Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tweaking and Tempo Run

Bear with me while I tweak my blog based on my recent poll.

I'm trying out one sidebar with two columns. 11 voted for one side bar over 7 voting to leave it with two side bars.

About Me is now at the top of the side bar, with Blogs I Follow and the Archive right underneath.

More people said the font is easy to read (9) than not easy to read (4).
More people said ditch the dark brown w/light font (7) than keep it (5).
And people said leave it alone (7).

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Tonight I went to spinning.  It was another good class with the new guy instructor.  He may make us work harder than the Monday night instructor (according to my Heart Rate monitor).  Both instructors are good, just different!

Then after spinning I planned to get in my 35 minute tempo run.  And I did! But the gym is still crazy with all the undergrads back.

After spinning I stalked the treadmills for about 10 minutes while talking to a friend.  Even all the ellipticals were taken.  I gave up and got my stuff from my locker.  I figured I'd run outside under street lights (because of ice) even if it meant I'd have to loop around a short route to get the time in.  

Then!  On my way out of the locker room, a man stepped off his treadmill.  Yessssssss.
So I gave my tempo run a shot.

Here's what Hal Higdon says a tempo run should be: This is a continuous run with a buildup in the middle to near 10-K race pace.  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 a hard time thinking of my run in minutes instead of miles.  But I walked for a minute or two, then ran for another 10 minutes at 5.3 mph and a 1% incline.  

When I hit the 1-mile mark, I had been running easy for 12 minutes, and I switched to 6.0 mph (10:00 pace is in the middle of my 10k pace range of 9:49-10:07 and it was easy to remember).  I told myself I'd hold that pace for 15 minutes.  The first half crawled by while I watched some Real Housewives Reunion on closed captioning with Lady Gaga on my mp3 player, trying to distract myself as much as possible.  As I approached 15 minutes, I thought "I can do this another minute, no problem!" So I did it until 16 minutes.

Then I switched back down to 5.3 mph for the easy end of my run, for 5 minutes.  I slowed it to 5.1 for another 2 minutes, then I was done.  Yippee.  

Total of 3.24 miles in 35:01.  

Does anyone else do tempo runs?  How do you do them?
This is my first time doing them the Hal Higdon way, which I think is the real way.  I feel like Runner's World Smart Coach just gave me a pace to run for the entire tempo run.  Or maybe they didn't provide much direction.
Have any tips to provide?  

I think I like my hills and speed work runs better, because they require a little less thought!  The tempo run would have been a little harder for me to plan outside, (I plan in miles, not minutes) so I'm glad I did this one on the treadmill (glad + treadmill!? in the same sentence?  shocking, I know).

Sorry for the lack of pictures tonight, I'll try to find something fun to post a picture of tomorrow.


  1. I get serious anxiety about my tempo runs, I guess thinking I won't be able to hold the pace. They are much easier on a treadmill, since obviously that holds the pace for you, and you don't have any ice or wind resistance, or my worst enemy, hills (unless you want them). I have been most successful doing a mile warm up and cooldown, and then whatever is in between is what I do at tempo pace, which I find on McMillan. So, my 8 mile tempo run today will have six tempo miles. I find these runs the toughest part of training, mentally and physically, but I definitely think they played a huge part in me PRing in the half mary! Good job doing one after spin!

  2. Random q - do you run with your dog? How far does she like to go?

  3. Oh, wow thank you so much for explaining what a tempo run is! I've been running for years and I had no idea what people were talking about when they talked about tempo runs! I treadmill often, during the week, so I'm really excited to give this a try. It seems like I always try to end my runs strong/fast not easy towards the end. So, this may take some getting use to.

    I'd be interested to hear how more of your tempo runs go.


  4. I've wondered what a tempo run really is... now I know! Thanks for explaining it! I'm going to try one like you explained today, in fact!


  5. Alyssa- 6 miles of tempo pace!? That's gotta be tough. I have to remind myself the speed stuff will be worth it in the end if it means improving my time.

    Alison- I used to bring my dog along on runs when I first started running, probably not more than 1.5 miles though. She's good for hour long walks, but sprinting short distances is her forte :)

    Dom and Tracey- No problem! I'm just learning myself! I think it's good to end some runs fast too, that way you practice kicking it up a notch on tired legs.

    Sarah- Good luck!


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