Sunday 2/8/09 - 65 degrees and Tempo Running

So the weather seems to be a little bit schizophrenic, but I'll trade a 15 degree Tuesday for a 65 degree weekend any day! Tempo Running

A 1/2 marathon is not a dash.  If you're breathing hard after 2 miles, you're in trouble.  Racing 13.1 miles requires a sustained 80-90%-ish effort;  and not just a sustained effort, but an even paced effort.  The most efficient way to run a 1/2 marathon is an even/negative split.  (Meaning that your first mile is the slowest, your last mile is the fastest, and all the rest are about the same.)

Therefore the two most beneficial workouts for a marathoner are the long run and the tempo run.  The long run is beneficial for obvious reasons - and they are fairly straight forward: you run for a long time at a conversational pace.   There is a bit more variety in how you do tempo workouts, but the purpose of all tempo runs is to raise your anaerobic threshold.  Your what?  Basically, in lay terms, tempo runs improve your ability to run at a pace that is "almost really hard" for a long time.   (As a side note: training your body to go "pretty hard " for a long period of time, may actually decrease your ability to go "really hard" for a short period of time.  In other words its hard to be a marathoner and a sprinter at the same time.)

Tempo Intervals

If you are following the workout schedule, you started doing tempo intervals this week.  You ran for 1 mile at a pace that is about 35 seconds per mile slower than your 2 mile time trial, then you rested for 1 minute: (repeat 4-8 times).  These are great workouts becuase you can run faster than you can on a continuous tempo run, but they are not great race simulators because you know that you will have a 1 minute  rest after every mile -and  that's not how races work.

Continuous Tempo Runs

For 1/2 marathoners, a much more applicable type of tempo running is the continuous tempo run.   Physiologically these workouts improve your anaerobic threshold almost as well as tempo intervals, but mentally they refine your pacing skills and concentration.  This is what we are doing this week.

Get to the point, what are we doing this Sunday?

What we are doing this Sunday:

Note: Whenever we do a long tempo run, it will be on the greenway at Shelby because every 1/2 mile is marked.

Take your 3 mile time trial from last week and add 45 seconds per mile.  (This is a fairly conservative pace, so everyone should be able to hit these times.)

Then shuffle at least 1 mile (perferably 2)  to warm up, before hitting the greenway to run 4, 5 or 6 miles at tempo pace.  If you are feeling good, you can speed up the last mile or two.

Then, take in your fluids and calories that you have been bringing ever since you read my previous blog, and head out to get some java.

See you guys on Sunday !