Friday Thrive

Friday Thrive

Happy Friday! This week’s edition of Friday Thrive rounds up some of my favorite things in running and the Pacific Northwest this week. 


Is longer always better when it comes to running? A writer for Outside Magazine argues fast mile is more impressive than a slow marathon and that longer isn’t always better. “Longer doesn’t automatically mean more difficult,” he argues. “The underlying assumption here is that race distance, rather than effort, is the ultimate validation of athletic prowess.”

I would never denigrate anyone’s accomplishment in ultra running or the marathon – being out there on your feet for hours upon hours is challenging. But I do think the author presents a valid perspective, one previously promulgated by Lauren Fleshman in her essay for Runner’s World, Why the 5K is Freaking Awesome.” (Edited for clarity: I do not agree with the tone of the author of the Outside article – ultras are really freaking hard and impressive. But his point is worth considering – is longer always superior?).

I do think a temptation exists in the society of distance runners to consider shorter distances lazy or assume that a 5K runner isn’t putting in mileage. The temptation also exists to uphold the marathon and only the marathon as a race worth training for; runners will run several marathons a year, rather than training for multiple distances. For some, the half marathon and slower only serves as a build-up or tune-up for the marathon, rather than a challenging event in its own right. 

After I crossed the finish line at my most recent 10K, I told Ryan that the race felt harder than my last marathon. Shorter distances may be over more quickly, but the searing pain of running hard lasts for a longer percentage of the race and there’s no forgiveness for a lack of mental strength even in a single mile. Yes, the marathon and ultra marathon are hard – but so are the 5K and mile. Friday Thrive


One of my favorite workouts is two-mile threshold repeats. My training and coaching style is heavily influenced by Jack Daniels and Brad Hudson, both of whom include two-mile threshold repeats as a staple in their training plans. Two-mile repeats break a traditional tempo run into smaller intervals with short recoveries, meaning that you can add on more quality training and reduce your risk of injury. You can read how to do this workout over on my  latest post on Runkeeper’s blog!

Friday Thrive


My latest post on Rainier Fruit’s blog discusses how to incorporate aerobic cross-training and supplement training (such as strength training) into your training plan. I am a firm believer that runners should do more than just run – lift, do Pilates or yoga or barre, hike, cycle, swim, etc. – because moving your body in a variety of planes of motions makes you a better athlete. A better athlete is a better runner! 


The water in the North Cascades National Park is one of the most stunning shades of aquamarine I’ve ever seen. This photo barely does justice to how beautiful Diabolo Lake is!

Friday Thrive


Aimee ran her first marathon and beat her A-goal with a 4:18 finish time! 
April finished strong at the West Seattle Half despite hills and heat! 
Every single one of my athletes (especially Erin C.! who trains in temperatures I can’t even imagine) are persevering and sticking to their training through the summer heat. Whether you are running 3 miles or 20 miles, summer running is physically hard and mentally challenging. 

I wish you a wonderful weekend and leave you with this photo of Charlie, patiently awaiting his pup cup ice cream treat. 

Friday Thrive

[Tweet “Mile races versus ultras, two-mile repeats, and more on #FridayThrive from @thisrunrecipes #running @Runkeeper @RainierFruit”]

Would you rather race a fast mile or run an ultra? 
What’s your favorite type of cross-training? 

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18 Responses

  1. So typical me, there’s stipulations. 🙂 I wouldn’t mind do either a fast mile or an ultra. However, for an ultra I’m thinking 50k. 50 or 100 miles does not entertain me at all. I totally agree with that article. I had someone tell me last week that I should drop down to the 5k instead of the 10k if I wasn’t sure of myself. But then I had to explain that yes I’d run shorter but I’d have to run a whole lot faster! The pain is just over sooner!

    1. I’m the same way – always stipulations! I think there’s a definite difference between doing 50K or 100 miles – a 50k doesn’t seem that much different than a marathon (but I know I’d be saying something different at mile 27). And the 5K is so intimidating!

  2. Hey friend! I’ve missed reading about all your gorgeous adventures!! That water??? I just can’t even. WOW. And you know I love me a good shot of Charlie 🙂
    Couldn’t agree more about the shorter distances. A 5k is like hell and I would rather run a half marathon ANY DAY!! Looking forward to reading that Outside article and the Fleshman one about the 5k is actually on the RW Rundown today…
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hey friend, I’ve missed you – hope you enjoyed Cape and welcome back! I know – that water is surreal. And yeah – the 5K is a special type of pain and I’d take the half or even a 10K over it any day… which I do! Have a great weekend!

  3. Congrats to your clients! I don’t think that a fast mile is more impressive than a long run. I don’t think the opposite either! Each are impressive in their own right, and I am over the competition between fast short burst style HIIT and long chill controlled workouts like yoga and pilates. TO EACH THEIR OWN

    1. Each are impressive in their own right – but the disparaging of shorter races needs to cease. I’ve had athletes say “well, it’s just a 5K, but I want to PR/break a time barrier” and I want them to know that a 5K PR is just as impressive as a marathon and that they do not need to downplay their accomplishments because the running media has portrayed longer as better. Runners who run ultras are impressive and runners who run 5Ks and shorter are impressive – because no matter the distance, racing is HARD.

  4. You sure do love Outside Mag articles!

    I think there is an assumption that longer is superior when it comes to running, but I think that’s a reflection of our society’s general value of bigger=better. I have utmost respect for the short distances which is why I don’t run them – I’m too scared! I don’t think the marathon is superior to a fast mile but I do think that because of how challenging the distance is, there is always a sense of satisfaction and pride in just finishing. If I slack in my training I risk not being able to finish at any pace; if I slack in training for a short distance I may have a slow race performance but I can almost certainly still finish (and try again next weekend!).

    1. I do like Outside quite a bit! My favorite used to be Running Times, but they ceased publication about two years ago. Sweat Science on Runner’s World is another good one, but it can be a bit too technical for a good discussion, I think. Fraioli’s Morning Shakeout is another good one, but alas, an email newsletter is different in terms of sharing.
      And that is true about the marathon requiring training just to finish – you can’t slack on training. But a mile… you can pour months of training into it and shave off only seconds. Running a mile race scares the pants off of me.

  5. Your coaching got me to that start line! You and the pacer got me through the finish line!

    I am really enjoying yoga as part of my cross-training right now. It feels like a near constant struggle to find the balance of how many days and what types of cross-training to do each week. I really feel like my body is happy with 4 days of running (plus soccer….I will be back to that soon!).

    The picture of Diablo Lake is breathtaking!! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!

  6. Oh I’d WAYYYY rather run long–it’s way easier for me! Running short distances is so tough! But I guess it’s good for each of us to branch out and do what’s difficult once in a while just to create balance, but not if it sacrifices fun and enjoyment!

    1. I agree – fun and enjoyment are a huge factor and one which the author of the piece neglects to consider. There is a definite benefit to branching out – I think a short race can improve performance at long distances, and vice versa.

  7. I plan to run an ultra someday, but generally I’d choose the 1-mile race. Shorter distances play more to my natural strengths – even though I’m not fast, running hard feels easier than running far.

  8. how funny I brought it up yesterday about running faster and shorter over longer? lol. I definitely think that shorter distances at a faster pace are much more challenging for me! and the water in that picture is beautiful. I wish the ocean and bay would look like that here!

  9. Those pictures are gorgeous!

    I too read that article. I will never run an ultra, that’s just not for me. 50 miles is a nice week. I would love to run a one mile race and experience that kind of concentrated pain though- we just don’t have it here. As someone who runs shorter distances (is it sad that a half marathon is now considered “short” with all this longer is better mess?), I’ve had these issues… I once ran a 5K associated with an ultra where people gave me a hard time for not running the 50K. I won’t ever do this again and will just pick another race, which is sad because that was a charity event in memory of a friend’s son, but I got so much crap from other runners there over my race choice! Some of us DO run 40-50 mpw but DON’T want to run ultras… nothing against those who want to do that, it’s their choice, sport, and body, but not for me.

    1. I’m really sorry to hear you got attitude from the runners! That’s what I don’t understand – why is there the battle of long versus short, rather than just recognizing that both are hard work and different runners have different strengths?

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