Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tempo Tuesday!

Speed work-out #1 of marathon training, DONE!

I had a 5-mile tempo at 6:45-6:50 pace on the schedule for today. I planned on going to the gym, planting myself on a treadmill, and setting the speed at 8.8mph to see how far I could go.

However, when I left school, it was beautiful out! The sun was shining, the temps were almost 50 degrees, so I knew I would run this tempo outside.

Yay sun!

[Side note: I sort of have a love-hate relationship with this winter so far. I love that I haven't frozen my tush off running outside, because the temps have been so mild. But the teacher in me is saying, "Where is the SNOW?!?" We've got five free snow days... and I definitely would like to use them. Nothing like getting paid to stay home in a cozy house during a blizzard.]

It was even nice enough out that I got to bust out a new pair of Nike tempos that I received for Christmas! Love the black with the pink & white polka dots.

Getting ready to tempo in my tempos, hehe...
So what's the point of a tempo run?

A tempo run's purpose is to raise your lactate threshold, the point at which your blood begins to accumulate lactic acid. (Basically where your legs start to feel like lead during a race.) If you can run steadily at your lactate threshold, it will raise your lactate threshold, and you increase your body's ability to run faster, longer.

The pace should feel "comfortably hard," or so my college coach always told us. (How could anything be comfortably hard? Isn't it just always hard?) You should be able to talk a few sentences, but you won't want to. 

The minimum length for a tempo should be at least 20 minutes, or else you're not going to get very much of a benefit. You can work up to 60 minutes, or so I've been told. Don't think I'll ever be running 60 minute tempo runs. That just sounds crazy.

I've been doing 3 & 4-mile tempos for the last month or two, so I knew I could kick it up to a 5-mile tempo this week. I will definitely get up to a 6-mile tempo in this training cycle, maybe even 7. (But that scares me.)

When I run speed work-outs outside, I have to be a little creative since I don't have a fancy schmancy watch, just my $7 Wally World watch. I have a 3-mile route that I pretty much know all the mile and half-mile marks. So for today's 5-mile tempo, I had to do the loop almost two complete times. You can see my beautiful visual description of my route below. 

I felt really great today... mile #1 & mile #4 were the hardest, as usual when I run this route. There's a slight incline for the entire stretch of those miles. And today, that happened to be the section where the wind was against me. 

It did help that right at the end of mile #4, I ran past one of my co-workers/friends walking her dog and a tried to gasp a "Hello!" It definitely gave me a little pep in my step... for some reason when you run past someone you know, it always makes you speed up a bit. And then I just had one mile to go, less than 7 minutes, and I can do anything for 7 minutes. 

I finished up the 5 miles in 33:32! 6:42 average. I was quite pleased. With a warm-up and cool-down, I got in 8 miles for the day. A great kick off to this training cycle!

Question: Do you tempo? What's your favorite speed workout?


Alissa said...

Fartleks! They will forever be my favorite. But I like tempo runs too. Yeah for marathon training! Feel free to send some of that 50 degree warmth our way!

Angie said...

Dang, that's a fast tempo! Great job! You're off to a great start!!

Ali Mc said...

I actually prefer doing "speed work" as in 5 X 800's or 10 X 400's rather than tempo's but I do them anyways ...I have however never done a yasso or whatever those are called!

I LOVE your new tempo shorts - so cute :)

Running Girl said...

You are fast, girl! I'm super slow, so I don't think any of my workouts qualify as "speed". ;-) Cute shorts!

Sara said...

@Alissa - yay for fartleks! They are always fun. Sending the warm weather across the ocean... not sure how that would work. :)

@Angie & Running Girl - Thanks! :)

@Ali Mc - I LOVE 400 workouts... they are my absolute favorite. I have done Yasso's once, they were pretty fun too.

Jess said...

Great tempo run!!! And speedy time! Dang, girl!!

I really like tempo runs. I haven't done one, well not on purpose, in a while... I've done some races lately that were more like tempo runs, so I guess that counts...

I think they are an essential weekly workout if you're preparing to for a longer race, such as the marathon! When is yours? Based on this workout, it sounds like you're off to a great start!

Ps those shorts are hot! I need me a pair! :)

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