MarathonMaiden's Blog

February 11, 2010

All About The Effort Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:12

When you run in the morning, you gain time in a sense. It’s like stretching 24 hours into 25. You may need to sleep less and get up earlier, but if you can get by that, running early seems to expand the day.
–Fred Lebow, founder of the New York City Marathon

I got this quote in my email this morning and it really spoke to me especially as I had just come from a very challenging tempo run.  It’s no big secret that I haven’t been sleeping much lately (don’t know if I’ve ever really mentioned it that much) but I don’t mind sharing that I’ve been getting 6-7 hours when my body needs 9-10.  Partly this is due to the time gain talked about in the quote.  I just feel like I have my full day when I run early bird style, so even when I have the opportunity to run whenever I want (like Thursday = no class) I still choose to get up first thing and get my run done. Because after the run I still had the entire day to do my work sans interruption.  Don’t get me wrong, my favorite time to run is around noon but that just isn’t practical for me at the moment.  Even today.

I guess that’s why I keep getting up early to hit the pavement for my tempo runs.  I easily could have pushed off the run to later as I didn’t even have any meetings today scattered about.  And in hindsight maybe I should have.  The “snow” from yesterday never amount to more than an inch or two so the roads were semi-cleared.  It was that weird state of clearance where the plows have come by but since there wasn’t a lot of snow they kind of did a half assed job with it.  Traffic cleared some more but there were definitely stretches where I was running in snow still and the temperatures are warming up so it was slushy.  I think my shoes and socks were soaked by mile 2. I guess I can consider it my icing for the day?

Not so great conditions for a tempo run.  Here are the stats though:

  • 3.5 mile warm up @ 9:55
  • 7.1 mile tempo @ 7:46
  • 3.5 mile warm down @ 8:58

Right off the bat I’m pissed that my tempo pace is 7:46.  Yes it is within the McMillian calculator zone but it is ONE second outside of my preferred zone (7:15-7:45).  Very very annoying. (Although technically the tempo portion was 7.16 miles which drops the pace to 7:42. But I can’t with good faith count that .06.  My mind just doesn’t allow for the hundredths place to count ever haha)

That said today definitely felt like a tempo effort.  I woke up this morning feeling a little lethargic.  I think the lack of sleep is slowly catching up to me and I suspect that Tuesday’s intervals took way more out of me that I want to admit. Which made the warm up brutal and a bit discouraging. It also introduced me to the fact that the tempo portion might be a bit rough.

Because it was.  For the first few miles my legs felt like screaming. For me this is normal at the beginning of a tempo because the legs are adjusting to a quick pace.  After about 1.5 miles though they calm down.  Unfortunately this was when I hopped off the main road in my loop.  Which, since it wasn’t a really busy street, wasn’t as cleared at I would have liked.  I never felt like I got a good rhythm during miles 1.5-4.  The snow I was running on made it really hard to maintain traction so I was going at tempo effort without tempo pace.

After that spot I knew that my overall pace was shot but I still felt good and that’s where I had a mini epiphany (not that it alleviates any disappointment from not hitting a certain pace): tempo runs are all about effort.  Sure pace is one way to gauge that but EFFORT is what counts here.  It’s why there are tempo ranges, to allow for days when everything goes right as well as those days where I’m tired or bad weather or whatever the case may be.

That said, I did try to pick up the pace a bit after the rough patch ended.  Hard to do when your socks and shoes are filled with snow but hey I did bust out the last 2 miles in 7:04 pace.  Typical for me to take a tempo run and make it progression style.  Not quite as fast as previous weeks (where I’ve been in the 6:45 range) but again: effort.

Lacey had a really good post about being a numbers junkie and I can totally say the same about myself.  I look at the numbers from my run and don’t think it reflects the way that I ran.  Yes I was upset and pissed that I couldn’t “nail” it the way I wanted to (and secretly I thought the running gods were out to get me because I keep saying how I have no confidence in my tempo runs and then BAM a confidence shaking one) but I need to learn at some point that numbers don’t tell the whole story.  Yes I know that intellectually but my goal-driven ways and my heart have a hard time accepting that.

Alright. No need for me to get all philosophical here. Moral of the story: Tempo was a success.  The numbers suck hardcore but my effort was there and I’m sure I derived the benefits of a tempo run today (any of the physio / medical peeps want to chime in here?).

Happy Thursday. I know it’ll be a happy one for me as I plan on getting my lab report done as well as a few minor things so I can go out and enjoy the night.  Apparently there’s a benefit for Haiti at the local bar which starts at 1830.  Guess who’ll likely be drinking at 1830? 😉

Check out this giveaway from ErikaH. She has such cool ones!

[Edit]: Oh yeah right: knee update. Rebecca asked me the other day how my knee was doing. Really well actually.  The bruise coloring is 100% gone as is the puffyness around my knee.  It still feels really stiff if I sit on it wrong but I think that’s unrelated.  But I guess I have the tendency to overreact to things hahaha



  1. Haha! I love the perfectionist in you. Great run. Tempos are not fun, but you banged out a very good one.

    Re: 5k – my next planned race is a 5k on March 7th!

    Comment by A Marathoner — February 11, 2010 @ 17:57

  2. Wow what a great tempo run!! I’m the same about being picky with exact numbers 🙂 Glad your knee is doing better!

    Comment by Heather — February 11, 2010 @ 18:28

  3. i agree, go by effort. your mileage is ridiculous you are so prepared for long distance races. as far as pace you are right where you want to be, and what is prescribed for your goal pace. some tempos will be speedier than others at least that is what i find 🙂 way to rock it out as usual! 🙂 love the numbahhhhhs.

    Comment by Lacey — February 11, 2010 @ 22:11

  4. The longer we run, the more ups and downs we experience in our training. Some days you will feel *it*, not so much other days. This is all part of it, it means your body is responding to the hard work you are putting it through. You are going to ROCK Boston, so don’t even doubt yourself for one hundredth of a second, okay?

    Comment by Rebecca — February 12, 2010 @ 09:26

  5. Thanks for replying to my question, I was really paranoid it’s something really bad but I think it would hurt more if it was really bad.. My shoes are fairly old but I haven’t run that many miles in them, used them to play badminton in mainly before I took up running. I think I maybe tried to do a bit much too quickly, only been running since October so maybe should have increased my milage slower.. I did a bit more research on the internet and apparently shin splints aren’t always the same all the time so I’m feeling a bit more reassured that that’s what it is. I decided to take a bit of rest from running and hopefully I’ll manage to clear them up this time I really missed my long run this morning though, not sure how long I’ll be able to keep off it!!

    I’m always totally impressed by your tempo runs!! Good effort. Glad to hear your knees doing better 🙂

    Comment by Laura — February 12, 2010 @ 09:37

  6. That quote is made for you. And yes you are a mileage junkie :)…well let’s say “Mileage BAMF!!”

    Comment by eatmovelove — February 12, 2010 @ 10:05

  7. Sometimes lack of sleep does a surprise attack and just knocks you out cold. Ughs!

    High five to your knees, although not physically — that might reinjure them.

    Comment by EE — February 12, 2010 @ 10:11

  8. You said it best…its about effort and with the snow, your effort was there. The numbers may not show it but if it had been a regular day, no snow, decent weather then you would have run the pace you wanted. Don’t beat yourself up…get some more sleep girl! I run on about 7-8 and my body has just gotten used to it. But i try for 9 on weekends just to make sure I am rested and feel good. If I get too much sleep, the day is wasted. its such a weird balancing act! Have a good weekend!

    Comment by J — February 12, 2010 @ 13:19

  9. I like progression runs better than tempo runs because that’s usually what I end up doing anyway…so I just replaced my tempos with progressions.

    Comment by runjess — February 12, 2010 @ 14:10

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