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June 1, 2012 / fionarwbl

A Not So Terrible Tempo Run

I set myself a target for Wednesday’s tempo run: run consistently. Instead of hitting an average time of 8:10 over 4 miles, with times ranging from 7:20 to 8:50, which is the sort of running that I excel at, I wanted to hit 8:10 as close as possible for each of the 4 tempo miles. As you may be away running consistently is not my forte; my splits frequently range over 30 seconds during a run. I’m sure that this is incredibly inefficient, and it appears that I have no idea what pace I’m actually running, which is why I have so much variance.

Wednesday evening was warm, although not as humid as it’s been recently. In order to set myself up for success, I headed to the uber-flat West Side Highway to run. No sneaky hills to trip up my pacing. I decided to wear my brand new Pro Compression socks, so was a vision in blue. I love wearing compression socks after a run, but I’m not convinced during run, because they feel hot. Maybe sleeves are the answer? (Cue some frantic sleeve googling. Zensah have very cute colors …)

A blue, blue world

I headed out to the West Side Highway and had a stiff, heavy legged warm up mile. You know those ones where you haven’t run for a few days, and instead of feeling light and strong, you feel stiff and sore? That was me. Anyway, when the lady on the phone said “Go!” I put all thoughts of stiff legs out of my head and went!

Like I mentioned before, I was very focused on running a sold 8:10, rather than running faster and inconsistently. Look at me maturing as a runner! The first tempo mile felt tough but comfortable. The second mile felt like it was going to go forever. I think if I rank which miles in tempo runs I hate most, it would go Mile 3, Mile 2, Mile 1, Mile 4. Can you sense how much I dislike tempo running? Of all runs types, it is by far my least favorite. Is it really true that they are the most effective for making you stronger and faster? I believe it, not because I see the results, but because something that awful must be good for something.

I admit that I took a breathing break after the forever 2nd mile. I was looking for water, but couldn’t see any. The section of the WSH between 60th st and 23rd st is a bit of a wasteland and I don’t know if there actually was any, or I couldn’t find it. Either way, I took a minute to catch my breath before embarking on miles 3 and 4 of the tempo. I know that this is 100% cheating. But we’re not going to call it cheating. We’re going to call it heat acclimatization. In two weeks, I won’t have that excuse, and then we’ll call it cheating.

Cool down view. Although, I have to ask, why would anyone put their boat in the hudson? It’s just not where I think of when I think how awesome it would be to have a boat…

Mile 3 is the mile during the tempo that you think you should be happy because you’re over halfway done, but really it hurts so much and ohmigod, why am I still running? I did “chick” a pretty lean, strong guy at this time. I really didn’t want to chick him, for fear that he might awkwardly speed up and then we would get caught in that weird pace limbo. Especially since I wasn’t running that much faster than him. Although, I must have been, because I didn’t see him again. Not even a shadow. Eat my blue dust.

The last mile of the tempo is the Mantra Mile, where I will do anything to convince myself to keep running, including awesome sayings like “shut the f up and run”, “every step makes you stronger”, simple counting to ten, and complex math problems to convince me that I haven’t much further to go. This run was no exception. I was a hot, red-faced, gasping runner thumping her way up the river. My pace did fall off a little (8:18) for this mile, but I’m not going to bust myself too much on it. When recovery started, I was so ready for it I almost started walking. Almost. Instead it was a running shuffle.

Check out that leg turnover

As far tempo runs go, this was a success. My training plan said 8:20, and by running an average of 8:11, I more than hit my goal pace. More importantly though, I ran smart and didn’t bust myself at the start. It was no negative split, but one step at a time people. My Garmin definitely helped me stay on track and not get excited by seeing fast numbers on the dial.

This week I still have a 14 mile run to conquer, and more importantly, my first ever Yasso 800s. So exciting.

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