Tempo Run – Take 1

In the two years I’ve been running, I haven’t done a whole lot of speed work. I’ve done some fartleks and some other random interval runs – but when I do those, it’s usually just to keep myself entertained. I definitely feel like I am a stronger runner than I was when I first started, but am I getting faster?


  • 5K – 12/2009 – 33:15 (10:43)
  • 5K – 09/2010 – 30:30 (09:51)
  • 5K – 12/2010 – 30:43 (09:54)
  • 13.1 – 05/2011 – 2:21:51 (10:50)


When I ran my first 5K, I had only been running for three months, so nine months later I was able to cut 2:45 off my time without having to try very hard.  Three months after that, I was a bit slower – but still faster than the exact same race the previous year. And then I decided I wanted to train for a half marathon.

I’d attempted training for one the year before, but less than a third of the way into it I was walking with a bit of a limp. I tried to deny it, but my sister walked behind me at the Newport cliff walk and captured it on “film”…I should ask her if she still has the video. I was hardly lifting my left leg when I walked, so when I tried to run through it (for an hour at a time) I was doing more harm then good. When I made my second (successful) attempt, I was a lot more careful.

Anyway, when I gained endurance for the half, I lost any “speed” that I had gained.  I ran my long runs between 10:30/mi and 11:30/mi, and when I ran my 3 and 4 milers it was a struggle for me to go any faster then that.   Part of me was kind of angry because I thought that I should be able to pick it up on my “short” runs. The other part of me was just amazed that I could run for over an hour at all and wanted to avoid injury at all costs – which meant speed didn’t matter.

Now that I know I’m capable of running that kind of difference, I’m less afraid of it. It wasn’t easy, but I know I can do it again. I’m planning to start training for the Princess Half after Thanksgiving, which will give me 12 full weeks before we leave as well as one taper week before the race. I’m planning to include 3 days of running (1 long run, 1 steady paced run, 1 day of speed work) and at least 2 days of cross training, which will include the elliptical, bike trainer, and some weights.  Last time I quit the weights half way through because my knees were bothering me every time I did it – the lunges and squats in the 30 Day Shred are brutal!

Before training madness begins, I’ve registered for two 5Ks! One is just over a week away and the other the first week of December. With that in mind, I set out to do my first tempo run on Thursday. I know the point of a tempo run is to keep running, but I had to stop or walk twice for about 30 seconds to stretch my neck and shoulders. I really need to work on relaxing my neck and shoulders when I run. I get so tense! Hopefully, I’m not alone in this and will be able to find some good resources on the web.

Tempo Run – 1

  • 1 mile warm up @6.0 mph (10:00/mi)
  • 2 miles @6.6mph (9:05/mi)
  • 1 mile cool down @6.0 mph (10:00/mi)

Observations:  Since I didn’t keep going the whole time, I’m not sure if this was too fast for me or not? (I stopped/slowed down and stretched around mile 2 and 3.) I also realize that 4 miles might have been pushing it – I just ran my first 4 miler in awhile on Monday.

After the fact, I looked at Active.com and it appears what I did resembles their “Race-Pace Tempo”. I would love to run a 5K with an average pace of 9:05/mi, but is that asking too much of myself? I honestly don’t know if that goal sets me up to fail. I think it is worth a shot though!

Rewinding to Thursday morning…


Another great breakfast wrap, wrapped up to eat on the go. I attempted to get some photos to show how I “secure” my wraps for neat consumption. It is very hard to take pictures that include aluminum foil in a dark kitchen. Our kitchen doesn’t have any windows at all and while our adjacent dining room has a slider, it leads out to a covered patio – which provides no light! I can’t wait to have a kitchen with windows!

 photo 1photo 2

  photo 3 photo 4

This was just egg whites, spinach, sundried tomato, and feta.


I picked up a bag of small avocados on Sunday and they are finally starting to ripen. I think avocado adds a little something extra to a salad, and I know they are chock full of nutrients.

 photo 1

My salad contained baby spinach, tomato, leftover cooked mushrooms and onions, seasoned black beans, and raw corn. At lunchtime, I added half an avocado and some hot salsa!

Mid-afternoon, I enjoyed some huge red grapes that I stole from hubs’ stash. We picked up the organic ones this week, since they were on sale (and looked nice and crunchy), but I recently read that only imported grapes are on the dirty dozen. Maybe we should do a side-by-side taste test!?

photo 2

After work, I had dinner with my mom. I didn’t get any pictures, since she already thinks I’m weird 😉 I kind of wanted a veggie or greek calzone, but  ended up going with a grilled chicken sandwich with tomatoes, peppers, provolone cheese, and honey mustard. I should have just gotten the calzone, but 1) When I told my mom what I was getting she commented on my “veggie” choice and 2) I knew I thought I would eat the entire thing, since I was over hungry.

After dinner, we caught up a bit and talked over Grey’s Anatomy. We had a nice time, I really should make it a point to spend more time with her.

I love my mom, she’s one of my favorite people, but because we are so different I tend to get a bit defensive around her sometimes. When she was my age (27), she had a two year old and she has always been very conventional (if that’s the right word) – I’m probably years away from having kids, I can get up and do something at a moments notice, and I tend to question things most people just accept.

Something to talk about…

  • How do you incorporate speed work in your workouts?
  • Do you notice differences in your lifestyle compared with that of your parents when they were your age? How do you deal?
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2 Responses to Tempo Run – Take 1

  1. Leah says:

    I TRY to (try being the operative word here) do similar to you – 1 speedwork session, 1 short run, 1 long easy run every week. For speedwork, I don’t really care for tempo runs – I prefer track work like ladders but I’m a masochist.

    • Maybe I’ll give those a try to mix it up. I like the idea of getting a recovery lap in between. Back in HS when I played (JV) sports, I actually enjoyed speed drills…but I was also the kid who liked practice better than games/meets.

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