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Friday, July 22, 2016

A better tempo

I mentioned last week that I have struggled with my tempo runs - basically with the part that makes them a tempo, NOT STOPPING!
The way my schedule is set up, I run track on Tuesday (8 to 10 miles), rest on Wednesday, then tempo on Thursday (up to 11 miles now and climbing). So far, Thursdays have been hard for me: I get up early to fit the miles in, so I'm tired, and I'm running in heavy early morning humidity. The no-stops-for-water part has been impossible. But this Thursday was a slight improvement: I think I'm headed in the right direction.

Thursday should have been awful: I had to get out of the house very early so I could be at work an hour early for some training, and a late coffee on Wednesday meant I was up all night and only got about three hours of sleep. But something else was different, and in a good way: I wasn't running on totally rested legs. I ran four miles the night before because of the Summer Series two mile race. And instead of making my legs heavy and tired, I was more ready to run. I have always known that I don't run well the day after a rest day: that's why I run even the day before a marathon. So perhaps I need to swap an easy day on my schedule with my Wednesday rest day.

Not that my tempo was perfect. I actually had two small stops - one right at the turnaround point in the 7-mile tempo, but that was just to very quickly tie my shoe, and I waited until the turnaround when I'd be slowing to make a tight U-turn on the levee anyway to minimize the benefit from rest; the other was just mentally giving up. I planned my tempo on the Fly (the park on the river) and the levee so it would be a straight out and back with no temptation to stop at a water fountain. However, I DID pass a fountain: right at the beginning and end of the tempo I passed the fountain on the Fly. At mile 6.15 I stopped for water! And that was just me being a wimp. Of course as soon as I stopped I was kicking myself when I saw how close I was to being entirely finished. I ended up with a 7:12 average, which is the low end of my goal. If I exclude the last mile (assuming I had a speed benefit from my water break) it was a 7:13 average.

Two take-aways from this Thursday's tempo:

  1. I run fast better if I don't take a rest day first
  2. I need to plan a route away from tempting fountains

Perhaps it's time to make some schedule and route changes!

5 comments:

  1. Man, those tempo runs. I'm not sure I've ever gotten through one without stopping for water. And I don't even have the humidity to contend with. Probably something I should also work on.

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  2. Our definitions of tempo are different, but it sounds like you're doing some solid, long T work!

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  3. Way to go on hitting the faster end of your pace goal. I definitely could not fun that far without stopping for water, but I'm the kind of runner that needs to drink every couple of miles, especially when it's so hot out!

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  4. I'm definitely a stop-and-drink runner! Even on easy runs, I tend to need water every 2-3 miles, and I usually end up stopping for it (rather than carrying a bottle).

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