Lactate Threshold- what it is & how it can make you faster

Most runners have probably heard of a “tempo run”. I want to remove the ‘gray area’ from this phrase for you to understand how to improve your running by doing this type of run the correct way.

Why are tempo runs important?

  • Trains the cardiovascular & muscular system to utilize oxygen while simultaneously removing waste products such as carbon dioxide & lactic acid (image a bath running with the drain open.  Running at LT tempo pace is the rate at which the waste removal and waste production is basically the exact same). If you run ‘faster’ than your body can remove the waste, then you are defeating the purpose of the tempo run. We want to “toe the line”. It’s like black jack- you it’s better to be a little under pace than over!
  • Improves endurance and the “rate” that your body can remove the waste allowing you to run faster for longer
  • Promotes efficient running form
  • Teaches mental toughness & self control
  • Keep us ‘honest’ with our current fitness level & good gauge for coaches to predict future race performances


What is roughly your tempo pace?

Use this calculator to find out

For example, I plugged in a 23:30 5k race result & here are the paces:

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Short Tempo- 30 min or less in total duration – 15-10k pace

Mid Tempo- 30-60 min in total duration– half marathon pace

Long Tempo- 50-90 min in total duration – marathon pace

It’s VERY important to note that your body is not always going to hit the exact same pace for a tempo run. Fatigue & stress will effect your pacing from day to day. 

Other pace effecting factors:

  • grade % (uphill, downhill)
  • temperature
  • terrain (trails, track, road)
  • Wind (headwind vs tail wind)

Go off “feel” rather than “pace”. During a tempo run it is SO important to NOT obsess over the pace you are running. Don’t over think it. Don’t get in your own head. Don’t push yourself ‘over your threshold’. 

Most importantly- How should you feel during a tempo run?

  • like you could keep going at this speed for longer than prescribed if you had to
  • like you could speed up if you had to
  • it should feel hard, but you should not feel like you are giving 100% – do NOT race this
  • breathing should be heavier than usually, but you COULD say a few words if you absolutely HAD to talk– probably don’t feel like talking at all
  • HR usually at 80-92% of max HR (ie. if max HR is 200 then 160-184 BPM)

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Should I warm up and cool down?

ALWAYS WARM UP AND COOL DOWN WITH EASY RUNNING. This is SO critical and SO important! Warming up can prevent SO many injuries. Your body needs to get warmed up for the faster running. Your warm up should be ran at an easy pace for at least 10-20 min before you begin a workout. 

How Often should you run at this pace?

Only 25% of your running mileage should be ran faster than an easy pace. For more about “easy running” read my previous blog here.  A great book to read on this theory is 80/20 by running coach Matt Fitzgerald

Example– if you run 40 miles per week, 30 miles should be run at an easy pace & 10 miles can be ran “faster”

I recommend at least 24 hours of easy running or rest between running “faster” workouts. 

Example Week of Training:

23:30 5ker running 40 miles per week (using 25% ‘hard effort’ limit)

Monday- 6 miles easy (9:30 avg pace)

Tuesday- 7 miles (1.5 mi easy warm up + 3 mile tempo @ 7:51 avg + 1.5 mi easy cool down)

Wednesday- 5 mile easy (9:30 avg pace)

Thursday- 7 miles (1.5 mi easy warm up + 5 x .5 mile @ 7:35 avg (5k pace)  with  .25 mi easy jog between + 1.5 mi cool down)

Friday- 5 mile easy ( 9:30 avg)

Saturday- 10 miles (3 miles easy warm up + 4.5 mile tempo @ 8:06 avg pace + 2.5 mi easy cool down)

Sunday– rest day 

I want to help you reach your full potential as a runner:

Victoria Phillippi

Tips for Running with a dog

Things to Note:

  •  dogs do not have more natural endurance than you do
  • if you are hot, your dog is 10x hotter with a fur coat on
  • Always bring a bag for dog poop!
  • My favorite running leash for a dog can be bought here:

I adopted my dog, Abby, from the Animal Humane Society in August 2014. She is a 4 year old, 50 pound black “mutt”. When we first got her, she could barely make it 1 mile. I worked with her 3-4x per week to get her endurance up. Over the years, she has done some impressive workouts with my husband Jason and I. Jason took her on a 10 miler with 5 miles @ 5:50 pace this past winter. She has done several 10+ milers at 7:30 pace. She has also pulled me to several sub 5:50 miles :). 

These below tips are only for adult dogs who have been cleared to run by a vet 🙂

Remember to always bring a poop bag and encourage them at the end!


Week 1- Your dog gets over excited then tired quickly- time to build endurance

  • Start off slowly- bring your Garmin and go 1/2 to 1 mile with your pup. track the pace and distance as a bench mark
  • Repeat the 1 or 1/2 mile run with your pup 3-4x the first week
  • They will likely start off really fast then trail off at the end. This is okay for the start. Try to stay patient because they will learn how to pace themselfs

Week 2- Your dog gets super excited and pulls too hard- time to teach negative splits

  • Increase the distance to 1-2 miles total (double). Track the pace and distance
  • Do these 1-2 mile runs 3-4x this second week
  • They will probably still pull a lot in the beginning
  • When they slow down at the end, try to encourage them to speed up and “finish fast

Week 3- Your dog now has endurance, but needs to learn pacing! Positive reinforcement

  • Continue to add to the distance 2-3 miles 3x per week now
  • This week it is critical to do negative splits with your dog- try to encourage them to go fast at the end instead of the beginning

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I would repeat week 3 for as long as you can. This is a “sweet spot” for most dogs. I have found most dogs can work up to 3-5 miles without it being too taxing. However, it is important to be SO aware of how your dog is feeling. Remember, they are wearing a FUR COAT and do NOT have the ability to sweat. They might seem like they have a lot of energy, but their endurance must be built just like ours does! Your pups don’t have an actual ‘voice’ in how far you are thinking of taking them, so I recommend circling your house and asking them if they want to go inside after 2-3 miles. You will be able to tell if they are “up for more miles” or if they are ready to go take a nap if you just check in with them 🙂 Always be aware of the temperatures. Don’t run your dog more than 20 min if it’s over 75 degrees outside. If the temps are under 50, that is ideal dog running weather! 


Remember, your dog needs to learn how to run just like you did 🙂 It’s hard not to “go out too fast” especially when you have the enthusiasm of a dog. Try to stay patient with them. They will learn how to pace themselves.

A tired pup is a happy pup! 




Despite Qualifying 4 times, I will not be registering for the 2017 Boston Marathon

 I decided I will not be registering for the 2017 Boston Marathon. After two consecutive Boston Marathons, I am ready for something different this year.


1- I’ve ran 16 marathons in the past 3 years 11 of which were out of state.

2-In less than 3 years, I have ran a half or full marathon in 11 different states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida, California, Nevada, Mass., Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, etc), and I have dragged my husband to also run every single one of them.

3- I have ran and ran WELL at the Boston Marathon 2 times (3:20 & 3:26)

I don’t want to say “been there done that”, but in all honesty, I am just not as excited about it as I used to be. The thought of “traveling to run a race” almost makes me cringe. I also have a strong desire to train for a local marathon this spring like Run for the Lakes in Brainard, MN.

Recently, I have been dreading training for and running Boston again *gasp*

If my heart is not in it, I would much rather give my spot at Boston to someone who is DYING to be there.

I have so many non-running things to look forward to this spring, so while I am sad I won’t be getting all the sweet new Boston gear this year, I am glad I am making this decision

Fun Things I am looking forward to!

1- Jason and I purchased a new home which will be build and finished by April 2017

2- Jason and I will need to sell our home and move into our new home during April 2017

3- Jason will be finishing up his Administration graduate program (to become a principal) in May 2017


Marquette Half Marathon 1:28:10 PR & Win

The Marquette Marathon & Half Marathon take place in Marquette, MI. This year, the race fell on my dad’s 54th birthday- September 3rd, 2016. My parents had been planning to run this race as their first marathon for a long time. Two other athletes I coach would also be running Marquette as their first marathon. I knew it would be great to be there to support everyone. I decided to wait until August to sign up for any of the races. I realized the half marathon would be my best option 5 weeks out from TC Marathon. It would serve as a good “test of fitness”. Jason did the 5k 😉

The week leading up to September 3rd, 2016 was a whirlwind. It was Jason’s 30th Birthday & WE SIGNED ON A NEW HOUSE! 

Friday September 2nd rolls around, and we are able to hit the road after working most of the day around 1:30pm

The drive took about 7.5 hours, and we lost an hour from a timezone change. We got to our hotel around 9pm.

So much for carbo- loading. We ate gasstation food then stayed up until 11pm. It was not ideal for racing the next day, but I tried not to “get inside my own head”.

I was very aprehensive going into this half. Why?

March 2016- 1:29:02

June 2016- 1:31:30 (2.5 min slower)

March 2016- 1:32:30 (3.5 min slower)

May 2016- 1:33:30 (4.5 min slower)

Every time I have “raced” a half marathon since I set my PR 18 months ago, I have SLOWED down.  I almost convienced myself to “not even try” and just “do it as a workout”. I was feeling discouraged, but I decided I would rather fail again than not try.

Ever hear that “running is a mental sport”? It really is.


Gun goes off, there were at least 30 people in front of me including many women. I was going to “run my own race”.

 I was informed that the women’s winning time last year was 1:19. Placing, in my mind was 100% out of the question.  I tried to go SLOWER than I usually do at the beginning and not even pay attention to anyone else.

I set the screen of my garmin to only see my heart rate, and I just ran what felt “comfortable, but hard”

Mile 1- 7:09 – Slow slow slow. this was all in a dirt trail. Footing was weird. I was not expecting that kind of terrain, but I decided to just go with it

Mile 2- 6:49 Passed a person or 5. Pace felt very easy, and my heart rate was still in the 148-153 area. Just getting warmed up 😉

Mile 3- 6:49 Passed 2 women and gave my mom a hug who was at mile 8-9 of her marathon!

Mile 4- 6:50 There were some rolling hills here- still completely on a dirt trail. It was starting to get a bit harder, so I eased up on the effort level. 

Mile 5- 6:39 Ran past my dad in his marathon! I also caught up with some guy who was going at a great pace, and I decided to run right next to him. It was great to have a passing partner. 

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Mile 6- 6:31 The course has a 3-4 mile downhill section here, and I was feeling freaking amazing. I was in such high spirits. It felt incredible & still running next to that guy 🙂

Mile 7- 6:26 I could not stop smiling! Neal Collick (Superior Runner) who Jason and I met at the Boston marathon in 2015 was taking pictures along the course, and I think I shouted something like “I love this course” 

Mile 8- 6:10 When I saw this mile click in, I was half confused and half estatic. Did I seriously just run a 6:10 mile? I started to wonder what sort of time I was on pace for. When I changed my garmin screen, I realized that if I just ran the next 5.1 miles @ 7:00 pace, I would meet my PR

Mile 9- 6:23 We turned off the downhill section, and I KNEW I needed to dig deep if I wanted a 1:28. This was the time I needed to GO

Mile 10- 6:30 It was about 10:06am right now. It was getting really hot. We were no longer in the trial, and I was starting to feel nausea. I needed to keep pushing for just 22 more min! I fought the pain

Mile 11- 6:56 Everything was hurting so bad. I was afraid to push too hard through here because I knew it was an uphill finish, and I needed to conserve for that

Mile 12- 7:02 The nausea was getting bad, and I just tried to dig as deep as I could!

Mile 13- 7:20– 150ft gain the last 1000 meters. It was SO brutal, but I was determined to PR. 

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FINISH- 1:28:10      6:43 per miles  1st woman   15th overall

When I heard the announcer at the finish line “here comes our first female in the half marathon”, I thought there was some sort of mistake. I had literally no idea that I was in first place. It was a cool surprise

After 18 months, I finally ran a personal best in the half marathon! Hard work always pays off even if it takes longer than you hope/expect.

 Don’t give up on a dream just because of the time it will take. The time will pass either way. Wouldn’t you rather spend it working towards it?

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After finishing, Jason and I immediately went to cheer on my parents who were at mile 18 of the full marathon! It might for a great “cool down” adding on an additional 3-4 miles.

We then went to the finish to cheer on my athlete’s Jessica & Amanda! These girls went from non-runners to MARATHON FINISHERS! They BOTH work full time AND have young kid(s) at home! They are a true example of hard work paying off. It’s never to late to pick up the sport!

We were also able to watch my parents finish their first marathon! This is the craziest thing. Back in 2011 when I started running compeitively, my family was border-line confused by my insanity. Why would someone run every day? Eventually my mom wanted to run a 5k.. A 5k turned into a 10k.. A 10k turned into a 10 miler…I remember she used to say “I could never run a half marathon”.. Then she got diagnosised with cancer.

She beat cancer after 6 months of chemo and a lot of surgeries. It sucks. I won’t sugar coat it. Cancer sucks, and it sucks for everyone involved. No one should have to deal with it, but she did, and she came out stronger!

I think both of my parents came out stronger from it because within a few months of being “cancer free”, my mom ran her first half marathon & my dad (who had never ran a step in his life) ran his first 5k! Obviously, the caught the running bug. It has been neat to coach them and see them transform into marathon finishers. It’s funny because now I am looking at them thinking THEY are the crazy ones. LOL

It was SO awesome watching 4 people I coached finish their first marathon. It is such an amazing accomplishment, and something they will remember for the rest of their lives! Its a life changing experience, and I think it makes you more confident in yourself and others