Monday, March 11, 2013

First Attempt at Tempo Intervals

It's going to rain all day on my scheduled run day tomorrow. So, considering the overcast, warm day today and the fact that I got out of work at 3:00 - I decided to run. I thought I'd run around the neighborhood, and try to run a tempo interval run that the McMillan website described for me to prepare for my first half-marathon race in October. I know it's a long way off, but I was curious to see if I could in fact run at a specific pace for a certain distance. Ummm.. almost.

The neat thing is that; knowing I only had 1.86 miles to run at a 9:02 pace was comforting. That is, I know that it begins, and it eventually ends. Then, I'm to 'jog' for a half mile.  This interval was done 3 times. I told Runmeter to please announce when the intervals start, and to pretty please tell me if I'm staying on pace.


I was all over the place. I started out at a slow warm up for 1/4 mile, and then picked up the pace at the start of the interval. Every time my pace was announced, I was going faster than I was supposed to. So, I slowed down, and by the time it was announced again, I was going too slow. I tried to 'feel' the speed/pace when I thought I had it, only to be told I was going 10-15 seconds too fast AGAIN. Is this really a doable thing? I mean, I've only been running almost a year now. Is there something I'm missing? This cannot be an exact science. Or, if it is, I suck at it. But, wait - aren't there REAL pacers in a race that are able to stay at a certain pace? How do they DO that? I remember my sister Theresa in her first half. She was in the 1:40 pacer group. And you know what? She came in at 1:41. Dang.

Regardless of the sucky nature of this whole escapade, I was able to improve my breathing technique! I would say that I've got it now. I'm no longer counting, but breathing by rhythm of my pace. And, I did zen-out for about a .25 mile every mile or so. That's a relief. I believe I was able to tolerate the distance at the pace I was TRYING to keep better than if I had been breathing one step in, one step out, or however I was doing it previously.

So, in another month, I'm to run tempo intervals again, at my 9:02 race pace, (which brings me just under a 2 hour time for the half) 3 x 3mi with a 1000m jog in between. I'm supposed to continue with my usual LSR's and steady state runs and speed work (which I need to also learn how to do correctly without tearing up both my quads again)

Eventually, I'm sure I will get all this training behind me, do it because I can just so I can say I did, and then just run because I want to. It looks pretty scary when I glance at the last tempo interval I'm to do, 3 weeks before my half, where McMillan is saying I'm going to be able to run 8 miles at a 9:02 pace. But, I remember how similar I felt when the C25k program said I would run 3 miles in 30 minutes without walking. It's all relative, isn't it?

I recently read somewhere that regardless at what age you begin to run, and if you run faithfully, you will continually improve for up to 10 years, barring any serious health issues. If that in fact is true for the average person, it is definitely something to look forward to.

The discrepancies are huge as far as paces go between gadgets. The running times are the same, but distances and paces are off. I did a factory reset of the Magellan after it pissed me off with a ridiculous 9:47 average pace.  It's been too weird lately. 

Runmeter Data

Oh, Magellan, you wet blanket, you.


  1. Find a race with may surprise the heck out of yourself. And keep doing what you are doing. It is working.

  2. I'd really like to do that. I'm still looking.


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