My First Tempo Run

30 Dec

I’m back home. I rushed home to try to get to the group long run. But first I had to pick up this guy. He was happy to see me!

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This guy, on the other hand, was happy to see me go.

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My aunt adopted a feral cat a few years ago and he does not like having other people around. I think I was ruining his holiday season, because he either gave me the stink eye or ran away any time we were in the same room together. Which made me sad. My feelings get hurt any time an animal or small child doesn’t immediately love me at first sight.

When I showed up for what I thought was going to be a long run, I found out we were doing a tempo run instead. Which means I missed last week’s long run. I had not looked at the schedule very carefully, and assumed the tempo run was something we were supposed to do by ourselves since it was Christmas break. Luckily, last week’s long run was only six miles, and I accomplished that on Christmas day. Extra points for doing it in a semi-storm! (That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.)

So today I got to learn what a tempo run is. And execute one fairly poorly. Our main coach was gone, but one of the other coaches was there and she explained that we were going to go three miles, and run the first bit slower than 5k pace, the second bit faster than 5k pace, then one more slow section and end on a fast section. Her example was for a normal 10 minute mile pace. She said to run 12 minute mile pace on the slow bits and 8 minute mile pace on the fast bits if we are normally a 10 minute mile.

As you may have gathered from my vague descriptions of runs and my lack of any sort of talk about splits or even overall times, I have absolutely no clue what my normal pace is. My guess, from the one time I ran a 5k, is that I run about a 10 minute mile. So luckily I could just use the numbers she threw out instead of trying to figure out new numbers, which might involve some sort of math, which I dislike as a general rule.

She advised that the people who had watches should yell out what their pace was for those of us who didn’t. I was actually glad to not have a watch, since I have no idea how to look at a watch and determine what my pace is. Maybe when she said watch she meant fancy watch — like a Garmin or Runkeeper app or something.

Shockingly (I wasn’t shocked) nobody yelled out their pace times. I heard her mumble to the person next to her when we started going faster that they were running an 8 minute per mile pace. I think I heard that anyway. She was in a little posse of three and so I just tried to just keep the same amount of distance between us for the entire time. I think I was doing it right. It was difficult. When we slowed back down I completely lost them. I settled into my normal pace, which is pretty slow, and someone who had been behind me passed me. I heard another person puffing up behind me, towards the end of the slow bit, but I took off again during the fast bit and left him in the dust.

My overall assessment is that tempo runs are kind of fun but kind of unpleasant. I wonder if I would have the discipline to do it on my own. Maybe on a treadmill, but since I have very little concept of how fast I am going at any given time, it might frustrate me to try to figure all of that out.

From reading blogs of runners, it seems like running is a fairly Type A sport. While I am very competitive when it comes to things like board games, when it comes to exercise I am pretty lackadaisical. Thankfully this is only my first half marathon, so I am not worrying too much about all of the fancy things that would make me faster.

In boot camp we have a personal best day the first week of camp and then again the last week. You try to beat your time on the last day. I always try to not blow it out of the water too much on the first day so that I can do better on the last day. That is sort of my attitude when it comes to running this half. I want a nice easy time so that I can improve next time! Look at me, already assuming there will be a next time! 🙂

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