A play on the 150 minutes needed to achieve a Paceline streak, 15.0 Questions presents influencers, industry experts, and fellow Pacers with 15 rapid-fire questions. Next up, Lauren Reid and Kelly Collins, sisters, former D1 Runners, HIIT cardio specialists, and co-founders of SISSFiT on Instagram and the FASTER by SISSFiT app.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and concision.
- Can you tell us about yourselves in 150 words or less?
Lauren: I am a married mother of two toddlers, [ages] two and four. I was a competitive gymnast growing up until high school and then transitioned over to track and field and took that into college as a D1 track and field athlete. I competed in the heptathlon, which is a series of seven events. I qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the high jump, but unfortunately injured my foot shortly before. I fell into sports modeling, which was not the plan (I got my degree!), but it was an amazing journey that allowed me to travel all over the world and work with some of the top sports and fitness brands. It was during all of this travel and through my desire to stay healthy and fit on the road, that Kelly and I came up with the idea for SISSFiT.
Kelly: I’m the other half of SISSFiT. I was a soccer player and went on to run D1 track on the same team as Lauren. After graduation, I went into corporate sales. While traveling [for work], Lauren was modeling at the same time. Exchanging efficient HIIT cardio workouts back and forth is how we stayed fit on the road. That was the inspiration behind starting SISSFiT and sharing those workouts with other women and men, anyone who could use an efficient cardio workout.
- What do you find most rewarding about running?
Lauren: I find the overall feeling of strength, empowerment, being physically capable of pushing through hard workouts, and the endorphins, all very rewarding. The aesthetics, the muscle gain and feeling fit is wonderful, but what keeps me coming back is knowing that pushing through these workouts is going to make me stronger in every aspect of my life, especially now as a mom and a business owner. I feel that running gives me this edge even more than it did as a Division 1 athlete.
Kelly: The way running makes me feel, especially mentally, [is rewarding]. It just feels like such an accomplishment. I prefer interval training and sprinting more than distance running. So I don’t necessarily feel that runner’s high that people describe in distance running, but I feel that high of the accomplishment and just knowing that you can push yourself and see what your body’s made of, and then transfer that into other aspects of your life.
- Other than running, what are your favorite ways to move and be active?
Kelly: I love getting outside. I live near the beach, so I love going on beach walks and hiking, paddle boarding, yoga. I do a lot of Pilates as well. So pretty much anything active. Since running’s a little more high impact, I try to partner it with more low impact exercises on the side.
Lauren: I would say that’s the same for both of us. We grew up in an active family, so beach games, swimming, just anything fun and active, but I would definitely second everything Kel said.
4. Any advice for readers and runners who want to stay injury-free?
Lauren: For starters, it’s really easy, especially for runners, to get caught up in the mileage. How many miles are we running? What am I doing on Strava? What is everyone else doing? If you can stay away from that and just stay in your lane and listen to your body, you are probably sending yourself in the right direction. Then, pairing [running] with things like biking, elliptical, rowing, and swimming, just to even out that cardio. Strength training is absolutely key as well.
Kelly: I second everything that Lauren said, but I would add on the cross training front, you can even cross train within running. You can diversify the running that you’re doing, whether that be hills, or stairs, or a distance run, interval run, or treadmill run. Diversifying that running can help you to stay a lot healthier than if you’re doing the same impact running over and over again.
Also, make sure that you are in the proper footwear that’s fitted for you and your gait and your type of foot. And make sure that you’re switching out your footwear, I like to say every three to six months or every 300 to 500 miles. A lot of people get injured because they’re not in the proper footwear or they’re not replacing their footwear frequently enough.
5. What advice do you have for runners who want to get faster or run longer?
Lauren: It’s so easy to get caught up in just going longer and adding mileage, but in order to get faster and stronger, and push into different mental zones, it’s super impactful to work in interval training and speed training, whether that’s hills, a fartlek run, tempo runs, getting on the track, or even on a treadmill to work in some HIIT intervals. And then for distance, yes, you want to go on a steady state run here and there to get that time on your feet.
Kelly: The only thing I would add on the interval training front is to work in inclines for getting stronger. Utilize inclines just as much as speed, and speed combined with inclines, so that you’re constantly putting your body under different stressors that you’re not used to.
6. Can you tell us a little about the Ragnar Race you’re both training for?
Lauren: We are doing the trail Ragnar [in Bend, Oregon] and I’ve never done a Ragnar at all. Kelly’s done a road one. It’s different [from a road Ragnar] in that we all run the same three legs: One is 3.1 miles, one is 4.4 miles, and one is 7.9 miles. Oh, and we’ll be camping!
Kelly: It ends up being just over 15 and a half miles.
7. How challenging do you anticipate it will be?
Lauren: I think the kicker here for us is going to be the elevation gain. It looks like it’s going to be really intense. I think for just the 3.1-miler it climbs almost a thousand feet. Then for the 7.9-mile one, it looks like it’s uphill for four miles, downhill for four miles, and you climb 2200 feet, and we’re already at altitude. We’re going to be climbing Mount Bachelor in Bend, Oregon. It should be beautiful, hopefully.
8. Are you following a specific training plan?
Kelly: Early on, I was alternating a steady-state run with one of our SISSFiT outdoor interval training runs. Most recently, just for ease of business travel and what not, I’ve actually been just hopping on the tread, which I know sounds miserable. I’ll do our SiSSFiT interval runs and I’ll just go to a certain mileage, like I did five miles last week and I’ll be doing six this week and then seven and eight. Basically I’m playing as many of our 30-minute audio workouts as I can to get to that mileage. I prefer that to steady-state running.
Lauren: My training is similar. I cross train a lot on the elliptical and am trying to go a little bit longer on there so that I’m seeing that 40- to 60-minute range maybe once a week. Otherwise, I feel like I gain the most strength and power, mentally, from interval runs. So whether that’s intervals on the elliptical, an interval run on the treadmill, or getting outside, I definitely see one of those at least once a week, and then I mix in a little bit of strength training. We always throw in a little bit of track, or some hills or stair sprints in there, too.
9. What’s the best wellness-related advice that you’ve ever received?
Lauren: Take care of your body. You only have one.
Kelly: It’s diversifying what you do across the board, for longevity of health and overall happiness, and not getting too attached to one thing, but trying a lot of different things and finding what you enjoy.
10. Speaking of taking care of your body, how do you recover?
Lauren: We both definitely prioritize what we put in our bodies and how much sleep we’re getting. Neither of us would take a workout over sleep. Yes, we will get up early for a workout sometimes, but if we’re really exhausted and we have to choose sleep or a workout, we will always choose sleep.
11. What’s the best wellness-related investment that you’ve ever made?
Kelly: We both have pretty fancy treadmills, and that is nice for our workouts just because they keep our bodies so much healthier.
I also think proper running shoes and changing your running shoes regularly is important. It’s maybe 150 bucks, but that’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a lot of medical bills.
Also, I am a huge advocate of preventative physical therapy. We go for maintenance to keep our bodies healthy, and again, that’s a lot cheaper than having a surgery down the line if we can prevent it upfront.
Lauren: I would second all those. We definitely did invest in our treadmills, but that’s like a long term investment. We know that they’re built to last and we see ourselves using them for the rest of our lives, both for our work and physically, and being a mom working out from home all the time. In terms of the physical therapy Kelly mentioned, that’s more like hands-on work. It’s kind of like intense massage if you will. Kel has the Normatec boots and the Hypervolt. Those things are all great, but doing what you can at the base level, like investing in footwear and physical therapy, is super valuable and often underrated.
12. What’s the best personal finance decision that you’ve ever made?
Lauren: I bought my first house in 2012 when the market was down and it was really scary. I was single at the time and it was a big leap of faith, but it really set me up for the future. I look back now on the timing and what a blessing that was, and I’m so grateful for the advice that my parents and everyone around me gave me to take that leap.
Kelly: The easiest advice is just don’t spend money you don’t have. We’ve always taken that approach for SISSFiT personally, and this allowed us to self-invest into our company.
13. Are there certain things that you go more frugal on fitness-wise?
Kelly: Running sunglasses.
Lauren: Yeah, we’re all for [Goodrs].
14. What are your thoughts on Paceline’s mission?
Kelly: I just love that there’s incentive to be healthy because there’s so many things like, “give blood and get Krispy Kremes” to incentivize people in less healthy ways. Partnering with Paceline, that gives you financial incentives that you can actually see to move your body, to get your heart rate up, and then also exposes you to a lot of brands that are super wellness-oriented, I just think that’s something that everyone can benefit from.
Lauren: To add onto that, there are a lot of incentives to get 10,000 steps, and to move your body a certain amount, but to actually get your heart rate up is, I feel, like what makes activity so much healthier. I feel like Paceline’s done a really great job at highlighting that, and I also love that it’s preventative. There’s so many companies out there that want to treat things after the damage has been done and treat the problem, but if we can treat the cause, it’s such a powerful movement.
15. Anything else that you want the Paceline community to know about either of you or SISSFiT?
Lauren: We’re not crazy fitness people. We really just spend 30 minutes a day.
Kelly: We’re very under-trained for Ragnar.
Lauren: Yes, this is true. We’re going to have fun. We’re not competing too intensely.
Kelly: I may be power walking it, but I will get a lot of [elevated heart rate] minutes. I’ll tell you that much.
Lauren: I think it’s easy to think of trainers as spending hours in a gym, and eating perfectly clean all the time and that sort of thing. That’s not us. We want to get in and out, move on with our lives. We want to indulge in all the same things that anyone else does. We’re looking forward to Ragnar as a girls’ trip. It’s awesome to be active and competitive and get a little bit of adrenaline, but it’s less about the performance and more about the experience.
15.0 Questions: HIIT Cardio Specialists, SISSFiT is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.