This morning I attempted my very first “tempo” run. A tempo run is: A Tempo Run of 30 to 45 minutes would begin with 10-15 minutes easy running, build to 15-20 minutes near the middle, then 5-10 minutes easy toward the end.
I have been intimidated by these training runs thus far and have avoided them. So, I decided it’s time to buck up and take on the challenge without intimidation! My goal pace for a tempo run is 7:13 min/mile. Which I have NEVER done and is why I have avoided these so far. I thought a tempo run was holding the 7:13 pace for the entire 15-20 minutes in the middle. I should have done a better job of researching last night- here’s what I found out it really is: The pace buildup should be gradual, not sudden, with peak speed coming about two-thirds into the workout. Hold that peak only for a minute or two. I consider Tempo Runs to be the “Thinking Runner’s Workout.” A Tempo Run can be as hard or easy as you want to make it, and it has nothing to do with how long (in time) you run or how far. In fact, the times prescribed for Tempo Runs serve mainly as rough guidelines.
Huh. Yeah, I should have read that more carefully… so, this morning I set out and did 15 minutes easy- about an 8:50 pace. I did have to stop at Kum and Go at 15 minutes. I splurged at happy hour last night and had 2 glasses of red wine and gluten free fried rice at PF Changs with my girlfriend, Masha. OOPS! There I go again, derailing on my diet! AND I definitely paid for it this morning with my tummy troubles… so, that’s it! NO more straying off the training diet. Yikes!
Ok, back to the run. I started sprinting as I left the Kum and Go parking lot with a goal to hold a 7:13 pace for 15 minutes. Which, I guessed would be 2 miles. So I decided not to look at my watch and to go by how I was feeling. I felt like I was running- fast! I kept thinking to myself “run like someone is chasing you!” I have to be honest… if someone was chasing me, they would have caught me at about a mile and a half through this workout. Now, reading more about tempo runs, I should have slowly built up my speed and tried to hold 7:13 for just a minute or two at the peak of the 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes or two miles, I looked at my watch. My average pace for that time was 7:51. I had basically done a pace run instead of a tempo run. In hindsight, I should have looked at my watch periodically throughout the speed workout so that I would have known to pick it up. So, I can’t say I’m terribly disappointed in myself- I have a ways to go and I’m learning along the way! I am excited now to try this again and I don’t think it’s near as intimidating as I psyched myself out for it.
The 10 minute slow run back home was TOUGH! I felt like my legs were thigh high in mud- needless to say, I tredged home (what felt like anyways!) fairly slowly. And now, my glutes are SCREAMING! I have to admit, the past two days sitting at my desk has been PAINFUL!!! But, I like it. 🙂