Friday, April 21, 2006

Small Wonder I Can't Dance...

...'cause I have no tempo.

Wednesday: 5.3 miles, tempo run
Friday: 3 miles, nice pace

With the marathon behind me, I'm now tuning for half marathons on May 6 and June 3. Using Hal Higdon's program, as I have for some time, I find this thing called a "tempo run" on the docket every other Wednesday. But what is it??

Higdon calls the tempo run a "thinking man's run." Well, this man feels a bit dull of thought, because I have never really "got it." From other blogs, though, I took a guess. Which is to run each mile at a different pace, building to some level of push towards the end of the run.

So, Garmin strapped on, out I went on Wednesday (note: which also demanded I clear my marathon finishing time...a moment of sadness). I took the first mile easy, as the legs take a little longer to warm up right now. Time of 10:48.

I decided to try to do mile 2 at 9:00 per mile. Off I went and hit the mile 2 spot at 9:02. Good.

Now, to back off, I decided to have mile 3 at 9:30. Easier. Well, too easy, it turned out, as the actual was 9:42.

OK, so let's crank it to 8:45 for mile four. Pushed it more. Not enough. 8:54.

So, I'm heading home, still enjoying the run. Let's do it at 9:15. Nope. Mile 5 was at 8:54 as well.

The good news?? 10 days after a marathon I had a quality, hard run. That was cool.

Bad news?? Not much of a grasp of tempo.

I welcome any comments on what I might do to help this out. I kind of liked the varying of the pace...made for some mental stimulation. But I didn't feel I got all I could have out of it.



jeanne said...

nice running joe!! here's a definition of tempo run from coolrunning:

and in case the link gets messed up:
"This is hands-down the least complicated variety of speedwork. There are no distances to keep track of, no split times to remember, no hassles. All you have to do is run faster than your usual training pace, somewhere right around your 10K race pace. Unlike most speedwork which consists of relatively short bursts of high effort, tempo runs call for a single sustained effort. The result is that your body learns race economy: running at a fast pace for relatively long periods of time. Tempo runs will give your top speed a boost, too. By running nearly at race pace, your body becomes accustomed to running close to its upper limit (though not exceeding it). In doing so, you actually increase that upper limit, and you become gradually faster."

(I don't really know what they are either!)

Darrell said...

Joe, the definition Jeanne shared is my understanding of a tempo run. It is a run at nearly 10K pace. Based on your 10K PR, I guess a tempo run for you is something not quite 8:45, sustained for the entire length of that particular day's run.(Disclaimer - I'm obviously no expert)