Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ode To The Tempo

Today's run was a tempo run - 6 miles with 3 at tempo pace. It went pretty well. My times were slightly off than what I'd hoped for but I think that's partly due to the wind this morning and being a little tired from last night's ride home in the wind. And restless sleep the past few nights. I kept waking up with the wind on Tuesday night and then last night I had to get up to pee 4 times! Um, I think I drank plenty of water yesterday. And sorry any guys who may read this, but I also finished up my period so all the water I was retaining made it's way out too.

Anywho...back to the run...the time was 56:15 for 6.15 miles and an average pace of 9:09 per mile. The tempo miles were 8:53, 8:56. and 8:56. I wore my garmin but I don't use it to determine my pace, just to see what it was after. The running geek in me has to know! The weather was cool (around 40F and I wore my Brooks jacket but took it off before the tempo miles) and the stars were out in full force. I love running before dawn for just that reason. And the quiet. There were only a couple of people (the usual suspects) out on the trail so I had it mostly to myself. I finished strong and feeling like I could do more which is always a great feeling. Makes me feel a bit like Wonder Woman. I had done a standard warm up routine before and I did the ITB rehab routine after. Ate, packed my bike bags, showered, and rode to work. A great full morning for a Thursday.

Of all the runs that I do, my two favorite types of runs are tempo runs and long runs. And I think tempo runs slightly edge out long runs in the fun department. I mentioned above that I felt like Wonder Woman and I think that's why I like tempos so much. I use them as a gauge to see how I'm progressing in my training and it's always a blast to see improvements.

The other thing I like about them is that they are good, hard workouts but they don't leave me feeling drained like intervals. And they are fun. Where intervals make me feel like a hamster running in circles under pressure (I have to hit what times for the 400s?), tempos are more relaxed. I'm going places and moving fluidly thru space, none of that run fast and jog thing going on. When I'm done, I feel like I put in a great effort but there's still a little bounce in my step. I've been known to dance a jig after an especially good tempo!

I also like them because they make me focus on what I'm doing. I can clear my mind while I'm doing a tempo and just focus on my breathing and the sound of my feet. They are what I use to determine how hard I'm going. I find that if I lose focus and start to day dream, I start to slow so they teach me discipline and focus which comes in handy during racing. And if I've nailed a tempo before a race, it gives me great confidence going into it. It's hard to beat a confidence building run.

But I know I can't do them everyday so I just look forward to them in my weekly schedule. Besides, I enjoy the other runs I'm doing - long runs, hill sprints, trail running, easy runs. I'm just crossing my fingers that my coach, Jason, won't give me 12x400s anytime soon. ;)

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