Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Trying out the this tempo run thing

Considering the length of time I've been running, I can't believe I'm about to say this.

I don't think I've ever done a tempo run.

See I usually just run to get the miles in. I've never been too concerned about keeping a specific pace during my runs. I usually just go with what feels good. If it starts to get hard I back off.

That changed last night.

I had been battling a headache for a few days and I ended up being at work late, so instead of going to my weekly group run, I headed over to the YMCA and snagged a treadmill. Side note: Still a huge crowd that are keeping their resolutions. I barely got a treadmill. I'm glad people are making changes in their lives, but I want the gym crowd to thin out a little more around 5:30ish.

So I got on the treadmill and started to run. I wasn't feeling the best and the legs were a bit heavy, so honestly I wasn't sure what I was going to be able to do. Heck, I didn't even know how far I'd go. But a half mile in the legs started to feel good. And I told myself I was going to push it for the next two miles, try to hold a constant pace and not stop.

I upped the treadmill speed to a 10 min/mile and I was off. The first mile felt fine. The second mile felt good, although I could tell the legs were starting to feel it a bit. But I decided to keep going. So I started playing games with myself. Just go another half mile and you can slow down. 2.5 miles at the 10 min/mile pace. Go another half mile. 3 miles. Well, at this point I've got a half mile left in my run. So I up the speed to a 9:50 min/mile and tell myself, you can do it. Then you really can have a cool down. So I ran.

Four miles at 40:11. That includes the warm up half mile (which took 5:15)  and 3.5 tempo miles in 34:56. And you know what? It felt good. Hard, especially that last half mile, but good. I finished it off with an untimed cool down of 0.7 miles.

I could definitely feel it in my legs today, which is why I just did a very easy 3 miles tonight. But I'm seriously going to start adding these tempo miles in. And of course I'm starting to wonder, why have I never done them before?

1 comment:

Carolina John said...

Tempo runs are my favorite. Especially on the treadmill where you can control the speed. I always start with a half mile warm up then get to tempo and hold it for the duration.

Even stronger is the ladder tempo run, where you increase the speed every x distance. Half mile warm up, then take it to a 8.0 until it hits 2 miles. Then 8.5 speed for miles 2 - 4, then 8.8 from miles 4 - 6. then a cool down. So the speed increases as the miles roll in. That ladder tempo run is how I'm going to break 40 minutes in a 10k this spring.