Posts Tagged ‘tempo run’

Workout: Warm [2.5 mi.], 3 miles @ 6:17 pace, Cool [2.5 mi.], Drills Weather: 72 degrees, cloudy.

Recap: Painful.

For whatever reason today’s workout was hard. Maybe it’s because tempo running is supposed to be hard. After about a mile, the  workout felt like an all-out race. There were times when I was able to stride out and convince myself that maybe this pace was something I could hold for a long time. After all, there are marathoners moving at my tempo speed. In the end, there was no relaxing. Just all out effort. I finished at a 6:13 pace for the tempo portion – mainly because I was trying to get this workout over with. The best tempo run of the season, but not necessarily confidence inspiring when I’m planning to run a race 40 seconds faster per mile.

My goal is to rely a little more on training and adaptation and less on character and toughness. When similar workouts feel easier from week to week, I take that as a sign of improvement. With that said, I’m happy to have finished the run today because it’s definitely one I could have seen myself quitting. Having a blog was useful as well because I wasn’t prepared to tell a losing story today.

Oddly enough over the course of this training plan, it’s the long runs that have been my better runs and not the shorter tempo and speedwork sessions. At least lately. I can be confident that with adequate carbohydrate intake that I will complete any long run that I have planned. But the tempo runs and the speedwork are a bit of a turkey shoot. I just go outside and give it my best. Whatever happens…happens.

On a positive note, I have to remember that my weekly mileage is more twice what it was when I started this plan. Of course speed is going to suffer. Just have to hammer through these workouts and hope that the taper week will save me.


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Workout: Warm [2.5 mi.], 3 miles @ 6:20 pace, Cool [2.5 mi.], Drills Weather: 64 degrees, cloudy.

Recap: Not much trouble out there today.

Perfect weather in the 60s. Heart rate monitor is still giving me some issues – displaying big 200+ bpm at times. Otherwise, not a difficult go out there at all. Pleased to be able to do these tempo runs in regular trainers. This will give me confidence when it’s time to throw of the trainers and race in something lighter. Pretty much stayed on pace during the 3-mile tempo portion of today’s run. Sped up slightly at the end for a 6:16 pace overall. Good pace. I never want to go slower than I ran last week if I can help it.

Still Messing with Form

During yesterday’s easy run, I practiced dropping my arms in addition to running tall. By dropping my arms, I mean not holding them up near my chest like a ostrich. Dropping them low…relaxing the shoulders, keeping the arms at a right angle (I’ll admit…I’m probably more at 105-degrees) and swinging gently. It makes the run a lot nicer for me. Like a glorified stroll. Eventually, I focused less on running tall and more on the relaxed arm motion and relaxed breathing as well.

Hills…Little Ones

After the cooldown, I found a small hill on the edge of the park to mess around with. I haven’t done any hill work in years, but following another blogger’s suggestion in the comments, I decided to give it a try. Honestly, it was a lot of fun. Kind of like being a kid. Of course, my hill was small enough to be made into fun. Like the way the hills engage the hips and butt. 10 reps on the hill today after the regular form drills. Looking forward to more of this after the speedwork and long run this week.

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Workout: Warm [2 mi.], 3 miles @ 6:23 pace, Cool [2 mi.], Drills Weather: 73 degrees, cloudy.

Recap: Excellent.

Had some fear going in. Last week’s lesson was not to wear racing flats for training runs anymore. The shoes are too tight and the right foot starts acting up. So today would be the first tempo run of the season in the heavier regular training shoes. Also, last week didn’t go great. Took two days off, didn’t have a good tempo run and struggled to finish the shortened “long” run of 7 miles. The heat hasn’t left yet, and it’s been raining. 73 degrees and 89% humidity. I ate cookies, onion rings and baked chicken last night. Carb intake has not be on-point. How in the world was this going to be a good tempo run?

The other lesson from last week was not to try to quiet these negative voices. I’m the ball player in the opposing ball park. The fans are booing, and no one likes me. But I’ve got to try to execute. And that’s what happened. Two things did go right for me, despite all the negativity going into the run. (1) During yesterday’s easy run, I practiced running tall. Easy days are heart rate based, so I’m always trying some new form or mechanic that will be more efficient – something that will lower my heart rate and let me run faster. Near the end of yesterday’s run I practiced running a little more upright – keeping the weight off of my legs. Not a bad feeling. Run tall. (2) Water. Got to reading a bunch of articles last night about water, and so I tried it this morning. 16 oz. upon waking and 16 oz. before heading out the door. Run tall. Check. Drink water. Check.

And that was all I needed. Smooth warmup of 2 miles and then the 3-mile tempo portion. I thought that even though running tall was difficult at first, it would preserve my legs for later in the run. Mentally, I also broke the tempo portion into 5x1000m – about the length of the park loop I kept circling. None of the problems that I anticipated came to light. Shoes never felt too heavy. Humidity wasn’t that big an issue – though my HR was up slightly. Didn’t need the sugar carbs to get through this. Settled in at 6:17 pace for the tempo portion. No problem with the cool down either.

Big week. Looking for 54 miles – a personal best. Might have to work through some rain to get there.

16 down. 38 to go.

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Workout: Warm [2.5 mi.], 0.25 miles @ 6:26 pace Weather: 66 degrees, sunny.

Recap: Ouch. But I ain’t mad…

Long story short…great warmup. Right foot pain. And done. Didn’t get through the workout. But it was a GREAT day…honest.

So…I’m up watching Monday Night Football with Mom last night, and we saw a College Game Day commercial. The music in the background reminded me of being a kid. And there it was…one of those “what-is-that-song” moments. Fortunately, Mom does remember the music that was popular when I was a kid. Thank goodness. Saved me about 5 minutes of a desperate search on Google for the name of the tune:

This…This…This. The theme from the Greatest American Hero. Immediately went to ITunes and put it on the playlist for the run today.

Drove to the park in perfect weather. Sun. Spring Colors. 65 degrees. Plugged the earphones in. Put the theme song on repeat. Waiting for me in the parking was a fellow Texas Longhorns fan who wanted to tag along for a mile or so. And so began the Greatest American workout of all time. Has this ever happened? No. Was this planned? No. It was the music.

ITunes shows that I played the song to its conclusion 5 times, but what play count did not measure was the number of times I replayed the song from the beginning without letting it finish. Totally in the zone for the 2.5-mile warmup. Striding. Smiling. Shirt moving with the breeze. It’s a down week, so I shortened the tempo portion of the run from 3 to 2 miles. Just taking it easy out there. I had this. Routine work…

My right foot hurt about 10 steps into the tempo portion. I mean, I must have accelerated for about 15 seconds before the Greatest American workout became just the Greatest American warmup. I’ve felt this pain before in the right foot. It comes from wearing shoes too tight. The foot can’t flex (toes pointed upward), and one of the outside ligaments feels like hell. I’ve been cheating. Wearing road racers for tempo runs, and it finally caught up with me. Shouldn’t be too bad though. I stopped before it really felt bad. And tomorrow’s an easy day.

There’s an offensive and a defensive component to this workout deal. I started this plan with the intention of getting better. Improving my current physical fitness level. And I think that’s happening (more on this in a second). But I also want to stay safe. As important as pushing my limits on good days, is making sure that I try and limit the damage on days where physically and/or mentally I’m just not there. Today was a physical thing. The foot will probably heal. I’ll take better precautions and roll on. There’s a lot of repetition (doing the same workouts again) built into my plan, so missing a workout doesn’t throw everything off as it would in a more linear plan. It’s all good.

As for the fitness level improving, my morning heart rate moved down to 41 bpm! That’s all-time best for me. I want to credit doing the longer runs during the week to balance out the fast stuff. Been reading on some of the blogs about the benefits of slower running, and so far it hasn’t disappointed. I appreciate the knowledge. On to tomorrow!

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Workout: Warm [2 mi.], 3 miles @ 6:26 pace, Cool [2 mi.]  Weather: 66 degrees, cloudy.

Recap: Moving along…

Same distance workout as last week. Only moved the goal pace from 6:29 to 6:26. Didn’t really want to do anything special outside today. Just wanted to get this one done and put another run in the log. I was a little concerned because yesterday’s (Monday), 9-mile easy run was a little tougher than I thought it should have been. The runs for the past three weeks or so have been great, but I’m wondering how long could it last. When’s the plateau going to begin?

Not today.

The warm up was easy (didn’t take much out of me), so I figured I was good to go from the start. Yes, finally, a tough run that I knew I could complete before the hard stuff began. The chief battle with today’s run was impatience. I just wanted the dang thing to end. One thing I’ve found lately, that’s useful to distract myself from running. I do math in my head, for instance. Today, played a game where calculated how much time I had left every 30 seconds. So, for 30 seconds, I wouldn’t look at my watch and then I’d try to figure everything out. Not the most sophisticated stuff but a nice challenge while running. Really didn’t have a problem finishing today at 6:21 pace.

Motivation. I had a thought last night as to why I continue to do this. I think part of it is just a little experiment. If I do this and this and this, what will happen tomorrow? I don’t think it’s the goal that motivates me, even though a 5K personal record in December would be nice. It’s the day-to-day that’s fascinating. Completing a workout I didn’t think I could do. Making an old workout easier. Seeing improvement and knowing that I had some conscious input in that improvement. Reminds me of planting flowers in a cup in kindergarten class. It’s fun to see things grow.

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Workout: Warm [2 mi.], 3 miles @ 6:29 pace, Cool [2 mi.]  Weather: 70 degrees, sunny.

Recap: Money.

Easy work out there today. Wore the regular road racers at the park again. Upped the warmup from 1.5 to 2 miles today. And increased the goal pace from 6:33 to 6:29 over three miles as well. Since I completed the run at 6:24 pace last Tuesday, the only question for me was would the added mile of warmup and cooldown be a factor.

It wasn’t.

Everything was smooth out there. Wanted to focus on breaking the 3-mile tempo portion into 6 x 0.5-mile portions mentally…like my speedwork. For the first 0.5 mile, just think about that 0.5 mile and then move on. It also helped a lot that I’d done the speedwork last week in the same park location. Didn’t take long to realize that I didn’t need to move at speedwork pace. After 1 mile, it was clear that this workout wasn’t going to be a problem at all. No extra straining or tension in my upper body. Legs were moving backwards pretty evenly. After 2 miles, I wondered how long I could carry on at this pace…6, 7, 8 miles? No telling. But today wasn’t the day to find out. A key part of training is control. Sticking to the plan even if you think you can do better. Not giving up easily when you think you can’t. Today I settled down at 6:22 pace for the tempo portion of the run.

The end game for these tempo runs is 3 miles @ 6:08 pace in December with a 3-mile warmup and cooldown. It’s quite possible that I can complete this workout already. So the goal has to be a little different than completion in order for me to stay motivated. I won’t be able to set a personal best for a tempo run session because of the hard running that I did early in the summer. At some time in June, I was able to complete a 3 mile run faster than anything I have planned this year. I won’t get a chance to exceed this pace until January at the earliest. So the goal will have to be comfort.  These tempo runs are supposed to be my 10K pace done at the 5K distance. In order words, if my predicted 10K were 40:00, I need to do this tempo runs in roughly 20:00. Accordingly, I’d like to able to complete all these tempo runs at a pace comfortable enough to carry for 6 miles.

Genuinely surprised at how much better the runs have been lately. Unfortunately, I’ve changed too much lately to identify what’s going on. Could be:

*Cooler weather.

*Longer slower runs on “off days”.

*Iron tablets.

*Form drills after hard workouts.

*Stretching after easy runs.

Regardless, it’s great to have optimism and be looking forward to the next run.

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Workout: Warm [1.5 mi.], 3 miles @ 6:33 pace, Cool [1.5 mi.]  Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy.

Recap: Nailed it.

Planned 3 miles of tempo at 6:33 pace. Finished 3 miles at 6:24 pace. In the future, I’ll probably want to ease up to just to stay on schedule. Great confidence builder out there today. I was worried during the warmups that it would be a little too much. Last week, it took a great effort to finish 2 miles @ 6:37 pace, and even then, I was too tired to do my cool down portion afterwards. Today, I knew would finish the workout at the end of the second mile. It didn’t feel so bad. The tough part was not being impatient and getting tense or holding my breath in any way as I pounded out the last mile. It can happen easily, as the body is screaming “Get this over with!”

Most important, today, it was the first time I finished the cool down and the drills portion of the workout on after a tempo run. This is important to me. Unlike the SmartCoach Runners World plan, my plan does not call for increasing tempo run length. Instead, I will gradually increase both the distance and the pace of warmup and cooldown portions of the workout to create added difficulty. And of course the tempo pace itself will increase as well. When I don’t finish, I feel like I’m not accomplishing the purpose of the plan.

Last, this wasn’t such a bad run… a faster pace was there for me if that were the plan. I am really starting to believe in those painfully slower runs I’m doing on the days where I don’t post. Yesterday, for instance, was 8 miles at about 12:30 pace. The slowness is in an effort to keep my HR at about 75% or 150 bpm. Often, this means I have to walk. That said, the runs are peaceful; I believe that I’m using fat for fuel at those paces; and I’ve had nothing but good speedier workouts since starting the slow stuff.

Tomorrow, 7 miles easy and then speedwork on Thursday.

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*P.S. My heart rate didn’t reach 221 (I don’t think). The Garmin graph had me finishing the tempo portion at about 192.