Training Diary 6.15.14 — Speed Phase Week Three (AKA – I hate Tempo Runs)

Maybe more accurately: I suck at tempo runs. Unfortunately the only solution is also the least attractive: practice, practice, practice. Hal Higdon calls them “the thinking runner’s workout,” but I never expect so many of those thoughts to be “Oh my God, what fresh hell is this pace? Ugh, Kathryn. You are a terrible runner. ” Sometimes you need matter over mind. So I try to visualize beautiful robot-movement in my form, and relax my facial muscles to catatonic slack— totally unfeeling, absolutely numb. Imagine my legs as machines, incessantly — endlessly — moving. Don’t look at the watch. Never look at the watch. Seriously, stop checking the fucking watch. GPS is the devil. Running is torture. How on earth do people do this? What ecstasy it would be to walk — or better, to stop completely, hinging at the hip, pressing palms firmly against thighs. Ugh. Kathryn. You are a terrible runner.

I’m realizing that of course I’m doing it all wrong, or at least mostly wrong. Here’s Friday’s workout:

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 5.47.51 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 5.48.02 PM

So for example, if I’m looking to run a 24:30 5k, then according to Runner’s World training paces calculator, my tempo pace should be more like 8:20/mile. Currently I’m completing a ¾ mile warm-up (or so), and then increasing my pace too suddenly, subsequently crashing and burning by the end? On the other hand, I know these runs should feel hard, so maybe it’s more an issue of becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. Or probably some combination.

Either way, I dread that the secret actually lies in a painful learning curve.

Monday — Easy Run / 5.75 miles / 9’27” pace  A make-up for last week’s delayed Sunday long run. Not very impressive for an LSD, but still meaningful enough for 5k training. Besides, a run-commute home along the Embarcadero and through Potrero Hill? Best de-compression ever. Half a mile from our apartment, I stopped at the market for fresh herbs and cruised home for dinner. Summer. Ah.

Tuesday — Easy bike ride and strength training.

Wednesday — 6×400 / 4 miles / 9’33” pace  A beautiful morning in the Haight. 6’44 / 6’25 / 6’49 / 7’00 / 6’51 / 6’55 An improvement from last week — almost all intervals in the sixes. I’m doing a lot of walking between sets, and reading conflicting information regarding the better approach: Avoid a cooldown, or rest enough so that every interval can be performed at full quality?

Thursday — Dynamic Flow Yoga Class / 90 minutes  A class full of arm balances, which I love.

Friday — Tempo Run (from hell) / 3.6 miles / 9’08” pace  See above.

Saturday — Rest.

Sunday — Long Run / 6.6 miles / 9’49” pace  A meandering exploration around Noe Valley, Duboce triangle, and the Mission. My long runs have become a bit prescriptive, always with the go-to 8 mile route or 10 mile or 14 mile route that I know well. Kept this one interesting with some new and some familiar hills, neighborhoods, twists and turns.

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8 thoughts on “Training Diary 6.15.14 — Speed Phase Week Three (AKA – I hate Tempo Runs)

  1. Yea, the suggested tempo paces for my 5K time seem insane to me. I’m training for the SF half in a month, and if I was following the Run Less Run Faster plan, I should be doing a 5 mile mid tempo run at 7:05 pace. I could probably accomplish that, but it would hurt for sure. For instance today I did a 7 mile run where some miles got down to 7:45 ish, but never down to 7 min pace (I think I averaged 815, which I was happy with). I guess maybe I could follow the plan and be okay. Right now I’m sort of following the Hal Higdon plan. Maybe I just don’t like following any sort of plan and kind of winging it? I likely will try to follow RLRF for the SJ half in October though. I feel your pain on tempo runs! Hope they go better in the future!

    • Right – from what I hear, the RLRF paces are pretty gnarly! The idea that the runs are higher intensity because you do more active recovery? Still, sounds like a world of pain. I sort of follow Higdon plans too, I like the flexibility that they allow. Looking forward to hearing your experience w/ RLRF for San Jose!

  2. Pingback: Training Diary 6.22.14 — Speed Phase Week Four & See Jane Run Race Week! | well and warm together

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