided to record my presentation and share my feelings on how HIIT has helped me become a better runner. This way, if you were there and couldn’t figure out what in the world I was trying to say, or you weren’t able to attend – you can hear it all now.

Bear with me, stepping outside my comfort zone here!

In case you missed my key benefits, HIIT training can help:

  • Improve muscular strength in multiple planes
  • Increase performance potential and help prevent injuries.
  • Improve muscular stability to increase your ability to efficiently transfer energy.
  • Increase lactate threshold – work at a higher intensity longer before reaching fatigue.
  • Provide an awesome metabolic benefit – continue to burn calories and fat after your workout for an extended period of time.

And from the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, here is an example workout for you to try!

Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest time between exercises. Total time for the entire workout is approximately 7 minutes.

The circuit can be repeated 2 to 3 times.


Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions!

Until next time,


Year in Review and a Blank Slate

“A good goal should scare you a little. And excite you a lot.” – Joe Vitale

This past year was the first full year of running for me since we all sat around watching and waiting to see what disaster the year 2K would bring.

Heading into 2016, I had little idea the year would be full of milestones. When the calendar flipped into the new year, I was still working towards my weight loss goal and I made the decision to try for a new distance; the half marathon.

Looking back over the year, I’m still amazed of what I accomplished and most importantly, what fun I had. I tackled new distances, yet still fit in my old favorites.

Here’s my year in review:


  • Not 1, but 2 half marathons (1:52 & 1:53)
  • Apple Blossom 10K – only my 2nd time running this race since we moved to Winchester; crushed my time by about 12 minutes (47:40)
  • Loudoun Street Mile – it’s been a long time since I ran an all-out mile so I was excited to see what I could do. I was pleased with 6:03
  • Several 5Ks. In 2015, my 5K time was 22:59. This year, I bested my 2nd running career PR – 20:40
  • An 8K trail race – a lot of fun!
  • 20K – close to the half marathon distance (1:36)
  • A 4 miler (26:42)
  • MY FIRST MARATHON, Richmond (3:46)! At the beginning of 2016, a full marathon was not on my radar. After 2 half marathons, I decided, why stop here?

Non-race related highlights:

  • Reached and surpassed my weight loss goal in the 1st Quarter – Total of 66 lbs. lost.
  • Became an instructor for HIIT Like A Girl
  • Became a kid’s running club coach through our county Parks & Rec program
  • My stepdaughter and husband have become runners (my son has already been running for a few years)

Over the 12 months, I was lucky to share so many miles with a great group of friends. I had a fun (and adventurous) 12 mile trail run with friends, several loooong training runs, breakfast runs and a Christmas fun run. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know people better and meet some amazing new folks too.

So, where does that lead me for 2017? Wow, it will definitely be hard to beat!

I have a target in mind and I’m going after her – the old me. 

Now that Mack Attack is back, I have some serious work to do. I have a target in mind and I’m going after her – the old me. Unsure if I’ll ever touch my old PRs (20 years and 20 lbs lighter) but that won’t stop me from getting as close as I can.

Goals for 2017:

  • Race-Related:
    • Mile – all guts. Back in high school and college, the mile and half mile were my specialties so I still have a sweet spot for this distance. I love the feeling of laying it all on the line and finishing keeled over; all energy spent. I’m hoping to break the 6 min. mark and aiming for 5:45.
    • 5K – Striving to break 20. Up until about 2 weeks prior to the marathon, I was hitting the track once per week. Now, I’m ready to add speed work back into my weekly plan to help achieve my 5K and mile goals.
    • Half Marathon – My initial try at this distance was a good race; although freezing cold and very low key (no spectators and an out-and-back). Second try was awful – high humidity and a rough course. My split at Richmond was a 1:47; so I aiming towards the 1:40 mark.
    • Marathon – Yes, I’m going to do it again! I’m going to follow the same path as last year and train for a fall marathon. I’ll announce which one soon. Unfortunately, a lot of my weekends are already unavailable due to work, so I’m trying to determine which will fit best with my schedule. Goal: Beat 3:46. Aim towards BQ? Possibly.
  • Other goals 
    • Try for an ultra? Maybe – if I have a friend that’d join me  🙂
    • Trail race – love the trails – also want to do a Ragnar; so maybe I can knock out two at once.
    • Run a race in my hometown
    • Training my first person (my husband) for his first half!
    • I also plan on finding more opportunities in the fitness/running industry and have been working towards my PT certification. It’s been great getting back into my career.
    • Blogging more often!


What accomplishment are you most proud of from last year?

What goals are you working towards this year?

Let me know! 

Until next time,


The Science Behind HIIT

What’s the biggest bang for your buck?

Today’s blog is a guest blog by Zara Ryan of HIIT Like a Girl:


What happens to your body when you do a HIIT workout?

Have you ever read the Heart Rate chart on a cardio machine at a gym? Or chosen a cardio machine program that says “fat burning?” It sounds like just what we’re all looking for, right? I mean, we all want to lose a little fat. So why choose a tough HIIT workout, when you can do a lower intensity cardio routine that specifically burns fat?

The real truth lies in the details. Here’s what’s really happening in your body during and even more importantly, after, 3 different types of 30 minute workouts for a 35 year old woman of average weight.

Workout #1- “Fat Burning” Zone

This represents a typical low to moderate intensity, steady state cardio workout, like walking on the treadmill at 3.5 mph for 30 minutes:

Total calories burned during workout= 126

% of calories from fat = 84%

Total calories burned 24 hours after workout = 0


Workout #2- “Cardio Training” Zone

Moderate intensity, steady state cardio workout, like running at 5 mph for 30 minutes.

Total calories burned during workout= 228

% calories  from fat= 66%

Total calories burned 24 hours after workout= 0


Workout #3- High Intensity Intervals (HIIT)

Varying intensity workout, in this example running at 5 mph for 40 sec. (low) and 9 mph for 20 sec. for a total of 30 min.

Total calories burned during workout= 298

% calories from fat= 35 %

Total calories burned 24 hours after workout= 200

Total calories burned = 498


So what’s the reason for the additional calorie burn after you’ve finished the HIIT workout?  It’s called EPOC, which stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.  In simple terms, it’s the additional energy your body uses to return to equilibrium or homeostasis.  This process includes replacing muscle glycogen (stored energy within the muscles), repairing muscle fibers, returning the body temperature to normal and restoring oxygen levels in the blood and other body systems – the higher the intensity of a workout, the great the EPOC effect.  HIIT workouts provide your body with multiple opportunities for your body to work anaerobically, increasing the body’s need to replace energy stores and increasing the EPOC required to bring the body back to it’s normal resting state.

So what’s the bottom line?

HIIT workouts are great for burning lots of calories in a short amount of time, as well as improving cardiovascular and muscular endurance and strength.  HIIT workouts are effective cross training for runners and other endurance athletes, due to the focus on anaerobic work, which increases the body’s lactate threshold and allows your body to work at a higher intensity for longer before reaching fatigue.  HIIT workouts focused on strength training are especially important for endurance athletes looking to increase their speed and their performance on hills (whether running or cycling).

It’s important to start each workout with a proper warm up to prepare your body to work at a high intensity.  To get optimal results, HIIT workouts should be performed no more than 3-4 days per week to allow for recovery time in between.  It is beneficial to perform low to moderate intensity workouts on the days in between HIIT workouts.  The bottom line is that if you’re going to spend any amount of time working out, you might as well get the biggest bang for your buck and do HIIT!

Thanks Zara!

For more information on local HIIT classes, be sure to check out I teach 3 days per week – Mondays at 11, Wednesday & Friday at 6 a.m.