Tempo Running

Thursday promised rain. All day the forecast indicated that there would be a 50% or greater chance of rain. I was banking on it. I was going to be able to delay my first tempo run, because I am not interested in running in the rain (yet) nor was I really interested in a tempo run. Work was completed, and it hadn’t rained, I walked home and it wasn’t raining, consulted the weather app, and now it was showing that for the next two hours it would be clear. I really didn’t have any choice now. My legs had also been aching in that way where the only “cure” is to go for a run. I wasn’t motivated to do it, but I knew that I needed to get out and get this first week of the training plan in the books because it will either just get easier (or more difficult) in the coming weeks. So I pulled on my trusty running hat and headed out the door.

Pearl Izumi Hat

Trusty Hat

The YCGTD (You Can Go the Distance) plan is designed for a marathon and it shows that the week 1 tempo run should be 3 miles. I am not going to run a marathon (those days are gone), I am looking at a 10 miler. Plus I am building a base and was looking for something attainable and meeting the spirit of the plan. I was contemplating running at the track, but the number of laps (12!) was more than I could (mentally) take, in the end I opted for another 5K. I thought that this distance and the time would give me a good picture of where I need to go with adjusting my goal time, and also give me an idea of how much work I need to do to get comfortable with Yasso’s and tempo runs. Distance, I can do distance (Long Slow Distance all day). I am going to have to take a look this weekend at the plan and modify it for a 10 mile goal. I am also going to have to look seriously at modifying my goal time.

As I hit the road the sky was very overcast and looked like rain was closing in from the North, South, East and West, in spite of the look there was not a strong breeze. Since this was a tempo run the suggested pace per mile was at Race Pace minus 30 (RP-30).  I jumped out to a strong steady cadence. My trusty Accusplit 620 measuring the time, and my internal tach advising me of the pace, I was feeling good and looking forward to the split at the 2.5K mark.

As I approached the turnaround I was moving good and looked at the split and was surprised to see it at 12m:48s. Doing some quick mental math I roughly estimated a 5K time of about 26m. I honestly didn’t think I could maintain the pace and was already feeling it in my legs and lungs, and I’m at sea-level! I just needed to keep working hard to maintain and finish without walking. I was on a data-collection mission, finish. As the course wound its way back to my house I felt like I was just hanging on, and I was not looking at the stopwatch, I just wanted to get close to the 26m, which would still be well within the RP-30 pace. As I crossed the line I clicked stop and was shocked to find the time was 25m22s. This time meant that even though I was not feeling good, I still negative split the return leg. Not too shabby.

So the first week of the plan is down and only 17 to go. I am confident that as long as I continue I can build the endurance needed to complete the 10 miler. It is going to be easier for the next two or three weeks to get the runs in, it will be more difficult as time goes on and the summer draws to a close. At that point and in the Fall it will come down to dedication to the goal.

Next time – Yasso 800’s, and some cross training. Until then, Still Running!


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