Friday, July 29, 2011

First Tempo Run

Thanks to Hal,  I am now running a tempo run every three weeks.  I tried it for the first time with my friend Jane this past Wednesday.  Beforehand, I sent my group an email saying:

I have a tempo run tomorrow--40 minutes. I would like to start with the group and go from there. Anyone want to join me?
It is 10-15 min warmup
gradually increase until you are running about a 7 min mile pace for 6 minutes
cool down for 10 min
total 40 minutes (I may do more)

If I didn't have a marathon to train for, I don't think I'd be up for this run like some of my friends have over the last few Wednesdays as they ran with me.  I've had lots of company on my track and hill workouts.  They are willing to try these things in order to push themselves and to see what they are made of, and not to meet an end goal as I am.  I am most impressed by a new friend in our group who ran with us for the first time during one of our track workouts and has been back for more speed and hill runs.  I admire her strength and the fact that she is not intimidated by new things (unlike me!).

But the pace for the tempo run made some of my group shy away.  I got answers such as:
  • "Sounds interesting."
  • "I will probably skip out on this one and go to the gym."
  • "Sounds like something…different…"
Then my good friend Jane said, "I may try that with you. I just need a speedier workout on Wednesdays."  It was music to my ears, as I just love company on my runs--and someone to talk and laugh with while we run!  She described our run so well here.  It ended up being somewhat of a confusing run, but I hope still a beneficial one.  Here is what Hal says about tempo runs (note the highlighted ambiguous "gradual!"):  

A tempo run is a continuous run with a buildup in the middle to near 10-K race pace. Notice I said "near" 10-K race pace. Coach Jack Daniels defines the peak pace for tempo runs at the pace you might run if racing flat-out for about an hour. That's fairly fast, particularly if the tempo run is 45 minutes long, but you're only going to be near peak pace for 3-6 minutes in the middle of the run. In the Advanced 1 programs, tempo runs also are scheduled for Thursdays. Here's how to do this workout. A tempo run of 30 to 40 minutes would begin with 10-15 minutes easy running, build to peak speed during the next 10-20 minutes, then finish with 5-10 minutes easy running. The pace buildup should be gradual, not sudden, with peak speed coming about two-thirds into the workout and only for those few minutes mentioned above. You can do tempo runs almost anywhere: on the road, on trails or even on a track. Tempo runs should not be punishing. You should finish refreshed, which will happen if you don't push the pace too hard or too long. It helps also to pick a scenic course for your tempo runs. You can do your tempo run with another runner, but usually it works better to run solo. There's less danger of going too slow or (more the problem) too fast if you choose his pace, not yours.

My splits were 10:21, 8:58, 7:46, 8:11, 10:04, 10:49, 9:16.  You can see there was a definite peak that I think Hal was going for with his whole "buildup to near a 10K pace" thing.  And I was near a 7:00 minute mile for the required 6 minutes. 

But, boy, was that tough!  And there was a point where I just shouted out, "What's the point of this???"  We were so unsure of how fast to be going, and I was just questioning why we need tempo runs at all (I mean, I've never done them before!). 

I think I answered my own question that day.  I said, "I know I didn't have it here (pointing to my body) during my marathon PR (I'd say collapsing at the finish qualifies me to say I wasn't all there physically.).  But I was there here (pointing to my head).  I am working to get my body to where my head was that day.  If it means I still get a 3:18 (or slower), I will be fine.  As long as it's my that body carries me." 

Here's hoping that more tempo runs like this will help me towards that goal.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! It made me grin. I still think the term "gradual" is ambiguous BUT I may have a better idea of what he least for next time. :)