Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tempo, Et Al


Tempo in Italian is simply time.

After my lackluster performance in the half-mary on September 2nd and my problems sustaining an 8:10 pace for a long run a week later, I was nonplussed.

Because of this it was easier for me to bag a couple of scheduled runs, including a three-mile tempo.

Lo and behold, I had a satisfying interval workout last Friday where I managed to run 5X1000 (or thereabouts---I used my Garmin and .62 increments) with 400 recoveries (.24 mile). The pace of the 1000s was at 5K perceived effort, which ended up being 6:18. The workout with recoveries averaged 6:57 pace, and I was one happy dude. This was very close to my mid-tempo pace.

Then on Sunday, I had even a better run. The plan was to run 14 miles at 8 min flat and pick up the effort to MP pace for the last three (7:25). As I stopped to drink water and my own version of electrolyte solution at the 11 mile mark, I decided to push the envelope and run the last six at MP. Not only was I able to hit my milestone but I actually surpassed it by running a 7:21 average, with the last mile being the fastest.

Fast forward to today, and I had the three-mile tempo I missed last week on the menu. I decided to ditch my lightweight trainers (288 miles) and my 1023 trainers (361 miles) in favor of my fairly new nike air max (61 miles) to do this workout. Like Spike Lee used to say: 'it's gotta be the shoes.' I don't know what it was, but this workout totally and unsuspectingly exceeded my expectations.

The irony is that I almost bagged today's run. Man it would have been a terrible mistake. I started with a nice w/u of three miles (24:45). I stopped to drink water and to stretch lightly. Then the fun began (the goal was 6:50-6:55): the first mile goes by in 6:37, and I think I am going too fast for my current fitness, that I did not gauge the effort correctly; I may bonk on the second one; but no, I timed it in 6:20 (downhill) with the third a challenging mildly uphill mile coming up. As soon as I crest the mild technical hill by the flight line I begin to doubt I will finish the three mile tempo and I consider slowing down. But I refuse to give up; I concentrate on turn over and the effort feels more like a 5K. Time has slowed down; I seem to have slowed down to 7 min pace. I remember a quote from a commercial way back then that went like this: si las cosas que valen la pena se hicieran facilmente, cualquiera las haria, or loosely translated: if worthy goals were done easily, anyone would do them*. I plod on and find myself working quite hard. Finish the third one in 6:36, woo hoo!!! I am in disbelief that I just completed a not so easy tempo run in 6:31 pace!!! To put things in perspective, I ran the same three-mile tempo run two weeks ago in 20:35, 62 seconds slower!! I cooled down with two in 15:02.

One thing that I noticed in those two runs was that my cool down was not as slow as one would think cool down miles should be. I found myself running them with ease at very close to MP. They felt almost TOO easy.

*I love ipods and I just ordered a fourth-generation RED nano (and my fourth one) with that quote engraved on the back.

1 comment:

Sempre Libera said...

"I don't know what it was, but this workout totally and unsuspectingly exceeded my expectations."

Woo hoo, I love it when that happens! Nice job out there. Finishing with a non-snail-pace cool-down is a great sign, I think -- even the tough workouts should be finished strong and not exhausted.