Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tempo Trouble

I haven’t been too great at tempo runs as of late. (Or ever?) During Charlottesville training, my times for marathon pace runs, track workouts, and tune-up races all improved from past training cycles. But my tempo runs stayed squarely where they were last fall. I tried to be comforted that I was able to pace them more evenly; last fall I ran the first half faster and died in the end, this spring I was able to keep my pace consistent. But that was little comfort; I couldn't seem to string together something a little long and a little fast. In the lead up to the marathon I just tried to focus on everything that went well, and ignore those workouts that didn’t.

But no more ignoring. That race is over and it’s back to the reality of tempo runs. The idea is to run a few miles (I usually do 4-7) at a "comfortably hard" pace. It's supposed to be a little slower than 10k pace, closer to half marathon pace. You shouldn’t feel like you’re dying or even racing full out, but you should be eagerly looking forward to the end and slowing down again. I can't seem to master them. I always feel like I'm dying even though I'm not running all that fast.

Yesterday I tried a shorter tempo than usual, hoping that I would do well at the easier distance. I did 2x2 miles tempo (translation: warm-up, 2 miles fast, 1 mile jogging, 2 miles fast, cool down.) Another bomb. I ran it slower than my marathon pace from Boston a year ago. (I repeat: TWO miles at a time, slower than last year’s 26 mile pace.) Since it was shorter, I wanted to get close to 10k pace, but I ran even slower than my pace from my first ever 10k (two and a half years ago.)

It was humid, so I could blame that. (And I probably will complain about summer running in a post soon. Summer temps haven’t yet hit DC, but the humidity has.) But I can’t leave it at that. Clearly there’s a weakness here, which probably accounts for my lackluster 5k and 10k times. Thankfully, I do run much faster in races; sometimes surprisingly so considering some of these workouts. A few weeks ago, I wasn't able to run 2 miles at my projected 10 mile pace, but then did relatively fine in the race a few days later. Imagine what I could do if I could actually nail the workouts!

Dream big,

1 comment :

  1. I say people who succeed at tempo runs have a special microprocessor in their brain. The notion completely baffles the rest of us.