MarathonMaiden's Blog

March 11, 2010

Tempooooooooooo Demons

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:02

I never thought I’d say this. And it might never happen again so bookmark this page. BUT I love the tempo.  Or at least today’s tempo.  In a quick recap of the past few weeks worth of tempos:

  • 4 weeks ago: Just barely stayed in my tempo range. I know that snow was a factor here but it was still a tempo
  • 3 weeks ago: Had to scrap calling the run a tempo and call in a steady state (in hindsight of course). Very disappointing
  • 2 weeks ago: TM’ing it up.  Banged out a tempo that was quick and on the fast end of my range
  • 1 week ago: Ditto to 2 weeks ago.

Kind of a hodge-podge of running for my Thursdays.  I’d really like some consistency with the pacing.  Sure I know that week to week my body is going to feel different and respond differently but I’d like to *feel* a bit more consistent.  I was very hesitant when it came to this morning’s tempo.

I knew that it wouldn’t be as fast as my TM tempos simply because it was outside.  And I didn’t want to feel another disappointment as the last time I had done a tempo out of doors had felt.  And I hate feeling like I failed.  It makes me feel sub-par and I don’t care how numbers UN-obsessed you are or how zen you are or how confident you are in yourself: it NEVER feels good to feel like you could have gone harder or given a little more.  And I worry about that.  I worry about resting on my laurels. Probably silly because there’s no basis for it but still. Those are my thoughts.

Which is what I did think I was doing when I finished my warm up and saw a 10 pace.  Gahhhh.  Was this a sign of things to come?! I mean, I knew that yesterday’s double (even with neither run terribly fast) was likely going to impact me as was the fact that I was up too late last night and the sleep debt I’m in is vastly growing (I calculated it out and to recover from this debt over break I need to sleep 20.4 hours a day, all 10 days). So a morning tempo might not have been the smartest choice though. But I wanted to take advantage of the “morning chill”; when the temps aren’t cold anymore but aren’t too warm yet (typically this is around 35* or so)

Luckily I was able to tell myself that “I CAN DO THIS” and plowed ahead essentially telling myself “to hell with this. This workout is going to rock”. And I guess the stats speak for themselves:

  • 3.2 mile warm up @ 10:00
  • 7.6 mile tempo @ 7:33
  • 4.3 mile warm down @ 8:48

So I did it.  I completed the workout and executed it beautifully.  I truly think my pacing was consistent, at least on the whole.  I definitely know there were regions where I let up a bit and regions where I probably was going faster. Definitely by the end I was just cruising so when I looked at my watch and saw that my average pace for the last lap of campus was a 7:10 I was stoked. So clearly I was running really well.

And it felt….good? I’m not quite sure how to describe it because I never really felt like I could say I was running fast. I knew I wasn’t running slow but I always had doubt in the back of my mind.  It was really hard to tell what sort of pace I was at.  To be honest, my tempo portion didn’t feel like there wasn’t too much of a difference between the warm up. Obviously not the case.

So it was a weird sort of run where clearly I was running well but I didn’t feel particularly speedy.  My HR when I was done with the tempo portion was only 150.  Now I’m not by any means an expert on HR but that number looks a bit low for what a tempo effort should be.  Still, I’m not knocking this run.  If I can pound out some tempo miles right smack dab in the middle of my ideal range on lack of sleep and an abundance of stress, then I think I’m good.

It’s also a good sign for the future because it tells me that I’m getting faster. At the beginning of the training cycle I could handle this pace for only 5 or so miles.  And, remembering correctly, that was hard and I was pushing. Today I was able to handle the pace for 7.6 miles and have it feel, not like nothing, but it definitely wasn’t as hard as it was 10 weeks ago.

So I have mixed emotions. On one hand I would have loved to actually feel fast during the workout. Or at least have some gut feelings that would have helped me intuitively know where I was.  But on the other hand it was a GREAT workout and maybe I did have some sore of gut reaction because, like I mentioned, I felt that my pacing was good today.

So I can’t really complain.  And I guess I’m not.  Not really at least. I think that even if my HR was lower than it should be (and again I’m not an expert with dealing with HR) then today was a good barometer of where I stand.  And it was confidence boosting as I was able to hit it after being guided by the TM the past two weeks.  So YES I can do this.  And the demons of the past few weeks with tempos have been beaten back. At least for another week 🙂

And just to respond to yesterday’s guys that were competing with me. I love that so many of you would have done the same thing I did. I’m still not sure if the guys were actually out running or not.  But they were exiting a pizza place, were in workout clothes and definitely started running when they saw me coming as well as tried to keep up with me and stick close and mimic my pace. So I don’t really know what the deal was.  It was definitely a roll-my-eyes type of moment!

Alrighty then (gosh I need to re-watch that movie)…time to finish up a few quick assignments.  The good thing about working my tail off and staying up really late earlier this week means that I’m almost there!! I don’t think I have to bring home any work over spring break as long as I can get a few things done tonight.  With luck I’ll be able to crawl into bed early and play catch-up with some television. Hollllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeer 🙂

Check out the giveaway from EatMoveLove. Or don’t. I want it.

P.S. I promise that I haven’t forgotten about putting together a “daily fueling” type post.  I’m thinking doing two: one from home (because I’ll have time when I’m home) and then hopefully one from school.  Since I want pictures the school one might have to wait until after break but trust me, I plan to do it because it seems like such a popular request!



  1. Good job on turning a mentally challenging run into a highly successful one! Don’t get discouraged when you feel your run may be a bit slower than usual, you are doing great and everyone has days like that:)

    Comment by barnardbarbelle — March 11, 2010 @ 19:54

  2. I love how you talked yourself into an AWESOME run! Fantastic!

    Comment by Amy @ Second City Randomness — March 11, 2010 @ 21:10

  3. It is so awesome to break through to a new training level. All the hard work and the pushing has paid off. Great job!

    I love your question on my post about how to handle changing/scaling back runs. I’m certainly no expert and don’t always(and often don’t) take my own advice. I’m going to do a blog post on it this weekend and hopefully generate other peoples ideas on the topic too. So check out my blog over the weekend.

    Comment by Christina — March 11, 2010 @ 21:22

  4. Girl, you are definitely getting to be a stronger runner! 7.6 miles of tempo is INSANE, in the BEST way possible 🙂

    Comment by kathleennnn — March 11, 2010 @ 21:31

  5. Wow 7.6 miles is a long tempo! Tempo pace is usually around 10k pace, so you might want to speed up a little!

    Comment by Matt — March 11, 2010 @ 21:44

  6. And 150 is low for a tempo! I am usually 180ish around the end!

    Comment by Matt — March 11, 2010 @ 21:45

  7. daily fuel post is a great idea!!

    way to take charge of the tempo. i love how you talked about it being a mind game and just the need to go INTO the workout positive . that’s so much sports psychology. i had a soccer coach who made us all visualize the ball going in the goal and the end score of us winning. haha. GREAT run karyn 🙂 7.6 miles at hard effort is ridic. like more than a 10k 😉 and what is your goal 10k pace anyway?

    Comment by Lacey — March 11, 2010 @ 22:54

  8. Hey, if you DID have a great work out….and didn’t feel speedy…does not that mean your endurance level has shot up? I kind of associate feeling speedy as…well, feeling tired? Haha. Well done, Karyn!

    Comment by sophia — March 11, 2010 @ 23:33

  9. Your cardio fitness must be amazing to be at 150 at the end of those fast miles!! Don’t see it as a detrimental thing see it as a good thing that your heart is strong enough to run that fast and stay really effective 🙂

    Comment by Laura — March 12, 2010 @ 04:22

  10. Ha- you are too funny- I’m pretty sure your workouts are about 1000x more hard core than mine, and you are in about 1000x better shape than me! Buttt, I do agree with how fun that mentality is- wondering how long you can keep it up. It really makes for a satisfying workout!

    Comment by tmart — March 12, 2010 @ 05:12

  11. Glad the tempo run went well! I always “try” to check my heart rate especially when i am on the treadmill but I can never do it right because I always lose track of counting. Also my heart kinda like skips which makes it hard, maybe its just me and i cant get my heart rate! Plus the treadmills at the gym always say my heart rate is like 150 after running and Im like uhh thats way too low when i just sprinted!

    Comment by J — March 12, 2010 @ 07:15

  12. Re: the running meatheads … as I tell women all the time, guys are idiots and need to be reminded of this fact. Great run. So nice to see you building confidence in the outdoor tempo. It’s obvious you can do it, but until you see yourself succeeding, it’s always a nagging thing. You will be so ready for Beantown.

    Comment by A Marathoner — March 12, 2010 @ 09:49

  13. Good for you! Breakthroughs are a hell of a thing!

    Comment by David Dierking — March 12, 2010 @ 10:57

  14. Great job Karyn…7.6 is a crazy speed!!

    Comment by Ameena — March 12, 2010 @ 11:49

  15. ok so this workout is fantastic. And I am so impressed with your progress. You are going to rock Boston.

    I saw your post yesterday about the pizza guys and it cracked me up. I definitely ran faster the other day to keep a guy from passing me. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy to leave a dude in the dust 😉

    Comment by runningfiance — March 12, 2010 @ 13:29

  16. Seems to me that not feeling fast is a good sign that you’re getting faster.. like faster = easier if that makes sense. Way to rock the tempo run.

    Comment by EarlyRunner — March 12, 2010 @ 13:44

  17. This was mentioned above, but have you considered running a tiddly bit quicker on your tempos? It really does make sense that your fitness will improve with your (Herculean!) training. On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for not feeling like crap on your tempos. Makes them more appealing, right?

    Comment by sarah — March 12, 2010 @ 15:22

    • Oh if I could have pushed faster I would have 😉 But that’s all I could give haha. And 100% agreed with not feeling like crap after a tempo makes it so nice. Probably why I opened the post the way I did ha!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — March 12, 2010 @ 22:08

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