Monthly Archives: July 2014

My Top 8 Short and Sweet Treadmill Workouts

Let’s face it. Running on the treadmill can be super boring, especially when you are trying to get your 30-60 minutes of cardio per day.

While long cardio sessions have their benefits, it’s important not to dismiss the short ones.

If you don’t have 30 minutes-no problem!

Below are 8 awesome treadmill workouts that can be done under 30 minutes. Prior to starting each of these workouts, warm-up for 3-5 minutes. Please note that the speeds provided in this article are only examples.

1. The 12-Minute Terror (my favorite!). Set the treadmill speed to the highest you can tolerate for the first 6 minutes. Then, with only 6 minutes left, increase the speed by 0.1 mph (ie. 9.0 mph to 9.1 mph). If you are up for it, increase the speed by another 0.1 mph with only 3 minutes to go. As you get fitter, you will be able to start at a higher speed.

2. The 10-Minute Countdown. Set the treadmill speed to the highest you can tolerate for the whole 10 minutes. The pace must feel challenging to you. Two weeks later, provided that you’ve done this workout at least 2-3 times per week, try increasing that speed by 0.1 mph and see how that feels for the entire 10 minutes. Keep repeating this pattern every 2 weeks.

3. The Fun 21. This workout lasts…you guessed it! 21 minutes. For the first 7 minutes, keep a fairly conservative pace. Then, for the next 7 minutes, speed up by anywhere between 0.2-0.5 mph. After that, give it all you’ve got for the last 7 minutes (increase speed by 0.2-0.5 mph once again). As you get fitter, you will be able to start and finish faster.

4. The 20-minute tempo.  Maintain a comfortably hard, but steady pace for 20 minutes. If you are looking to make this workout a little more challenging, then complete the last 10 minutes of the 20 minute workout at a pace that’s 0.1-0.2 mph faster. You should not be able to carry on a conversation while doing this workout.

5. Crazy 8. Start at a comfortably hard pace for the first minute. Then, increase the treadmill speed by 0.1 mph with each subsequent minute. The 8th minute should feel very hard, but it should also give you a sense of relief because you will be finished the workout shortly thereafter.

6. Intervals. It would be a crime not to include intervals on my list. Try doing 2 minutes of hard running (rate of perceived exertion should be around 7.5-8.5 on a scale of 1-10) followed by a 1 minute recovery. Repeat 6 times for a total of 18 minutes.

7. Hills and Thrills. Start at a fairly conservative pace but keep increasing the incline by 1 every subsequent minute for the next 10 minutes. Do not slow down during the whole workout (if you can).

8. The Ultimate Test. Start at incline 0 and at a comfortable speed for the first minute. As each subsequent minute goes by, increase your speed by 0.5 mph. If you get to the point where the treadmill is at its maximum speed, then start increasing the incline by 1 as each subsequent minute passes until you can no longer keep going. Make note of the speed you started, what speed you ended with, whether you had to use the incline, and how long you lasted. Try this every 2-4 weeks.

Please note that each of the workouts should end with a 3-5 minute cooldown and stretch.

I hope that these workouts will help you alleviate boredom during your cardio sessions. They are too hard and too short to be boring if done right.

Please keep in mind that this does not mean you should reduce your total cardio time. These workouts were designed to give you some new ideas to try.

As with any workouts, start easy and then speed up as you gain more confidence with each subsequent workout. Also, make sure you know where the emergency stop button is on the treadmill you are using.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me 🙂


P.S. Pass this on if you found it helpful.

SUCCESS Story: Congratulations, Stephen! 10k personal best and more!

Earlier this year, my client Stephen set a goal to run the Times Colonist 10k 2014 in under 50 minutes. His previous best time in this distance was back in 2010, which was 1:09:47.

I have been working with Stephen since October 2013 and in December 2013 he expressed an interest in one of my 10 week running programs in order to help him achieve a personal best in the 10k.

It became apparent to me that he was looking for a 20-minute improvement in his 10k time.

My response was something along the lines of this: “I cannot predict how you will feel on race day and what will happen, but what I can almost guarantee is that I can for sure help you improve your 10k time by 20 (or more) minutes in approximately 10 weeks.”

I know how hard Stephen works during my sessions and I knew that when he sets his mind to something, he will undoubtedly achieve it.

Therefore, I had no reservations when I made the above statement. That statement came directly from my belief in him.

He has shown nothing but progress in everything we’ve done during our sessions and I KNEW that he would do really well following my running program.

Now, I know you might be a little skeptical about my “guarantee” because you cannot believe that someone could improve that much in such a relatively short period of time. I DEFINITELY believed it because I’ve experienced it before.

When Stephen got through 8 weeks of the 10 week program, he spontaneously signed up for the Sooke River 10k race on April 13, 2014, which took place exactly two weeks before the TC10k.

Stephen’s performance in the Sooke River 10k proved that I was accurate in my predictions for him. He finished that race in 48:26, which meant that he already accomplished his goal of breaking 50 minutes. I was extremely proud of him.

At that point, I was pretty sure that he would post another personal best at the TC10k, because the Sooke race was not an easy course.

Once again, my prediction was spot on. He finished the TC10k  in 46:31 (chip/net time), which is almost a 2-minute improvement from two weeks ago.


Above: Stephen and I at the TC10k 2014 finish line. BIG thumbs up!

Here’s what he said to me in a text message: “Thanks for all the help and encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you. You’re a very inspiring coach.”

Several weeks later, Stephen posted another personal best. He benched 245 lbs, which became his newest personal best.


Above: Stephen got the $20 bonus because he benched over 240 lbs.

That amazing moment when a client achieves a personal best is definitely a moment worth celebrating.

Words cannot describe how proud I am of how far you’ve come, Stephen. Thank you so much for believing in me as a trainer. It’s an honour and a privilege to watch you reach your fitness goals.

Stephen is currently well on his way to running his first half marathon this fall. He is a pleasure to work with and I look forward to seeing him cross that finish line.





What Arlene Dickinson’s “All In” Taught Me About Athletics and Entrepreneurship

In case you haven’t heard of it, Arlene Dickinson’s newest book, “All In” gives a highly comprehensive overview of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. It also includes some fascinating stories and tips for anyone that has a dream and is determined to pursue it.


So, you’re probably wondering, why am I talking about this book on entrepreneurship and business in my fitness blog.

Maybe it’s because I feel like I should post something other than race reports, client success stories and fitness tips in order to give you guys a little more.

The reality is, as I read this book, I found more and more similarities between serious pursuit of athletics and entrepreneurship.

My goal with this post is to show you how they are similar as well as share some of the key takeaways that I got from this book. Then, I can apply them to my own serious pursuit of athletic excellence and entrepreneurship.

1. You have to be all in. Just like an entrepreneur gives it all he/she has, an athlete has to do the same in order to increase their likelihood of success. Both of the aforementioned are a lifestyle choice rather than being a small part of your life if you are very serious about it.

2. It’s not all glamorous. The media often glamorizes both entrepreneurs and athletes, showing how amazing life is for those who achieved success. Although success is awesome, many of those successful people had to overcome a lot of challenges in order to get to where they are.

3. There will be naysayers and detractors. Not everyone will like your idea nor will they all believe that you can achieve your dreams. Learn to tune out negativity while at the same time listen to constructive feedback that could potentially help you. There is a huge difference between negative naysayers and people who offer constructive criticism that could genuinely help you. Therefore, learn to decipher.

4. Maintaining relationships can be challenging. An athlete is always committed to training for his/her sport while an entrepreneur is always tending to his/her business. Therefore, it’s hard to make time for people who don’t understand the commitment level required to seriously pursue a sport or run a business. There is no reason to feel guilty about it.

5. Real growth is outside the comfort zone. Neither athletes nor entrepreneurs should let fear hold them back. Both athletes and entrepreneurs must learn to push their boundaries in a way that improves their skill level, in order to reach their full potential.

6. Self-doubt can creep in at any moment. Neither athletics nor entrepreneurship ever guarantee success. Therefore, it’s natural to question whether you’re doing the right thing as well as wonder how everything will turn out. The key is to not let self-doubt get the best of you.

7. Things don’t always go as planned. Entrepreneurs may have business plans and athletes have training plans. However, life sometimes gets in the way of those plans and unforeseen circumstances can arise. The key is to accept it, learn to deal with it and keep on moving forward, even if that means slightly altering your plans to reach those goals.

8. Don’t let success get to your head. Even the slightest hint of entrepreneurial or athletic success can send some people’s egos into the stratosphere. Learn how to stay grounded regardless of how much success you experience because #7 can happen at any stage of your game.

9. There is no one single road to success. There are as many different roads to success as there are successful entrepreneurs and/or athletes. Although there are general guidelines, it’s important to carve your own path…you know…the one that’s right for YOU.

10. Be more self-aware. Both athletes and entrepreneurs must be in tune with their strengths and weaknesses. They must also know the real reason why they started their journey in the first place. Learn who you are and what motivates you in order to give it all you’ve got.

Please keep in mind that these are 10 takeaways that I got from reading the book. Yours might be different. The best way to find out is to get your own copy of “All In” on Amazon. I highly recommend this book and I’m a big fan of Arlene’s work.

The Q’s Victoria Run Series July 5th, 2014 Track Meet Recap

By the time this last track meet of The Q’s Victoria Run Series 2014 rolled around, I could not wait to get out there to work, race and hang out with a bunch of awesome people.

When I go to events like this, I view them as opportunities to connect with like-minded people who share my passion for running and fitness. Yes, I care how fast I finish the races, but that isn’t the only reason why I take part.

The main reason why I was there this year (for those of you who are new to my blog) is because one of my jobs (other than personal training and writing) is to raise awareness of Muscle MLK, which is a tasty, ready-to-drink protein beverage designed to help athletes recover after a workout/race.

I’m extremely thrilled that I’ve been able to race in this series of track meets. I love racing and sharing my love for running with everyone.

This time I opted to race the 800m followed by the 5000m (I’m glad it wasn’t the other way around, as I’m sure the 800m after the 5000m wouldn’t be as fun. The whole evening was fantastic!

First, I watched my client Stephen finish an excellent 600m, where he was one of the top 3 overall finishers. Seconds, people have become more aware of Muscle MLK and it appeared like they enjoyed it even more. Third, I got to race. That’s right! It’s awesome!


Above: Stephen with his medal and Muscle MLK.

This time, the 800m went very well. I ended up being in the slightly faster heat and I was the 2nd female to cross the finish line in the open-mixed 800m with a time of 2:34.7. I was happy with that time because I had to do another race right after so I didn’t want to go all out and I was also working.

The 5000m was equally as exciting. There were a lot of people doing it. At the start line I said that I would finish in 20 minutes in case if anyone wanted to tag along and achieve that target. Sure enough, some people had that goal so they said they would stick with me. I didn’t think of this as a “race”, but instead I thought about it as an opportunity to help fellow runners achieve their time goals.

I went a little faster than 4 min per km just to see how long I, and the people pacing with me, can keep it going.

I ended up being the 1st woman to cross the finish line in the open-mixed 5000m with a time of 19:43 (which to me is basically 20 min and is right on target).

Full results from that day are listed here.


Above: Lifting the cooler has become a post-track meet tradition. It’s my way of showing that it’s empty. HAHAHAHA

However, the most important thing was that it was a lot of FUN. I wasn’t trying to break any records, but I had quite a few seasonal bests throughout the series.

If you are wondering about these races, check out The Q’s Victoria Run Series. If you are considering signing up, I say DO IT. It’s an enjoyable experience for everyone and is totally worth it.

10 Tips for a Faster 10k

The 10k is one of those challenging yet very doable distances. Most people feel that with the right training they can confidently finish a 10k without being overwhelmed. Additionally, there is almost always room for improvement.

What makes this particular distance challenging is that it requires the right combination of aerobic and anaerobic training in order to get faster.

Below are 10 tips that will help you achieve a new personal best on your 10k.

1. Constant long, slow running produces long, slow results. If you are always running long and slow, you will not get faster because your body will not be used to an increase in pace.

2. Variety is important. Doing the same run, at the same pace along the same route is very boring and ineffective. Vary your pace, distance and route to keep yourself excited about your upcoming training runs.

3. Add some hill repeats. Find a moderate size hill, sprint up it as fast as you can, jog down to recover. Then, repeat as many times as you need to challenge yourself.

4. Add 400m repeats to your training. After doing a quick warm-up, try doing 6*400m repeats with 1-2 min recovery time between each. Keep them all at a consistent pace, preferably slightly faster than your 3km effort. This type of workout will challenge you to run faster. As the workout gets easier over time, you can progressively begin to do more than 6 repeats.

5. Add 800m repeats to your training. After a warm-up, try doing 4*800m repeats at your 3km effort. Take 2 minutes between each 800m to recover. As you improve, you can decrease your recovery time, increase the number of repetitions, or try to go a little bit faster to keep on challenging yourself.

6. Once a week, run longer than 10k. Running slightly longer than 10k, even if you are not going as fast, will improve your aerobic capacity. However, in order to prevent injuries, don’t increase your long run distance too much too soon.GPSreading

Above: Yes, I’ve run 30km at once, but you don’t have to do 30. Try 12, then 14, then 16.

7. Rest. You should have a rest day following a very hard workout in order to allow your body to recover so you can push yourself harder next time.

8. Run with people who are faster than you. If you train with people who are faster than you, they will undoubtedly push you to speed up. Plus, working out with other people is pretty awesome when everyone is in it to achieve their fitness goals.


Above: That’s why I run with these guys. They are FAST!

9. Don’t just run. Incorporate other types of workouts into your training. Some examples include: skipping rope, spin classes, biking, stair runs, plyometric jumps, pool running and weight training. This will keep you more excited about your workouts because you will always have something different to do.IMG_1680

Above: Yes, I lift. I also run stairs, skip and do other things.

10. Stop worrying about it and have some fun. Constantly worrying about how fast you are and what your pace is can take all the fun out of your training. Yes, you should track it, but if you have a bad workout or a bad time trial, then just don’t worry about it. Just remember, there is always time for a new personal best, so stay positive about the process and remember to enjoy it.

If you believe that these tips are beneficial, please pass this article on to your running friends.


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