How often should we do a hard effort (& a favorite quote for running) + our Date Night!

It’s that time of year when lying down on the sidewalk after a run happens often for me:)  I don’t do this during the winter because my goal in life after winter runs is to get to my hot shower as soon as possible.  For hot runs, I love to finish the miles and hit the sidewalk for a few minutes of thinking and relaxing.

And then I can stretch outside too which is nice.  Someday I’ll be able to touch my toes without a 45 degree angle bend in my legs.  Reaching for the stars on that goal…

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I came back inside to finish up stretching and work with Brooke on her sight words.  The amount of pride and satisfaction on her face when she gets these right fills me up to the brim with happiness.

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We then got to have Knox for a little bit which made our Tuesday brighter.

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We took it to the tramp to get in some sprinkler jumping and they laughed for an hour straight until they were over it and ready to go inside;)

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Our favorite salad bowls continue to bring us perfect salads:)  This one had spinach, romaine, steak, fresh corn (cooked), feta, onions and tomatoes.  After the picture I put on a balsamic vinaigrette.  Perfection.

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We had about 3 minutes of afternoon snuggles but I’ll take it.

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Beretta got at least 4 minutes of snuggling out of her though;)

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And the rest of my afternoon was spent at the computer attempting to catch up on life:)  I had a strawberry shortcake yogurt bowl (with frozen grapes?) at some point in the afternoon.

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Last night Andrew and I went up to Salt Lake City for a date!

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We picked up some sandwiches along the way (I don’t know why this picture turned out so blurry)… If you ever come visit Utah, PLEASE GO TO KNEADERS for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It is a Utah must.

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Andrew and I saw Under An Arctic Sky and it was AMAZING.  This film was all about this group of guys that travel to a super remote part of Iceland (in the middle of winter) to surf!!  I can live without surfing in temperatures like that but I love watching people chase their dreams especially when they are so passionate about it all.

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Chris Burkard is one of Andrew’s buddies and this was his movie!  Me just creepily snapping a picture while they hug;)

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Brooke had some time with my mom while we went to the movie and she was quite impressed with Brooke’s frosting eating capabilities.

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Brooke and Knox always do their best to put Beretta to bed so that she is comfortable.

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One of my favorite quotes that I apply to running often!  Don’t be afraid to try or dream big with your running!!!


Let’s talk about EFFORT.  This is a little snapshot from my coaching training from the RRCA.  One thing that is really important for us as runners to do (either on your own or with the help of a coach) is to understand our effort levels and how often each week we should be giving a hard effort.  How many times per week can our bodies handle a hard effort and stay healthy?  How many hard efforts each week allow us to still be able to recover properly and continue to progress and get stronger?

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When I first got hooked on running and training for races I followed a training plan closely.  It told me to do an easy run and I did it, it told me to do a hard run and I went for it.  BUT I did not understand that the crazy hard spin classes that I taught or took many times throughout the week also counted as a hard effort.  I didn’t understand that those workouts required recovery too… replacing a rest day or easy/short run with a hard spin class wasn’t great for me.  After my first marathon I just kind of did my own thing for a few months with my training and my training went a lot like this—>  Monday:  Run.  Tuesday:  Run faster and longer than Monday.  Wednesday:  Run faster and longer than Tuesday…. etc.  A few months of training like that (along with other poor decisions I was making with my training) and I had many serious injuries follow.  Many.  I never really felt fully recovered during each week and ended up taking months off at a time because of these injuries because I didn’t understand effort.

So how often should we be putting in a hard effort with our training?  And PS if you love running at a conversation pace every day and that’s what your mind and body love.. keep doing that:)

Most athletes usually work best with 2-4 efforts per week! Right now I am at 2 efforts a week (starting up with some speed again + a long run) and for my best training cycles (where I see the most improvement) 3 efforts a week works best for me and I see improvements.  A long run, speed workout (usually a track type workout or hill workout) and a tempo run—>  with easy runs and rest days mixed in between those three efforts!

It takes some trial and error (I think) before you can truly find what works best for your training but journal everything so you know!  Pay attention to how you are recovering from each hard effort.  Remember that just because you do cross-training activities that are different than running, those too can count towards your efforts (those activities take time to recover from too)!

Keep running happy and working towards finding the mileage, efforts and recovery that help you reach the goals you’ve got spinning around your brain:)


PS A new winner for the Sleep Number Giveaway was picked because the first winner never responded (I emailed about 10 times).  Audrey won!  Tell her congrats:)

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How many efforts/hard days works best for you and your training?

What cross-training do you do outside of your running?  Do you take any classes at a gym?

Do you usually eat a bigger lunch or a bigger dinner each day?

What is your Wednesday run?

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Under an Artic Sky sounds like it would be a really cool movie! I’m going to have to see if I can find it near me.


I love Chris Burkard! His Instagram account is amazing. I also saw a film of his at the DC Adventure Film Festival. So good.

Cross training: Honestly, running IS my cross-training, so thank goodness I like it! I run to stay in shape for hiking, backpacking, and climbing. I should do more strength training, but it’s borrrrring!


Oh that is awesome Lynn, he really is so incredible!!! I love all of the amazing things you do… I hear ya, why can’t strength training be more exciting!?!


Aside from running, I like to mix in some light strength training and HIIT. On non-running cardio days I’ll either hit up the stationary bike or the elliptical (weirdly, the elliptical makes my feet fall asleep? So I really don’t do it as much anymore).

I really want to run today, but my back is still bothering me and curtailed my plans for speed yesterday. It might be time to call the chiropractor :/

Happy Hump Day!


THAT BACK NEEDS TO GET BETTER… I am so so sorry. I hope your chiro can help, mine always is able too. Joanne, you are NOT alone with the elliptical… that always makes my feet fall asleep. I think it is because it is kind of a one size fits all and so it doesn’t fit our position/size/proportions properly. I hope you re having an awesome day and feel better soon!


I usually do best with 2-3 effort days: speed on Tuesdays, tempo on Thursdays, and long runs on Saturdays. But I’ve also started taking a unique type spin class that I absolutely LOVE on Saturdays (I haven’t really been doing long runs right now and won’t be able to until my kidney is better). The class has actually been very therapeutic for me and gives me a small escape from all of the messes I have going on in my life right now. It helps me clear my head and focus on the moment right in front of me.

Also, I really like that Shakespeare quote. Thanks for sharing!


Im definitey a bigger dinner kind of gal. If i eat a big lunch, its a struggle to get back to work hah. I just want to nap! I havent heard or seen that movie here, but that sounds so good and totally something my boyfriend and I would see! Will keep an eye out!


I really want to take some spin classes this summer! It’s been too long. My cross training is usually Pure barre and the elliptical. I can handle 2 harder effort days and a long run – the rest of the week is easy running!


During the week my lunches are always larger than dinner but on weekends I tend to have a light lunch expecting to go out for a bigger dinner.

I started yoga a month ago and have been going twice a week. I’m just getting back to running after my toe injury in march so it’s been a great time to introduce it.


I read somewhere that you should do hard efforts 20% of your runs and the rest should be easy. I think that’s generally what I did when I ran.

I like grapes a lot but honestly I feel like they never make it to the freezer because I eat them pretty quickly LOL.


This was a really helpful post, very good insight about efforts!
Those kiddos are so cute with that puppicinno, makes my heart melt!


awww Barrera with her Dalmatian stuffed animal :D

I don’t take any classes but I do have a home gym complete with all the weights, rack, bars, etc so i still get in good cross training! :) right now I am good with about 2 hard efforts too whether that comes from running or XT.


Oh gosh my Wednesday run was not what I expected! Florida humidity really got to me today! As for hard effort runs, it doesn’t seem like I’ll be getting in any this summer! This morning my 4 mile run felt like a 20 mile run! I got up at 5:30am to run and it was already 85 degrees! I’m so beyond jealous to everyone who gets to do outdoor running in the summer!


I do not know how in the world you run in that Florida humidity… seriously, you are amazing! I think one mile of humidity is equal to 5 miles in non-humid areas. Come visit Utah for the summers and run with me:)


Bigger lunch. My appetite is definitely the biggest midday. Sometimes I eat so much it crosses my mind, “you really shouldn’t be hungry anymore” ………and then I pour a bowl of frosted mini wheats.

My Wednesday run was going to be a 5k, but my foot is bugging me this morning, so we will see.


KEEP ME UPDATED with your foot Erica! HAHAHA I have that same dialogue in my head:) I hope you are having a beautiful day Erica!


Congrats Audrey!

I love that picture of Brooke and Berretta, so sweet.

Thank you, my friend kept telling me spin is recovery but my classes are hard. An hour long endurance ride has my legs too tired for a hard run today. I am going easy later.

In addition to spin I take Pilates (mat and MVe chair), strength train, dance class, some yoga, and I will do the Cybex Arc if I miss spin or need a day off from running.

Dinner is probably equal to or slightly bigger than lunch. I am hungriest in the morning.


HEY NINA!!! Yeah… spin is HARD and I’m glad you are going to take it easy later! I really need to do pilates… you are inspiring me Nina. I always love your comments, I really appreciate you! I hope you are having a wonderful day!


Ahhh I love Chris Burkard! I’ve been following his pictures for years! This is amazing. I bet it was awesome!


Isn’t he amazing!?!?! You should totally go see his film Juliette if you get a chance!


Three effort runs are perfect for me too. It’s tricky being pregnant, so I really have to make sure my easy days are EASY.

Do you run in your Ray-Bans?


SUZY… how the heck are you feeling? I want to hear more about how your running is going while being pregnant. Do you use a belly band? That SAVED me with Brooke! Yep, I do wear my ray-bans while I run… they never bother me and stay right in place! I hope you are having a beautiful day!


This is the best pregnancy yet! Isn’t that crazy? I’m 39 and I feel better now than I did when I was 21 and pregnant with Jake! You’re probably not even going to believe me but I’ve been consistently logging 70 miles per week (60 miles per week in the first trimester, and I hit 76 miles about 3 weeks ago). I KNOW I KNOW IT’S UNREAL. My 25 week update is on my last post on Instagram if you’re curious. @suzyhastheruns

Hey, if you guys ever come back up here we should meet up for dessert somewhere if it’s just the four of us or a park if the kids are too and we can share blended family stories/trials/successes. I think the last time you were here you came to Victoria which is a ferry ride over from where we are in the Vancouver area.

K, later skater. :)


WOW!! Suzy… you are INCREDIBLE!!! Okay, I am so excited because I am your newest follower and just read your 25 week post on your blog. You are hilarious, I love it and you inspire me! Ummm yes next time we are there we are SO hanging out and talking about everything!!


The portion on efforts really resonated with me. I am a spin instructor and teach 4-5x a week but I am also about to start Hansons Half Marathon training plan which asks for 6 runs/week (with 3-4 at an easy pace). I am unsure how to modify this to give myself at least 1 day completely off, while not having to teach 2 spin classes and run hard in the same day. I really don’t want to get injured but at the same time I want to PR for the half I have this fall. Any suggestions of how you found a balance while teaching spin that still allowed you to improve as a runner? Thanks and loved today’s post!


Hey Katrina!! I love hearing from other spin instructors… spin is the best:) Is it possible for you to take it easy during your spin classes… i.e. when I was pregnant with Brooke I still taught but I really took it easy on the bike (I didn’t want to overdo it). Maybe switch out one or two of your days of running with your spin classes. I think spin has HUGE benefits for our running but it is just tricky if we are doing too much hard running + hard spin classes. Maybe cut back the distance on some of your easier days for your spin class. Does that help at all? SUPER excited for you and I love the Hansons Half Marathon training plan, I had huge results from that!


Yes, that makes sense! I also feel like spinning helps with running! I can definitely go easier during my classes and add less resistance for spin/cut back on mileage on days where I am doing an easy run. Thanks for the tips!!


Oh good!! Please keep me updated with how you are doing with your training and classes! Seriously, spin taught me to have a quick leg turnover and you are going to ROCK your next race!


First of all, I want Brooke’s flamingo suit! So cute!

I am probably in the 2-4 effort group. I’ve been using youtube videos with weights at home, but the hubs and I are starting back into a boot camp type class that focuses on circuit training. I need some peeps to work out with :)

I usually eat about the same at lunch and dinner because my lunch is so early at work (10:42) so I typically snack between lunch and dinner.

Today was 5 miles of hill work with friends.


What happens if you are trying to get back into shape, and every freaking 5k run is an effort? I used to be a legit athlete & distance runner, and I moved to a really hot climate, didn’t run for years, and am now going through a lot of transitions that won’t allow exercise to be a priority. This means I am sometimes choosing between running at the very hottest part of the day, or not at all. I swear, I used to be able to run a half-marathon in my sleep, and now I am praying and singing the Eye of the Tiger to myself & who knows what else to motivate myself to run for 30 min in a row. Any tips for this humbling time period, & how to get through the “every day is an effort day” phase? Thanks!


HEY LUCY!!! I am excited for you getting back into running shape… doing it in a hot area is especially rough though! You are not alone, this happens to us all when we are getting back into it (isn’t it crazy how much our perspective changes with distance/effort from when we are in really good shape to when we aren’t?!). Have you been doing a run/walk method at all? I think that might really help as your body is acclimating to the temperatures and building endurance again. That might help to make it feel like every day isn’t a hard effort too! Remember you are not alone with this! This happens to all of us. Stick with it because you will be back to where you are and so happy that you did. Build up your running slowly and decrease your walking breaks with time. Run/walk is SO helpful when getting back into things! Keep going with your training… I am cheering you on!


Super interesting – I do tend to think of my cross-training days as not much of an effort, but sometimes I do like HIIT workouts…so obviously that would count! Definitely need to be aware of that.


Hmm. Maybe 1 – 2 (definitely a medium long run) but the rest of it is pretty unstructured at the moment (other than just getting the miles). Sometimes I will throw in faster surges or find a set of stairs to climb. I have done some spin classes – but I definitely need to put in some time at the gym!

My wed run was about 9 miles way too early (5 am) before work but got it done. I got to run by the beach and the seawall and see the sunrise and it was beautiful (I live in BC so am totally spoiled)

And definitely a bigger lunch than dinner for me.


Two days of effort are good for me two. Right now I’m not doing speed work, so long runs will be my only effort of the week at least until July.

I used to eat bigger lunches than dinners but my boyfriend is all the oposite. So now I’m trying to switch things up a little bit since dinner is the only meal of the day that we can spend together.

My Wednesday run was three easy miles on my new stability shoes. They are feeling amazing. I don’t think I understood the importance of wearing the right shoe for your foot strike until now.

Have a nice day, Janae!


Hello Janae,
Today you mentioned showing Brook sight word flash cards. Great! I’d really appreciate it if you could either mention on your blog or just email me what program was used to teach Brook both her ABC’s and also the basics of reading. Did you do some of that, or did her preschool primarily do that? If the ladder, do you know the program her preschool uses? Thanks.


HEY AMY!!! I hope you are having a great day! So her preschool primarily did a lot of the basics (I’m not quite sure what they used) but I’ve read to her since she was just a baby and she loves that. I use My First BOB Books with her a ton too! For the sight words we have been using these and loving them:



That steak salad looks good! How do you make your steak? I never cook steak but I like it. We usually eat smaller lunch and bigger dinner but a big lunch does better at keeping me from afternoon munchies.


Hey Mary!!! We just bbq it on the grill outside. Andrew will bbq a few at a time and then we will chop them up and use them throughout the weeks! Try it, so so good!


Hey Janae! Right now, I am doing about 2 hard effort days a week, but will most likely increase it to 3 days once I get further along in my marathon training!! For my effort days, I am running hills with my local running group (usually totaling around 6 miles) and then a long run on the weekend! I am planning on adding a tempo run in the week as the weeks progress!

My run today was an easy effort. slow (building those capillaries!) 3 mile stroller run :) I got hills tomorrow!!


I love the stair master and the bike in the gym! I do best with just a couple of days of hard effort…or else I seem to get injured. My run today is just an easy run :) You always give me salad envy!


Ugh!!! I am that person that probably followed the same training plan as you for the last year! I run hard and long all the time! Now my body is yelling at me! I’ve made a goal leading into my October half marathon training, that my mom easy runs remain easy – and my effort runs are appropriate for me! Thank you for the reminder that cross training can count as an effort as well!

P.S. dinner is always my biggest meal! I have an easy time controlling my eating during the day – then I let loose at dinner!

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