Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tempo by Twilight

My posts have been a little sporadic this week because I'm getting ready to be sworn in as an attorney. Becoming a lawyer is like going through puberty: it seems to take forever, it's filled with uncomfortable moments, and just when you think it's almost over, there's another step. Anyway--barring any last minute surprises--I will be sworn in next Monday. 

Now back to running-related content.

On Tuesday night (boy does that seem like ages ago!) I met fellow Whippets in Central Park for our Tuesday speed workout. This week we had a tempo run on schedule. Out of all the different kinds of speed work, I find long tempo runs to be the hardest to do by yourself so I was only too happy to have other folks to run with.

The term "tempo run" gets thrown around a lot these days and folks seem to have very different ideas what it means. In my book (and by that I mean my copy of Daniels' Running Formula), a tempo run is a run done at a "comfortably hard" pace, something you could sustain for about an hour.

We didn't quite fit the Daniels definition on Tuesday, though we weren't far off. After an easy mile warm-up our goal was to do 6 to 8 miles at 15 to 30 seconds slower than half-marathon pace. The idea was that the pace wouldn't feel too difficult for the first several miles, but in the later miles it would be more difficult to maintain. It may be helpful here to throw in an alternate name for tempo runs: steady state runs. You're trying to maintain a consistent pace throughout the run even as fatigue sets in. [Note: Someone reading this blog might blow a gasket because some folks, like Greg McMillan, do not use these terms interchangeably.]

So, how did we do? I ran with three other guys and only one of us had a GPS watch. Since we were doing a four mile loop with no intermediate markers, we only had two chances to check our pace. That meant the run mostly went by feel. For the whole run we average around 6:45 pace. Our second loop was about 2 minutes faster than the first loop which probably isn't ideal, but it did serve as a confidence booster. Had I been running on my own one of two things would have happened: (1) I would have slowed down during the second loop, or (2) I would have called it quits by mile 6. All in all in was a great workout. Better still, it didn't start raining until after we had finished.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats!

    Tempos are "comfortably hard" in my book too. Sounds like you ran a solid one!