Run for the Hills: Workouts to Train for a Hilly Race

The Chattanooga Chase 8k is just around the corner on Monday, May 29. Established in 1969, the race is the area’s oldest active competitive road race, featuring a HILLY 8k and a fast 1-mile race through Chattanooga’s North Shore. Rock/Creek will be awarding a premium to the first male and female to reach the water station atop Minnekahda Avenue, the race’s most challenging climb! 

To help get your legs in shape to survive, I mean run, this historic 8k, we asked a few noteworthy, and fast, runners to give us their favorite hill workouts and tips on how to run them. Add these workouts into your weekly routine to prepare yourself for the Chase!

Daniel Goetz, local runner and coach

Workout 1:

This is a 10 mile run total. Run 5 miles uphill, then turn around and go back down. The distance is not as important as long as you're challenging yourself.

I like to do this every other week instead of a long run. I would suggest having at least one easy day after and before doing a workout. I like this workout simply because it's tough.

Because you're running uphill, you don't have to run fast to work hard. You don't have to push, just let the hill do the work. You will be breathing hard and your legs will be burning, and all you have to focus on is to keep moving and make it to the top. Once you’re at the top, stop and check out the view for a second then turn around and head back down.

Going down will feel different at first because you're not having to produce as much power to get your body up the hill. Instead, your body is working hard to reduce the shock of fighting gravity's pull. Again don't push. Just relax, lean forward, and let gravity do its job. You'll likely come down a few minutes faster than your pace on the way up.

Since there’s so much downhill, I recommend doing this workout on a dirt road, wide trail, or flat terrain.

Workout 2:

Start with a 10-15 minute light tempo run. Then run 3-5 sets of :30 seconds, :45 seconds, :30 seconds hill sprints with a walk/jog recovery on the downhill and 3-4 minutes between sets. The hill should be moderately steep, nothing crazy (a great hill is Whitehall Road).

The light tempo run at the beginning of the workout has two functions. First, it helps warm up your legs before you hit the hills. Then when you start the hill repeats, your legs will already have a good amount of work in them, so they have to push harder during the workout.

The effort on the hills should be pretty high. As you try this hill workout, you'll have to learn how to distribute effort throughout the sets. When the effort is high and it becomes harder to push, focus on being tall, using your arms, and lifting your legs quickly.

Hills are God's gift to runners. Any variation of these workouts are beneficial. Make sure to stretch well, foam roll, and whatever else to take care of your muscles and joints afterward!

Patrick Reagan, 100k American record holder, U.S. Olympic Qualifier

One of my favorite hill workouts is uphill, downhill 2 mile repeats. If you have a bridge or hill that is around a mile up and a mile down, I suggest a structure similar to this session:

Start with a 2-3 mile warmup. Then perform 3-5 x 2 mile repeats at your trail marathon effort (If you have never run a marathon, let alone a trail marathon, think of this as slower than your 5k or 10k race pace but still a quick and sustainable speed.) Rest for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Don’t stop moving completely. Practice active recovery like walking around or slow, easy jogging.

A pace example for this workout is running uphill at a 6:35 minutes/mile pace and downhill at a 5:25 minutes/mile pace.  At the end of the workout run a 1-2 mile cool down.

Alan Outlaw, our beloved owner of Fast Break Athletics

Find a gradual grade hill that is not too steep. Run 8-10 repetitions of uphill sprints for 20 seconds. The 20 seconds helps to create better running form and glute strength. Focus on running with good, total body form. Pump your arms to increase your leg turnover. Pick up your feet, and push hard in the last few seconds.

Another great workout is to run a continuous steady effort on a hilly course. Pick an area of town with numerous hills to run you mid-week tempo run. Be aware of each hill and resist slowing your pace. Keep it steady.

Add one of these workouts into your weekly training and you will be ready to tackle the hills in the Chattanooga Chase! Sign up today to stay motivated! See you at the start line!

Chattanooga Takes on Boston

Currently, about 25 runners from Chattanooga and its surrounding cities are packing their gels, racing shoes, and singlets to travel to Boston, Massachusetts to run in one of the most famous marathons in the world. On April 17th, these men and women will line their toes with the starting line along with thousands of others to run a race that has taken hours of sweat, tears, miles, failures, triumphs and pure grit to qualify for. We wanted to recognize and cheer on our local athletes as they embark on the final leg of their 2017 Boston Marathon journey. We asked of few of them to share their stories in hopes that they will inspire Chattanooga’s local running community to dream big and set their goals high!

Ryan Shrum, age 49

This will be my 8th Boston and 53rd marathon overall.

I first got into running while at Rossville Junior High School School at the urging of the track coach there. I ran the mile in 8th, 9th and 10th grade before giving it up for twenty years. I got back into it to lose weight and to kick alcohol/drugs.

I was getting ready for my 3rd marathon, Chickamauga Battlefield in 2007, when local running legend Flash Cunningham asked me if I was going to try to qualify for Boston. I had no idea what he was talking about, so I did a little research. I needed a 3:20:59 to qualify. I thought that was impossible since my previous 2 marathons were in the 3:40's. When I got to twenty miles, I realized that I had a chance if I could pick up the pace a little. I ran a 3:19:51 with an almost 3 minute negative split and went to my first Boston in 2008.

I'm always trying new things in my training for Boston. The course is a hard one to master. This year I have backed off of the high mileage a little bit and focused more on quality workouts. For me, something bad almost always happens during my training for Boston. I've had freak injuries (broken toe, sprained ankle) and normal injuries (IT band syndrome, pulled hamstring, Achilles tendonitis). I was laid off from a job once during Boston training. I've had relationships end twice. The absolute worst though was when my Mother passed away in 2014, five days before Boston. She had been in the hospital for 3 months so it wasn't a totally unexpected, but still very tough for me to train for and go and run the race. That was what she wanted me to do though. She always loved to talk about the Boston Marathon.

My goal is 2:55 with a slight negative split, provided the weather is good. Good weather for me would be overcast with temps in the mid 40's.

boston runners-7.jpg

Morgan Olson, age 25

This is my first time going to Boston. I chose to run this race because I wanted a race to look forward to during a challenging time in my life. In training for Boston, I have had time to think and enjoy the life God has given me. Don’t get me wrong, the runs hurt and are hard, but I cherish the time I get to spend outside remembering all the blessings that have been poured out on me by those around me.

Although training has not gone as planned, I am coming up on my first marathon that I am injury free, which is a HUGE accomplishment. The biggest challenge for me is to remember that my body is different from others’, and what works for some doesn’t always work for me. The more marathons I run, the better I am at understanding this. If I can encourage anybody, I hope it is to do what works for you and enjoy doing it. Life is too short to be stressed out about running!

I want to look back at the 2017 Boston Marathon and know I gave it everything I had, whether that’s running fast; being helpful, encouraging and kind to those around; or accepting if the race does not go as planned. A lot can happen in 26.2 miles.  I hope whatever runs my way, I can find true joy and hope that my fellow Chattanooga runners, at Boston and here at home, can do the same!

Andy Highlander, age 29

I started running in 3rd grade when Cameron Bean got me to try out for the cross country team and track team. In high school, I knew I wanted to run all 6 major marathons. This is my first time running the Boston Marathon and my first time going to Boston! I'm excited for both! I qualified at the 2015 Chicago Marathon a few months after Cameron died. It was the hardest race of my life. I sat on a bench in Grant Park and cried after the race.

My goal for Boston 2017 is to average 6-minute miles. It's an ambitious goal, and I'll be happy with anything under 2:45, but if everything goes right, I should be able to run that pace.

"Just keep truckin'"

boston runners-3.jpg

Kevin Huwe, 30

I first started running when I was about twelve. Both my older brothers did it, so I just assumed I could too. I beat my older brother in my first 5k, but my friend beat me by 2 seconds. From then on, I just wanted to keep running and keep getting faster.

I missed qualifying for Boston in my first marathon by about 2 minutes, so I took another shot the next year at the Louisville Marathon and got in. I ran Boston in 2013 with a time fast enough to qualify for 2014. After all the events with the Boston bombing, I decided that I wanted to come back in 2014 and run again. But in 2014 I did not run fast enough to get back in, and at that point, I was out of running regularly. But soon after, I started writing a workout schedule for my wife and started back running with her. After she ran her goal race, I decided to write my own schedule and have been building back ever since.

My most important aspect to training is consistency. Next is not overtraining, followed by knowing how my body responds to different workouts. All in all, if you train consistently without overtraining, you're going to do well. Also, nutrition and hydration are almost as important as fitness in a marathon.

My main goal for Boston 2017 is just to run to my ability, whatever that is. I think my training indicates that I can run under 2:40, so that's what I'll be pacing for, but I will just go with whatever the day brings.

boston runners-6.jpg

Katie Outlaw, age 36

I started running about 10-11 years ago, mainly as a form of escape and time alone in the woods. My father passed away suddenly in 2005, and I found a lot of peace and solitude in the woods. I always ran alone with my dogs and became pretty addicted to the way running made me feel. I mainly ran trails, so I started signing up for some trail races around town. I ran several trail marathons, 50k’s and a 50 miler at Mt. Hood. Over the past three years, I’ve transitioned off the trail to more road running. At first it was just to get faster on the trails, but now I’m hooked! Although I can’t wait to get back to the trails after Boston.

I love setting goals and achieving them. I’ve never run a big road race with so many people and so much history, so Boston seemed like the perfect goal. However, I’ve only run 2 road marathons: Battlefield and Missoula Marathon in Montana where I qualified.

It’s been really surprising how much harder road marathoning is compared to trail ultras. The hardest part of training has been the 4:20 a.m. alarm! Juggling a full-time job as a school psychologist, being a mom to a very active daughter, and coaching track and cross country for Normal Park has been challenging. So most of my runs happen before 6 a.m.! And I take recovery pretty seriously. Naps, epsom salt baths, and massages.

At Boston, I really want to relax and have a good time… and get just 1 good race photo! I’ve trained really hard, so if the weather is good and everything falls into place, I hope to have a good race (but I don’t like to say time goals out loud!).

Scott Hamby, age 46

Before 2009, I had never run more than 3 miles. That spring, I started running with a friend of mine that was training for the San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon. I told her I'd maybe work up to 12 miles but had no intention of going any further. However, I ended up running through the entire training cycle with her and running the Battlefield marathon in November. I've been running ever since.

My average marathon time for several years was around 4:15 - 4:45, so I never considered trying to qualify for Boston. In 2014, I decided to make some changes and ran a 3:50 for the first time at the Kentucky Derby Marathon in April. After that, I thought getting a BQ (Boston Qualifier) time might actually be possible. At that point, I'd run about 13 marathons, and though I had about 30 minutes to cut from my time, I decided to make Boston a goal. In December of 2014, I finally qualified at Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville. I've since qualified at New Orleans, Andrew Jackson, Kentucky Derby, Panama City, and St Louis.

But this year, I'm just happy to make it to the start line. I've had an injury since early January so will be running the race with about 4 weeks of training and  2 weeks of taper. I’d be overjoyed to qualify again but that's probably not realistic. I'll just enjoy the crowd, have fun, and try not to think too much about pace.

The blue Fast Break Race Team singlet has been the shirt of choice for most of my races last year...and probably will be for this year too!

Dianna Leun, age 45

I started running after having 4 kids. I needed to get back into shape. The Boston Marathon is such a highly recognized race, so I wanted to give it a go. This year will be my second Boston Marathon.

The hardest part for me is not the qualifying part but getting to Boston. I don’t like to fly, so the first time, I had to overcome the fear of getting back on a plane. Thank goodness for friends!

The Chattanooga running community is a group of phenomenal individuals that share their support, encouragement, and wisdom. I have developed some amazing friendships while training with people that inspire me daily with their own personal journeys as well tolerate my quirky and colorful personality. Extremely thankful for everyone!

My goal for Boston 2017 is to finish strong.

David Kieu, age 41

I got into running in 2010 for the camaraderie, challenge, and competition. When you get into running, you generally pick up a Runner's World magazine and read it from beginning to end. There's always some article with the mention of Boston. So I was like, "I want to do it!" This year will be my third Boston. I've done it in 2012 and 2015.

I had some epic failures back in 2008. I winged it trying to qualify running the 2008 Battlefield Marathon. I took a sabbatical from running for the next two years. In September 2010, I started talking to Joey from Fast Break and he helped me develop some structure to training. The Georgia Publix Marathon in March 2011 is where I finally qualified with a 3:13. It was incredibly painful and amazing at the same time. Mantras really do work, I kept telling my self from mile 18 and on, "just hang on, you've come too far to quit!" I got through it, and it took two weeks for me to recover. Worth it! I continued to build off that race and others along the way. This is gonna sound odd but I like to have a hamburger, fries and a coke for dinner before a marathon. This is my third Boston marathon and I'm just looking to have fun and make some new friends! Running is truly great sport!

Good luck to everyone from Chattanooga who is running the Boston Marathon!

Happy National Walking Day!

Walking is a non-intimidating form of cardio exercise that everyone can do. You don’t have to be a coordinated athlete or a marathoner to get this dose of cardio. A daily 30 minute walk improves circulation and loosens stiff joints. When coupled with healthy eating and a healthy emotional lifestyle, walking can improve our overall mental and physical well-being.

As runners, we often think walking is boring, slow, or not a sufficient enough cardio workout. However, walking is one of them most underrated exercises. It’s cheap, it’s mind clearing, it gets us outside, and it improves cardiovascular health. It’s a great shake out for the legs on a rest day, and it’s something you can pull friends or family into.

Here’s 4 reasons why walking is a great workout and everyone should do it:

You can walk anywhere.

You can step outside your house and walk down the street, walk down the sidewalk, or walk to work. If the rough terrain of a single track trail is too much to handle on a run, walk the trail instead. Need more of a cardio challenge? Find a trail with a big hill and walk up and down it a few times. This can be a great chance to work on your power hiking for a long trail race. However, if fresh air is not your thing, you can walk on a treadmill and catch up on your favorite show.

Walking increases mental peace.

One of the worst things we can do to our body and minds is sit all day. Stepping outside of a florescent-lit office and walking 30 minutes during a lunch break allows your mind to clear itself and your eyes and brain to take a rest. Plus, the exercise releases endorphins and serotonin to give you a natural high, often helping solve complicated work problems or restoring a positive attitude.

Walking provides time to connect.

Catch up with a friend by inviting them on a short walk after work or before you pick up the kids from school. After dinner, connect with the family on a short walk to easy your bellies after a full meal. All of you will reap the health benefits of exercise without the boredom of suffering alone.

Are you an introvert? Download your favorite podcasts and listen while you walk. But always stay alert of your surroundings when walking (or running) with headphones.

Walking provides a cardiovascular workout.

Many runners scoff at walking, however walking can ramp up your heart rate just as much as a slower tempo run. Walk for 30 minutes to an hour on a trail and work on your pace and stride. Pick a hilly route to push your quads and glutes. Still too easy? Try mixing in strength training exercises. Walk near a local park and add in squats and lunges. Use a bench for tricep dips and pushups or a playground bar for pull-ups. Challenge yourself!

Of course, with all athletic activities, we recommend you wear the right shoes. Many people stop exercising because of foot pain. Get fitted at your local running store for shoes that support your arch and allow your toes to move and operate like they were made to! Remember to replace your shoes after 4-6 months, so that you can keep on walking.

Now go explore a new part of town on a walk!

Enjoy National WALKING Day!

The Best Shoe Fit for Jobs on Your Feet

There are many occupations that require being on your feet all of or most of the day. Nursing, retail, restaurant industry, hospitably, security, technicians… you know who you are. And you probably know the feelings of back pain, sore feet, and achy knees. When our feet suffer, our enjoyment of work suffers, which can lead to less productivity, unhappy bosses, and eventually job loss.

Ok ok, that may be extreme, but your feet are important! The proper shoe with the proper fit can make the world of a difference for your arches, back, and knees when you work long hours. Your work conditions may not be changeable, but what supports the foundation of you body definitely is!  

Running and walking shoes offer lots of cushion and support for long hours of standing. But there is not one, three, or five best shoes for long hours of standing. Every foot is different, and one shoe does not fit all people. It is best to be fitted in person so that you can try on several shoes to find the right fit.

Here are a few qualities to ask about and look for in shopping for the best shoe for retail, nursing, or any job type with lots of movement on your feet.


This one may seem obvious, but we see a lot of nurses and factory workers wearing little to no cushioning in their shoes. One reason is because they are old and need to be replaced. (Hop over to this blog post to see if your shoes need replacing.)

When buying a shoe for a standing job, look for a shoe with higher cushion to provide support and shock absorption for your joints. These shoes will have an obvious extra foam in the foot bed.

Just a warning, higher cushion usually means a higher price, but they will also last longer because of the extra foam. So the cost pays off.

Proper Length

It is already important to be fitted for the correct length with running and walking shoes, but it is even more so for someone who stands on their feet all day. Feet swell and if a shoe is too tight, then the toes will not have enough room to breathe and move correctly, causing more pain and fatigue in the arch and bottom of the foot.

To find the size of a running or walking shoe, we measure the length of the ball arch. The widest part of the forefoot should fit comfortably in the widest part of the shoe. If the fit is correct, you will have about a 3/4” (a thumbnail size) space between the end of the toe and the end of the shoe. The space prevents your toes from jabbing into the end of the shoe when your feet swell and you are walking around.

Proper Width

Along with the correct length of the shoe, you want to have the right width. This is a BIG deal! If the shoe is too narrow, when your feet swell from hours of walking around, your poor feet will be screaming for relief.

When we measure a foot, we look at the width of the widest part of the foot. There are several different widths in both men’s and women’s shoes. If your foot is hanging off the sides of the footbed, you need a larger width, not necessarily a size up in length. A running or walking shoe is supposed to fit more like a slipper and less like a soccer cleat.

Arch Support

(read this if you are required to wear a specific shoe)

If you cut off the fabric around the top of a shoe, you will find an almost flat surface. There is very little arch support in a walking or running shoe. But if you are standing all day, it is very important to support the arch from collapsing.

Our solution is the Powerstep insert that was designed by a podiatrist as an over-the-counter orthotic to support the foot and relieve pain. A flexible plastic cushioned with foam provides built-in arch support. In the heel, there is a cradle to cup the natural fat pad to provide more cushion. The good news is that the Powerstep can go into about any shoe (even high heels) and comes in several shapes, sizes, and thicknesses.

Compression Socks

We know we know, these are not shoes. But compression socks will help deoxygenated blood in the veins flow from your feet and calves back to your heart to be replenished with fresh blood and be sent back to your tired legs.

Think of how much shock you body takes as you walk across concrete floors for 8, 10, 12 hours. These vibrations eventually cause fatigue in the muscles. The tight compression around the foot and ankle and lighter compression going up the calves assist getting fresh blood to flow into your legs. Compression socks will help decrease fatigue as you work on your feet. In our store, we sell CEP socks and Tennessee made Sockwell socks. Stop by to have your calf and foot fitted for the right size.

Whether you are required to wear a specific work shoe or have the freedom to wear any shoe at work, there are several steps you can take to support your arches, increase blood flow, and relieve fatigue and pain. Stop by the store to talk to one of our fit experts about your job requirements and what shoe is best for your feet.

5 Tips for Post Race Recovery

Post-race recovery is one of the most important dynamics to master in running. Runners tend to ride the adrenaline wave for the week or two following the race and add in more miles or run faster paces than their bodies can handle. You felt awesome on Saturday’s half-marathon, so you must be stronger and can keep going, right?

Wrong. What x-ray vision would show you is that your muscles were broken down in the race, and now they need some TLC to repair. Your body is actually at a higher risk of injury during this time. You might not feel the fatigue, soreness, aches, or slowness immediately, but the side effects of a shortened recovery time can appear weeks or months later in your training schedule.

Unfortunately, there’s not a one-size-fits-all plan for recovery. The amount and time of rest you need depends on the race length, time, effort, terrain, training, and age. One person’s 5k race will differ from another’s; one marathon may leave a runner more ragged than another; and a 55 year old is going to recovery at a different rate than a 21 year old.

We talked to our staff and put together Fast Break’s tips for post-race recovery. Apply these to your body’s needs and your race’s distance to create a personal, beneficial, and healthy recovery time.

#1 Listen to your body

Yogi’s are great at this. They are tuned into how their muscles feel with each weight shift and movement that they can tell when their body doesn’t feel quite right. If you go on a short, easy run 3 days after a 10k race and are still feeling “heavy,” or “slow” then take another 2 days off. Rest up, do some yoga, listen to what your body is telling you.

#2 Respect the distance

The longer the race, the longer time you need to recover. The longer it takes you to run the race, the more time you need to rest. This applies to the winner of the marathon as well as to the last finisher in the 10k. So for example, a 5k racer may need 3-4 days off from running, while a half-marathoner may need 7-9 days and a 100 mile ultra trail runner probably needs 3-4 weeks (or more!).

#3 Active rest

Don’t stop moving as you rest. During your post race recovery, get an extra hour of sleep, take short walks, do some easy yoga. The goal is to get fresh blood moving through your body.

#4 Eat the right nutrients

Post race, you should immediately consume protein and carbs 15 to 30 minutes after the finish. In the days and weeks following, listen to your hunger cues and eat enough (until you feel full). Feed your muscles with nutrients, not just calories. Make sure you’re getting a balance of complex carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Listen to your cravings. If you’re craving meat, you probably need protein. If you are craving something salty, then you probably need the salt for hydration. And of course, drink up! Stay hydrated! Overall, eat what your body needs and what you enjoy because you deserve it after killing it in that race!

#5 Maintain motivation with cross-training

When you come off of the race-high and are forced to rest and recover, motivation can take a dip. To resist a psychological breakdown, add in cross training exercises that are not as hard on your body but are fun. We suggest elliptical training while watching a movie, bike riding with friends, hiking a easy trail,  stand up paddle boarding with an easy swim, or yoga with your local Fast Breakers (on Tuesdays at 6:15!). Use the recovery time to enjoy life, get some fresh air, and reset for the next round of training!

If you still have questions on recovery, drop by the store, comment below or hit us up on Facebook. We LOVE to talk about all things training and running (like we even needed to say that).

5 Simple and Effective Track Workouts

Hey everyone, let's run in circles! Says no one ever. Regardless of how dizzying (and often boring) the track can be, short and simple track workouts can be an incredibly valuable tool for building speed and endurance. Whether you’re running for better health or trying to snag that illusive Boston Qualifier, the track will help you reach your full potential. (If you don't have access to a track, map out a quarter mile course in your neighborhood or around your block!)

track workout

first, let's talk about optimizing a track workout:

1. use a stopwatch (not that big gps thang)

There are lines on the track for a reason. Simplify the run with a stopwatch and use 3rd grade math skills to determine your paces. Example: for a 8 minute per mile pace, every lap should be 2 minutes. (Simply divide the mile pace by 4.)

Dear Concerned Strava Junkie, enter the data in manually later, but if you can't resist, don’t look at the GPS functions during the workout. (We’re Strava nerds too. We get it!)

2. Always run counter-clock wise around the track

Unless you like head on collisions, avoid going the opposite direction.

3.  warm up and cool down before/after every workout

Pulled hamstrings are no fun. Avoid injury by lightly jogging for at least 10 minutes pre-workout. Here are some warm-up drills we suggest. Likewise, once you have crushed the track workout, lightly jog 10 minutes afterward in order to flush the lactic acid out of your muscles.

Ok, now you're ready!


1. Mile Repeats aka "The Classic"

The Workout: 3-6 x 1 mile (4 laps) with 2-3 minutes rest between.

Benefits: Mile repeats are great for dialing in your race pace and working on the upper-end aerobic system.

How: Perform anywhere from 3 to 8 mile repeats with 2-3 minutes rest between each mile. Pick your goal race pace and try to hold that pace throughout the workout. For example: if your half marathon goal pace is 7 minutes per mile, run each mile repetition in 7 minutes (each lap 1:45). Be conservative for the first few miles to remain strong through the entire workout.

2. Inverted Pyramid, aka "The Joey"

The Workout: Run 4 minutes hard then 1 minute easy, 3 min hard and 1 min easy, 2 min hard, 1 min easy, 1 min hard, 1 min easy. Then reverse it: 1 min hard, 1 min easy, 2 min hard, 1 min easy, 3 min hard, 1 min easy, 4 min hard, 1 min easy.

Benefits: This track workout is great for touching on different paces for different time periods, tapping into a few different nervous and muscular systems. 

How: Perform the workout while continuously running (on a track, road, or treadmill). After each hard interval, jog easily for 1 minute before continuing on to the next hard interval. Be sure to control your pace on the first 4 minute segment in order to hold strong through the second half of the workout.

3. 400/200, aka "The Floater"

The Workout: 10-16 x 400m with 200m float (easy jog)

The Benefits: You will work on faster-than-race-pace paces. The workout also teaches your body to buffer lactic acid more efficiently.

How: Run a 400m (1 lap) at roughly mile pace or slightly slower. Jog 200m (1/2 lap) then repeat 10-16 times. Try to keep the 400 paces consistently strong as well as holding an easy, relaxed pace for the 200m float.

4. Mile Break Down, aka "Mental Breakdowns!"

The Workout: 1 mile, 1200m, 800m, 600m, 400m with 1.5 - 2 min rest between.

Benefits: You will learn how to progress your speed through out a race.

How: Perform the workout progressively getting faster each rep. Start with  the mile at goal half marathon pace then work down so that the last 400m rep is done at roughly your 1 mile race pace. Don't start out too hard, but leave it all on the track on the last 400 meters rep.

5. Tempo Workout, aka “The Grinder”

The Workout: 20-40 minutes at tempo pace. Yes, continuous. No stops.

The Benefits: Find your sweet spot pace. This workout helps increase your aerobic capacity and delays the onset of the anaerobic system, i.e. allows you to run faster for longer. You will also learn how to keep a consistent pace.

How: Run at your tempo pace (see below) for 3-6 miles without stopping. Use your watch with lines and markers on the track to keep your pace consistent.

What is your tempo pace? Take your race pace and add 10-20 seconds. So a 7:00 minute 10k pace would be a 7:10-7:20 tempo pace.

Happy Training! 

Track workouts are always more fun with friends! Join us for our group track workouts every Monday night at 6:30. All levels and paces are welcome! We meet up at the shop, and jog over to GPS track. 


Top 10 Chattanooga Races You Must Do in 2017


Chattanooga is saturated with running races: 5ks, 10ks, charity races, trail runs, dress-up races, "no prize" races, let-your-dog-drag-you races! Some are well executed events, and some are well... not. Fast Break compiled a short list of our favorite Chattanooga races. If you're still figuring out what races to train for in 2017, look no further. These are all stamped with Fast Break's approval for efficient execution, local history, solid connections, fast competition, and, most importantly, a whole lot of fun! So grab a friend, call your sister, put a leash on your dog and sign up for one of them or or ALL of them! You won't be disappointed. 

(Races listed in order of date.)

1. Rock/Creek River Gorge Trail Race


This Rock/Creek's event has been a classic Chattanooga trail race since 2001. With Chattanooga's unreliable spring weather forecast, you never know what temperature of race this will be! The course is absolutely GORGeous, but extremely challenging with it's single track course through Mullens Cove loop at Prentice Cooper State Forest.

Click Here for more info or to register!

2. Chickamauga Chase


This year is the 49th running of the Chickamauga Chase, which is the 2nd longest-running road race in the Chattanooga Track Clubs repertoire. This race offers a variety of distances from a 5k to a 15K road race, plus an 8 mile trail race. For all the littles ones tagging along, there is also a Kiddie K! Experience Chattanooga's history on this course that offers historical scenic views through Civil War battlefields.

Click Here for more info or to register!

3. The Chattanooga Chase


The Chattanooga Chase is the oldest road race in Tennessee! This year will be the 50th running. The Chase features a rewarding course through the scenic hills of North Chattanooga. The fast 1 mile race is a great option to work on your mile time while the 8k is challenging and hilly! Top 50 finishers win a special edition Top 50 Finishers shirt! After the race, sponsors provide food and beverages to make for one fun Memorial Day bash. Bring your family, and even your dog!

 Click here for more info or to register!

4. Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race


This race is actually 3 races, on 3 days, on 3 mountains! Day one consists of 18 miles of Raccoon Mountain. Day two is 22 miles on Lookout Mountain. And the grande finale is 20 miles on Signal Mountain. Chattanooga Brewing Co sponsors the nightly celebrations which are a great time of camaraderie with other like-minded and crazy trail runners.

Click here for more info or to register!

5. Missionary Ridge Road Race


This road race is a classic, local 44 year old, heat-biting, humidity-drowning mental and physical battle. The course is an out-and-back of beautiful views and lots and lots of hills. Challenge yourself to conquer the ridge! 

Click here for more info or to register!

6. Cameron Bean Memorial 5k and Magnum Mile

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 11.24.46 AM.png

Date: August 26 | Type: Road Race | Distances: 5K and 1M

The Cam Run is very dear to our hearts. We renamed a race to honor and remember former Fast Break employee, Cameron Bean, who was tragically killed while running on Moccasin Bend Road which is the location of the race. The 5k in the morning is open to everyone! The top 25 male and female winners from the 5k will have the chance to compete in the 1 mile event that evening as a part of the River Gorge Omnium bike race.

Click here for more information or to register! 

7. Moccasin Bend Fall Classic


Come get your PR on one of Tennessee's flattest and fastest courses. This is a no-frills, low cost event. If you're looking for a course to get your 10K PR on, look no further. This out-and-back course is as flat as it gets in Chattanooga.

Click here for more info or to register!

8. Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon



Runners World voted this marathon as one of the most family friendly races! The rolling course is extremely beautiful and takes you on a tour of historical moments, memorials, and canons. Everyone can participate with distances from the full and half marathon to the Jr. Marathon. For the Jr. Marathon, kids log 25.2 miles throughout the year, and run their final momentous mile  on race day.

Click here for more info or to register!

9. Sportsbarn Turkey Trot

DATE: NOVEMBER  23rd | TYPE: ROAD RACE | DISTANCES: 8K, 3M walk, 1M Fun run, Kiddie K

There is no other Turkey Trot in Chattanooga like this one. For years this has been a classic Chattanooga Thanksgiving event for the whole family! Burn some calories before the big Turkey Day feast! Proceeds go to the Kidney Foundation of Chattanooga. 

Click Here for more info or to register!

10. Wauhatchie Trail Race

DATE: December 16th | TYPE: TRAIL RACE | DISTANCES: 6.7M

Experience a different type of race with an age graded start! Each age group has a different start time, based on age, that levels the playing field for a chance to win the golden antlers! The course is at  Reflection Riding Arboretum. Each participant is encouraged to bring a white elephant gift to trade. Fun for the whole family.

Click here for more info or to register!

Honorable Mentions:

There are SO MANY great races in Chattanooga. Make sure to check out the ones we didn't have room to describe! They are just as great. Click on each one for more info or to register.

Running Shoes: When to Replace and What to Buy

You’re getting into running and those three-year-old sneakers from Walmart aren’t doing the trick anymore. It’s time to find some actual running shoes. But where do you start? There are so many options, sizes, and types! And what about the color!?

Breathe. We’ve got you covered. We understand not everyone obsesses about running shoes as much as we do, so here’s our handy fact sheet on buying running shoes. These few tips will help get you to the point of trying on and deciding on a shoe. Your top criteria should be about fit and performance, not looks.

However, you cannot beat the help a local running store can offer you. The staff are trained in fitting feet of all shapes and sizes and know the details and specs of all the brands and models. Plus, you can try them on and take them for a spin!

When do I need to get new shoes?

There are a few ways to tell if it’s time for a shoe upgrade. First off, listen to your body. Are your legs aching after every run? Do your knees hurt? Are your arches sore? Do serious runners point and laugh at your feet? It’s time.

Another way to tell is by checking the midsole. Squeeze the midsole backwards. If it bends like a taco, the foam has broken down and you’re no longer getting all the support and cushion the shoe originally offered.

If you log your miles, you can tell when your shoes need replacing by tracking the numbers. A lightweight trainer will last for 250-350 miles. A shoe with more cushion to it will live for 400-600 miles.

Your weight, running form, and training all affect how long a shoe will last. A smaller person who runs with correct form and midfoot strikes (weight over the midfoot) is going to wear a shoe longer than a 6’4’’ runner in the same shoe who lands on their heel (heel strikes).

If you’re still not sure if it’s time to replace your loyal companions, go into your local running store and try on the same version of the shoe you’ve been running in. If the foam feels “dead” and the new shoes feel like a memory-foam mattress, then it’s time to get a new pair.

What types of shoes are there?

Lots! There are different shoes for different terrain, body weight, personal desires, and events. A road shoe is going to be smoother on the bottom. A trail shoe has more texture for gripping slippery rocks. There are high cushioned shoes and lightweight trainers with a snugger fit but shorter life span. A crossfit style shoe is going to be firmer and lower to the ground for lateral stability. Spikes are a minimalist style shoe with small spikes that screw into the forefoot to give the runner more traction while racing on a grass cross country course or a rubber track.

To make this a bit more complicated, there are two categories of shoes within all of the different styles. There are stability shoes and a neutral shoes. A stability shoe has a harder piece of foam on the inside of the shoe to support a foot that rolls inward, or pronates. A neutral shoe has the same foam throughout the foot bed. We highly recommend coming into Fast Break so that we can analyze your gait to fit you in the right shoe. There are multiple factors in determining if you need a neutral shoe or stability shoe. Don’t stress about this part, head to the experts for help!


While you are trying on shoes, you might hear your friendly shoe fit expert say, “This shoe has a 4mm drop” or “The offset is 8mm on this shoe.”

A heel-toe offset is the height difference between the level of your forefoot and the level of your heel. Until the past few years, most running shoes had a 12mm heel-toe offset (meaning the heel was 12mm higher in the footbed than the toes). More recently research has come out that a lower offset, or drop, aligns the runner to have better posture and form. A lower offset can help stretch and lengthen the achilles and fascia as well, which has been found to help some people with back, knee, and hip issues. Today, many shoe companies make shoes with a wide range of offsets from 0mm to 12mm

How does a running shoe fit?

There are many factors that go into finding a perfect fit. Here are two that we especially find important:

LENGTH: To fit for running shoes, we measure the length of the ball arch. The widest part of the foot (the forefoot, ball arch area) should be in the widest part of the shoe. If the fit is correct, you will have about a 3/4” (a thumbnail size) space between the end of the toe and the end of the shoe. The space prevents your toes from jabbing into the end of the shoe when you run. Goodbye black and blue toe nails!

WIDTH: We measure not just how long an arch is is but also how wide. There are several different widths in both men’s and women’s shoes. If your foot is pushing out the sides of the shoe or is hanging off the outsides of the footbed, YOU NEED A BIGGER SIZE! A shoe is supposed to fit more like a slipper and less like a rock climbing shoe.

How many shoes do I need?

All of them. So many shoes.

Ultimately, this depends on how much you are willing to invest in running gear and the volume of your training. The bottom line is that you put less wear on a pair of shoes if you can switch them out. There is an advantage, besides time and wear, in owning several pairs. A lightweight trainer allows you to run more efficiently (and faster) during your tempo runs or track workouts, while a more cushioned shoe will cushion the impact during long runs.

What are the rookie mistakes?

1. Don’t buy for the color. Buy for comfort! You won’t care what the shoe looks like when you feel like you’re floating on a cloud during your run.

2. Don’t be a stickler about the number. Shoes are cut differently. Some brands tend to be long and some short. Your local running store employees will know all of this.

3. Shop for running shoes at the end of the day when your feet are slightly swollen. Your feet swell just a little when you run, so find a good fit when your feet are already at their largest point so that your shoes aren’t tight by mile 5 in a run.

4. Wear your running shoes only for running. Don’t wear them to the mall, to work, or to the grocery store. Non-running activities will break the foam down and shorten the life of the shoe. If you need a comfortable shoe for work, keep one pair for work and one for running. Both will last longer this way.

Stop by Fast Break this week to be fitted by our experts. Try on the shoes and even take them for a spin. Find your perfect fit!