MarathonMaiden's Blog

January 7, 2010

Tempo Pace. Can I Get A Definition Here?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:31

Finally back at school.  Last night I *almost* put it off again though. Now it may come as a shock to y’all but I am completely resistant to change (oh yes I can see your jaws dropping to the floor now). Even though I *needed* to get out of my hometown I still didn’t really want to have to pack up stuff from home, load up the car, drive an hour, unpack my stuff and make a trip to restock my fridge so I don’t starve over the next few weeks.  Obviously everything ended up fine and I am here and okay.  But I hate the whole process.

When all was said and done last night I was so tuckered out that I put on an episode of NCIS and promptly fell asleep.  Tossed and turned a little but mostly because I think my little sister got me sick.  She was soooo ill on Tuesday and I’m terrified that I’ve caught what she had.  I had that feeling on sickness-onset, like my body is fighting something but hasn’t succumbed to it yet.  And if my body knows what’s good for it, it won’t. Heh.

But the best way to beat illness (and jump right back into being on campus) is to get on a set schedule / routine.  What better way to set the bar than with my running? According to my plan Thursdays are tempo days.  I actually have no problem with that (even with the intervals being consistently on Tuesdays) as fast running begets fast running.  Sure I may be a little tired the first few weeks of the cycle, as I really haven’t been doing any regular speedwork post Providence marathon, but the intensity really fuels me.  Hopefully this combination works in the long run and gets me that PR I want in Boston!

As I discovered last week on my tempo run, my body needs a longer warm up than I’ve currently given it.  I just always want to jump right into the meat of my workout and feel that in the past I simply have not let the kinks work themselves out.  Granted on the TM this is okay because gyms tend to be warm but in the winter and outside my muscles just need more time.  So I gave myself a nice 2.7 mile warm up.  It was ridiculously slow but that’s okay: I’d rather have my warm up be on the wicked slow side than let that carry over into the tempo portion.

The actual tempo itself wasn’t so bad. Even though it was a heat wave (35* at the start! 39* by the end!) I think the slowness of the warm up should have told me something about what to expect over the course of the 5.4 mile route I was tempo-ing it up on.  Like last week I was lacking a bit on mental focus.  I kept catching myself zoning out.  Which is fine for an easy run but the point of a tempo run (to me at least) is to concentrate on keeping your pace and being mentally aware of what’s going on in your body.  I was able to be semi-aware though and definitely noticed a heaviness settling in on my legs during the last half mile or so.  This is exactly what a tempo should feel like though: when you’re done you could do more but you’re 100% thankful that you don’t have to.  I do feel like I could have given it more during the early miles but I’m pretty happy with it nevertheless. I finished up with 3.2 miles of warm down for a grand total of 11.3 miles.

My tempo pace range (according to McMillian) is 7:34-7:54 and I split it right down the middle with a 7:44 pace.  Not the amazing 7:20 I posted up last week (which by the way was run in a freaking SNOWSTORM and was faster. Go figure) but still good to get the job done and was working me optimally.

I did have some confusion as to what I was supposed to do today.  According to my plan (I’m in Week15) I had 8-11 miles with 2 X 15 minutes at marathon tempo pace, defined as 10-15 seconds faster than MP.  Using my only marathon time that equates to 8:05-8:10 which is faster than I traditionally have been doing my tempos.  This is also not what I consider a tempo run; to me it’s a 30-60 minute (depending on where you are in your training cycle) continuous run at a pace that is slightly slower than 10k pace.  For me this equates to  7:15-7:45.

Obviously I chose to do my “traditional” tempo but I’m slightly worried that I’m hurting myself in the long run as my pace today was a good 20 seconds faster than my plan AND I ran that pace for longer than prescribed.  One caveat is that I think that I’m capable of a faster marathon time and if I use the goal MP of 8:00 (3:30 finish) then my plan says tempo pace is 7:45-7:50 and I’m basically spot on.  Granted that makes my McMillian calculations faster and I was too slow then for today.

Oh and unrelated note to the meat of this post (and bear with me, I know this post is long enough as it is!): I ordered new shoes.  GASP.  I (somewhat shamefully) admit that I still have the 2000 miles shoes (now there are 2163 miles on them) as well as a “newer” pair that have “only” 710.  Surprisingly I still remain uninjured *knocksonwood* but I do notice that the older ones need to be regulated to lifting/xt.  The newer pair still feel springy.  Weird huh? In any case I picked up my new-new shoes from the post office today.  Same model but they’re ORANGE.  Who knows what I’ll actually break them out — not likely until marathon day gets MUCH closer, but I have them.  It’s a start 😛

RE: DD drinking man on TM next to me.  He was walking.  At about 2.6mph which is slower than I walk on a daily basis.  But I said I won’t judge or anything because the coffee smelt so good.  So I’m trying hard not to judge.

Also (gosh I am so bad at writing a short concise post!), I got a new camera for Christmas but didn’t like the color I got it in so I’m planning on doing an exchange this weekend (or today if I become not-so-lazy).  I can’t wait to start incorporating pictures into my posts and actually showing you guys aspects of my life. Hope you’re as excited as I am heh.


  1. you are a crazy runner! haha. I can’t wait to see some pictures in your blog! I love reading it already. 🙂

    Comment by Mary (Food Fit & Fun) — January 7, 2010 @ 15:53

  2. you are making me want to work out on a plan!!!! i need to check out yours. i totally just didn’t do anything today. i suppose i could still do something, just not feeling super motivated. any jumpstarting words of wisdom :)???

    tempo: short length= slightly slower than 5k pace… medium length= slightly slower than 10k pace… longer length= Half marathon pace. i am totally in the camp that faster is almost always better. run your long runs at your goal marathon pace. speed work should work on speed. esp if you don’t think you are reaching your race potential at your current fitness level. 🙂 just my 2 cents!

    Comment by Lacey — January 7, 2010 @ 16:53

  3. I love it. You are in the thick of training … being super analytical about it too. Great run.

    Shame on you for sneaking the old kicks out for more mileage. Throw them away!!!

    Wait? You are targeting a 3:30 marathon??? Suddenly that makes me worry. So am I and we are not in the same running universe. Granted I still have 10 months before mine, but this makes me nervous.

    Comment by A Marathoner — January 7, 2010 @ 17:21

  4. Hey chica chica! I am super jealous of your 30+ temps.. I’ve been TMing it more than I want to admit. Way to pull it out on the tempo run, despite the confusion with the plan. One big thing I’m *still* trying to get a grasp on is just “trusting the plan” 😀

    I have a favor to ask you for my next post going up tomorrow! Shoooot me an email and I’ll fill you in!

    Comment by Erika (Dr. TriRunner) — January 7, 2010 @ 18:43

  5. 2000 miles on shoes?! Girl, you are nuts! Get some new ones!

    Comment by runningfiance — January 8, 2010 @ 10:54

  6. That’s cool you got a camera! Looking forward to fun pics. And, about your pacing and stuff, go by feel too, not just numbers. But, you probably already knew that. 🙂

    Comment by Liz — January 8, 2010 @ 15:05

  7. […] yesterday was a rockin’ tempo I knew that today was going to be nice and sloooooooooow.  It’s recovery so I’m okay […]

    Pingback by Recovery and Reflections (yes I know it’s only day 8 of the year) « MarathonMaiden's Blog — January 8, 2010 @ 15:30

  8. per jack daniels, tempo pace = pace you can hold for a 1h race (somewhere between 10k-15k pace for you — and tempos should probably not be 1h; that would be too stressful on the body)

    per brad hudson, tempo pace = dependent on target race

    i recommend both daniels’ and hudson’s books for some guidance. even if you are following a prewritten plan, knowing the purpose of your runs/pace will really help. 🙂

    Comment by paige — January 9, 2010 @ 18:20

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