The Do Anywhere Speed Workout

by Meghan Reynolds

We created this workout for people who are short on time, don't have access to a track and want to lose weight. It consists of alternating speed and recovery intervals, i.e. a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout. HIIT workouts increase your metabolism and bring a new quickness to your running. Your body burns more fat and calories after a HIIT workout than you do after a long run. This type of a workout is a great way train efficiently without having to buy a lot of equipment.

Here's the workout: warm up with a 10-15 minute easy jog and then do 2-3 rounds of this set: 120 seconds, 90 seconds, 60 seconds and 30 second speed intervals with a 1-minute recovery jog in between each speed interval.  Aim for a consistent pace within each speed interval and to be able to maintain the same pace for each one. Rest for about 2-3 minutes between each set. Run at least 1/2 mile as cool down and then stretch.

What is the appropriate pace for the speed intervals? That is up to and depends on your pace. We recommend running at 80% of your max heart rate. This is not an all out sprint - just below that. You should be able to finish each interval without feeling like you have to bend over to catch your breath or throw up. I let my breath guide me: when I'm wheezing (or my breath is raspy), I'm running too fast.  When we say recovery jog, we mean a SLOW recovery jog. It's more like a shuffle (without getting sloppy on your form). Seriously. 

To complete this workout all you need is a watch and maybe some fun tunes to help you pick it up on the speed intervals and get your feet to turn over faster. Have questions, feel free to reach out to us.

Have fun!

Review - Mizuno's new Wave Enigma 5

I was provided this test pair of Mizuno Enigma 5 as part of a Fitfluential Campaign in exchange for my honest opinion.

I have been a long time Mizuno fan so when I got the opportunity to review a pair of their new Wave Engima shoes, I said "yes"! They sent me the Wave Enigma 5, a neutral shoe the delivers a soft, responsive and cushiony ride. I usually prefer a lighter, racing sneaker so I was interested to see if this would feel heavy and slow me down. It didn't. I have run 5 mile tempo runs and 10 mile slower runs and both have felt great; not heavy or slow. These shoes are now part of my weekly running rotation. I keep them for my easy or recovery days and run in the Wave Sayonara for my speed days.

Here is the tech info: gmail

I recommend the Wave Enigma 5 to people who are coming off injury, have chronic foot pain or just want a more cushioned run. They reduce the shock of foot impact without being clunky. Happy Running!

5 Tips for Newbie Runners

The most common mistake new runners make is deciding to just go and run. It's easy to do – just lace up those sneakers and head out the door, right? Wrong. Running without building up a base or starting out too fast can lead to injuries and burnout. Follow our tips below to enjoy the run and want to keep lacing up those sneakers.

  • Begin with run/walk intervals. Even if you are fit (go to the gym, take spin classes, etc), running is hard on your body. If you're not used to running, there’s more room for injury and soreness.  that's why we recommend newbies start with a Run/Walk approach. If you're off the couch, start slowly because an injury will only hamper your progress. Your run/walk intervals might be 1/3 (1 minute running and 3 minutes walking). If you're highly active, you might want to try 5/2 or 7/2 intervals.
  • Measure progress in minutes, not miles. When you first start running, aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes. Once you hit 30 minutes of run/walk intervals, slowly begin to increase the run intervals by a minute or two each week. Once you reach 30 minutes of continuous running, you can begin to measure your progress in miles.
  • Focus on effort, not pace. During the run intervals, you want to be able to talk without feeling winded. If you start to feel winded, slow down. Monitor how your body responds to the effort during training (i.e. how you feel) as opposed to your minute-per-mile pace.
  • Frequency is important. Aim for three days of run/walk intervals and don’t run/walk two days in a row. The non-running days allow your muscles and joints to get use to the pounding. This doesn’t mean you shouldn't exercise. Go for a bike ride, take a yoga class or adopt a strength-training routine. You want to build up your cardiovascular health, so aim to be active five or six days a week.
  • Invest in the proper shoes. It's true that running is a pretty low-cost, low-maintenance sport. However, there are a few key pieces of "equipment" that require an investment. The most important piece is finding a proper shoe. Not all running sneakers are created equally, nor are all correct for you. Go to a specialty running store (not a store like Sports Authority) and talk to the sales person about your new endeavor and fitness history. Don't be embarrassed! They are there to help you find a shoe you love so you, in turn, will love running.

5 Ways to Prepare for Marathon Training

Wondering what you should be doing to get ready for fall marathon training? You’re not alone. Here’s how we recommend you fill those precious weeks leading up to the start of your marathon training:

(1) GET HEALTHY. Now’s the time for a little TLC for any extra tightness or nagging pain that’s been creeping it’s way into your spring running. Maybe this means taking a week or two off from running or a couple visits to your favorite therapist. Also, don’t forget the value of a good non-running shoe. Women, with warmer, summer weather comes flat sandals, flip flops and high-heeled sandals. None of these are good for your achilles or your feet. Instead, spend more time in shoes with about a 1-inch lift and some arch support.

(2) SETTLE INTO A ROUTINE. Marathon training must be a priority for it to be successful. So, make sure you’ve figured out a way to fit in at least 3 runs a week including one day a week that will work for your longer runs. If you figure out how to make your schedule work in advance, it’ll be a lot less stressful when training officially begins.

(3) PICK UP THE PACE. Get your body used to the faster paced workouts included in most marathon training plans with at least one run a week that includes speed bursts in the middle or at the end of your run. For example, after a couple miles into your run, pick up the pace 4-6 times for 15 seconds to a couple minutes. You don’t need to sprint, but get out of your easy, regular pace. Alternatively, finish your run with a fast last mile at a comfortably hard pace similar to a tempo pace. This pace should feel challenging, but you should still be able to control your breathing.

(4) LONG RUN PREP. Take a look at the long run distance in week 1 of your training plan. Now make sure you’re ready to tackle that distance by building up over the next couple of weeks to a mile or two below this distance. For example, if the first week of your plan has you running 10 miles, you should be able to run 8 miles before starting week 1. This way you adhere to the 10% rule of only increasing your long run distance by about 10% each week. 

(5) FIND A PLAN! No marathon experience is the same, so we believe no plan should be exactly same. Make sure your training plans works for you – not just your training partner. For a fully customized training approach and a fun, supportive environment, check out our 16-week training plans.  

Tips for Running with a GPS Watch (or not)

Get the most of tracking your runs with these GPS watch tips:

1. Pace setting: I prefer lap pace over current pace. Current pace bounces around way too much for me. If you have it in lap pace, then it measures your average pace thus far for the current lap (i.e the distance travelled thus far for that lap and your total time in transit for that lap – and calculates your average pace). Calculating the average pace prevents the watch from jumping around when you’re on a slight hill or have a quick speed burst within your lap that might screw you up if you were to look down at your pace at that exact moment.

What is a lap? It’s whatever you set your watch at. For current pace it’s based on one mile. If you want your average mile pace, then keep your lap set to 1 mile.

If you want to reset the pace before your lap is up, just hit lap on your watch and wait a few seconds for it to recalibrate.  Note that it does not adjust immediately. 

Overall, I find that current pace can really mess with your head if you’re trying to stay on pace using your watch.

2. Auto Pause: Turn this off. It's annoying (i think).

3. Auto Lap vs. Manual Lap: Auto lap is great when you are running tempos or long runs or somewhere without mile markers, but when you're on the track or in a race, turn off auto lap. It will mess with your tracking.

In a race, opt for manual lap every time. All you have to do is manually hit lap as you pass each mile marker. This way you know for sure exactly how fast you are running each mile according to the race course not the gps - often they are not exactly the same. If you forget at one mile, then hit lap at the next mile and divide by two for your average pace over the last two miles. 

I actually prefer a good ole timex stopwatch during races or turn off my gps altogether and manually hit lap.  This way I don't have to worry about losing satellite connection or low battery issues and I know I'm tracking myself the same way the race course is tracking me. Manual lap is also good for track workouts because you don't want it to accidentally lap you when you in the middle of an interval and often times your laps are shorter than the auto lap setting.

4. Ditch the GPS altogether.  Do one run a week without tracking your pace. It’s healthy to forget about pacing sometimes.

Jesssica's favorite watch these days is a good old fashioned sportswatch. The best part is you never have to charge it!

Strength exercises we all need

If you are a client or follow our blog, you know we love our cross training - yoga, strength classes, spin, and any other fun class that is out that. I've been reminded of how important it is to running this past month. After coming off an injury and doing a ton of physical therapy work, I started running in mid February. I started off slowly - no more than 30 minutes, every other day. I was doing my therapy exercises and feeling good. Somewhere along the way, I started to slack off on the therapy exercises. I can't pinpoint it exactly but I think it was after I ran 6 miles pain free. I thought "I'm better!" And that equated to not having to continue my exercises - WRONG!

I'm still running pain free but after a few weeks of not really doing any strength (yikes - Jessica would scold me), I can feel it - little aches and pains, my legs are too sore after hills. So, I signed up for some strength classes and recommitted to doing my exercises. I do them 2x a week and go to a strength class 1x a week. For now, this is what works with my schedule and life. The results? I feel stronger on the hills and I'm now sore but in the right places!

If you need some ideas, here's what we recommend:

And, for those of you who need some extra motivation, a class is always a great idea. Find an instructor you like and a smaller class so you get the form correction.

Running Trails in Central Park

Central Park's Bridal Path during a Saturday morning run

Did you know that you don't have to run on pavement in Central Park!? It recently came to my (Jessica) attention that this is not widely known by everyone, so I'm here to inform (or remind) you about the Bridal Path. It is a little hidden gem in Central Park that offers more shade and significantly less people than the main running loop and it's dirt! Check out the picture above that I took last Saturday at 9am - there's no one on it!

Also, unlike the bridal path in Prospect Park, which is hard to run and truly for horses, the bridal path in Central Park is definitely runner friendly. Similar to its neighbor, the road, it's packed with undulating hills that are great for training. If you run the full bridal path loop, you can get almost 4 miles of trails.

If you're running counterclockwise around the park, enter the bridal path at the south-eastern corner of the reservoir. Stay on the lower trail that circles the reservoir and then as it begins to break hard left, take a hard right turn to stay on the path parallel to the road. This winds you up and across the 102nd Street crossing (along a dirt path of course) and then you can follow the path all the way down the west side of the park until the Columbus Circle exit. Here's a map of all the trails with the bridal path identified by the white dots.

Next time you're in Central Park, take the less traveled and more serene route along the bridal path. It's amazing.


Happy Earth Day!

Thank you, Earth, for giving us beauty and peacefulness on our runs. You inspire us to be mindful, appreciative of our health and ability to enjoy your wonders, and to continue setting new goals and taking on new challenges. We understand all too well that there's nothing better than recharging on one of your awesome trails. Thank you, Earth, for these trails that bring our runs (and worlds) to life and the water that sustains us and cools us down after them!

To all of you trail lovers out there, get out on your favorite trail today and take a second to truly embrace how lucky you are to be surrounded by such scenery.

With love and gratitude,

- The Hot Birds


ClassPass is Worth Every Penny

By Jessica Green

Last month I fell in love with ClassPass. If you’re like me, and looking for assistance in getting your butt to a cross training class, you will love ClassPass too. 

After completing the NYC Marathon last fall, I took some time off from running and cross-trained a bit (once or twice a week). But, in all honesty, as soon as my three weeks off from running were done, I dropped all strength work and returned to the trails as my exclusive form of exercise. After two months of pretty much zero strength training, I was left with a weak everything. Then I started ClassPass and for the last four weeks, I’ve spent at least two days a week adding strength classes to my weekly routine and I already feel like a stronger, healthier runner. Plus, I’ve found some pretty awesome classes in Portland!

What is ClassPass? “ClassPass is a monthly membership to the best boutique fitness classes in your city. There are thousands of classes available to ClassPass members, including cycling, pilates, yoga, strength training, dance, martial arts, and more. For $79 - $99 a month (price varies by city), ClassPass members get unlimited classes to studios in the ClassPass network. While members can take as many classes per month as they'd like, they can visit the same studio up to 3 times per monthly membership cycle.”

The best part of ClassPass for me is that I have a nontraditional work schedule and ClassPass allows me to find classes at anytime of the day by searching only one site. On ClassPass’ website and app, I can search for a specific type of activity by time (and location) and come up with several different class options at various studios throughout Portland. Once I choose my class, all I have to do is click “reserve” and I’m good to go.

No more remembering my log in information for each studio’s mindbody account.  No more hunting down class schedules and whether there is space. Also, no more wondering where a good studio is. I trust ClassPass to partner with quality studios and this way I’m way more inclined to try out new places.

The other best part – it’s completely worth your money. All you need to do is show up to six to seven classes in a month that each cost $15 each and you’ve made your money back. Chances are, with ClassPass, you’re going to show up to more than that and it’s likely that your classes are more expensive than $15! They make it so easy that you WILL go.  And you won’t get sick of any one particular class because you have access to what feels like a million others. 

Finally, while some might not like that you are limited to 3 classes per month at a studio, it’s perfect for those who like to change things up from week to week or can only seem to make one time a week at a particular studio. This way, you have access to the cheaper monthly rate for those 3 classes, plus a cheaper rate for all the other places that offer classes at different times on days you can make. 

New to ClassPass in Portland? Try 2 months of ClassPass for $79 (The typical price of 1 month).