Friday, May 24, 2013

Up to Tempo?

I have mentioned that I am on this new marathon training program.  In the past I have only put in miles, and not done any speed work.  I have heard of different methods of doing speed work, but alas, have never done them.

Last night's run called for a 6 mile tempo run.  This was to include 1 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down, and then 4 miles at a pace of 9:50 m/m.  This should be fine, however, I had ridden 50 miles of climbing and tough headwinds the day before and it was also at the end of the day, so I was tired.  I set out to do my best for this run, whether I nailed the pace or not.

The warm up and cool down I didn't care what my pace would be, just took them easy.  I ignored the beeping on my watch and when it said 1 mile, I set it to the pace margin I wanted then took off.  Of course, as is always the case, the wind was really going hard, and I found that it was hard to maintain the pace at first.  I got side cramps, and I felt that I was going much faster than I was actually going.  It was frustrating to me in many ways because not too long ago, I was averaging 9:10-9:30 on my shorter runs, so 9:44 shouldn't be too hard, right?  I was glad that I actually had my music with me, or the constant beeping on my watch would have driven me crazy.  I made a point not to look at it to see if it was saying too fast or too slow, or if I hit a new mile or what.  I just let the beeping remind me to keep a good pace and not to obsess over it.  I knew about where in my neighborhood it would hit that magical Mile 5 marker when I could start my cool down, so I made a point to look at it there and was grateful for a chance to slow down!

I got home and was glad to have this run done, but also glad to see the stats on my watch that I had nailed it!  I did some more researching on tempo runs today and found that they should be done at a rate that is comfortably hard, but not a suicide pace either.  It should be a pace that is too hard to carry on a conversation, but one that you can sustain for gradually longer periods of time.  But also at the same time, you are happy to slow down or be done.  Yep, that was EXACTLY what this work out felt like.  I did my best, but a mile or so into the tempo part of the run, I found that though it was difficult, I could sustain it.  But I was also happy for the chance to stop!  I kept telling myself that if I was comfortable, I was doing it wrong :P

Thus, that is going to be the theme of this training plan.  Everything about it pushes me out of my comfort zone.  The sheer mileage, the super long LONG runs, and the speed work.  None of this is what I have done in the past, at least not to this volume.  I am just taking it one work out and one week at a time as to not get overwhelmed or discouraged.  When it gets tough though I keep my eye on the prize, which is hopefully a great race in St. George :)

So, until next time -

Happy Training/Racing all!

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