Another Tempo Attempt

Well, I tried another tempo run.

I thought overall it went more smoothly. During my warm-up jog, I mentally calculated the paces I wanted to hit and the distances I’d cover at each pace. I know the tempo run is supposed to be this smooth progression, but I’m not quite there yet. I figured I’d just plot a best-fit line between those paces and see what happened.

I started my run on UMD’s campus, and it was misting out, but as I got to the bottom of the hill on St. Marie and Woodland, the mist became dense and difficult to see through, and I had to change my route. I didn’t feel comfortable crossing Woodland or Arrowhead Road in the mist, even with traffic lights. One right turner not paying attention could take me out. I ended up turning around on Woodland once I reached Arrowhead and heading back to campus, and I finished the tempo run on the paths and sidewalks around campus.

I felt pretty terrible during the run. The moisture content of the air was a factor, certainly, but the big problem was my legs. They just didn’t want to run faster. I assume this is my own fault for not taking it easier on Tuesday’s trail run. A longer warmup might have helped, but my calves felt like they were going to either stop working or start cramping for almost the entire run, including the warm-up and cool-down.

I can’t decide if I’ve actually improved or not.

Here’s my first attempt at a tempo run:

And here’s this week’s attempt:

I definitely made a more gradual progression this week, but I also started at a faster pace. (There’s a weird spike where I was speeding up but my watch hadn’t caught up yet, so I overshot on the pace.) I figured it would take me about 1.5 miles to do a 20 minute progression, and I figured I’d shoot for five 0.3 mile intervals at 13:00, 12:40, 12:20, 12:00, and 11:40 paces, or thereabouts. I tried and I did a so-so job, overshooting and then undershooting the pace. (I also forgot to use the lap feature on my watch to separate the warm-up and cool-down from the tempo portion of the run, so I didn’t get the split information I wanted.)

I really don’t think I’m going to get very good at this unless I do these runs on completely flat ground, and I see little value in that when I look at my long-term goals. I don’t plan on running solely on flat ground. I think there’s still value in this form of speedwork (though I prefer intervals and hill repeats) and I’ll stick to the program, but it’s going to take me a long time to be able to settle into an exact pace that I want.

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