My wife Joan is training for a half-marathon she'll be running in January. She's done a couple of these before, but this time she's planning on setting a PR. We got a nice program for her which gives her about 17-weeks to get ready from this point. Today was going to be her first tempo run. We were to meet at the track at about 11:40 this morning.
As I blathered on for about 5 paragraphs yesterday, I was not feeling great about my upcoming Tempo run. The reason can really be boiled down to one simple statement I made yesterday:
". . . knowing how I approach these things, regardless of what I tell myself, I know once it's time to run I'm going to put that peddle down somewhere in the first 2-miles leaving me an absolute bear of a 3rd mile. . ."
When I arrived at the track I saw the football groundskeeper was working on the field. The issue was that his John Deere was sitting in lanes 1 and 2 somewhere around the 50 yard line. Meaning, that every single lap I was going to need to swing out into lane-3 and then come back in. I thought, "great, just what I need, an extra few yards every lap".
I finished my warm up and stretching before Joan arrived, which worked out pretty well. I'd do my run during her warm up and then I'd be able to run my cool down along side her for her last 2-miles when I was sure she'd rather not be going around the oval over and over again by herself.
My plan was to run the first mile in about 6:05 and then ramp it down to about 6 flat and see how it went from there - but like I said, I know how I run these things, and I knew deep down that there was no way I'd see a mile time starting w/ a 6 unless I got into trouble. As I passed the John Deere on the first lap (about 150m in) I took a look down to see that my pace was somewhere in the 5:35 area - need to slow down. I managed to correct the pace and I hit the first mile in 5:58. (which was the EXACT pace I hit in the first cruise interval last week) I held steady for the first half of the second mile and at that point I started thinking "when is this going to get uncomfortable - can I make it to the 3rd mile before it starts to become a problem?"
The answer was "yes". Second mile split was 5:55 - the EXACT same time as my 2nd cruise interval last week! Wow, this is a carbon copy of last week so far - but this time I'm NOT getting the 1-minute breaks between miles. A quick check of the HR showed 167 - not too bad, only a tick higher than the max HR of the 2nd interval last week.
Now on to the tough part - the last mile. Last week, after another 1-minute break I hit a 5:51 to close things out. I figure no way I can do that here, I'm just looking for another sub-6. I started to feel it during the 2nd lap of the last mile, but just like last week it wasn't too bad. I felt like I was holding the pace pretty well, and with about 600m to go I started picking it up just a bit. I really didn't look at the watch for the final 2-laps, but when I crossed the finish and saw my time of 17:44, I quickly realized that my last mile split was, you guessed it - 5:51.
I had run the EXACT same times for the each of the three miles in both workouts - but unlike last time where I got a 1-minute break between each mile - this time it was straight thru! First thought at that point was to go check the heart rates - how much harder did I work to get that? I was quite surprised by the result, ave/max HR for each mile:
Cruise Intervals last week: 155/162, 161/166, 164/167
Tempo Run this week: 154/164, 166/167, 167/169
Of course the average HR of the 2nd and 3rd miles will be higher during the Tempo run because I'm not starting from a 130 HR or so like I am in the intervals - but the max HRs are very similar on those last 2-miles, meaning I really didn't work much harder at all! That was quite a surprise. Needless to say, finishing a 3-mile run in 17:44 felt pretty good!
Of course, when it was time for my wife to do her run the groundskeeper had finished up and was out of the way. (yes I had to run around that damn thing 12 times!) She did very well and ran each mile faster than the last. We're going to monitor her paces and HRs closely the first couple of weeks and make any necessary adjustments, but so far so good.
Tomorrow's supposed to be an off day for running, but I may sneak out and get in an easy 5-miles in the afternoon.
9/17: 7-miles including 3-mile Tempo Run in 17:44 (5:58, 5:55, 5:51)