The tempo run.
It is by far my most feared run, but it is also the most rewarding. I’ve talked to a few others who feel the same way, so I know for the most part I must not be alone!
Hansons method has one tempo run per week. You start with 6 miles and increase by 1 mile every 3 weeks. I just had my first 7 mile tempo Tuesday.
Tempo runs are tricky. I believe that along with speed work, they are one of the most important runs in your training schedule when you have a specific time goal. Not only do they help build confidence but they allow your body to learn the pace.
Here are a few tips for your tempo run that I have found helpful, and some that I am even still trying to work on.
One Mile at a Time
This can be applied to many different runs, but when it comes to tempos is so important. Don’t focus that you have “x” number of miles to go, instead focus on getting through one mile at a time.
If you truly focus on the mile you are in, you will be at the end before you know it. Don’t think ahead, it’s really hard but it can make the biggest difference mentally.
If my husband reads this, he will probably either be laughing or shaking his head. I can’t tell you how many times he said “relax” to me on my Tuesday tempo.
It’s something that I still am working on, but the moment you start to panic is the moment that you will mentally check out. Focus on the here and now, relax your shoulders, relax your body and just get to the next time. It may seem odd to think about relaxing during a tempo, but if you can train your body too it will make all the difference.
Don’t Be Pace Obsessed
Pace is important in a tempo; I don’t think anyone will be surprised at that. However, it is easy for us to get so obsessed with the pace that we are either checking our watching every 3 seconds (guilty) or if we are a few seconds off we start to panic.
A few seconds off on a mile doesn’t make that much of a difference. It can be easily made up and it can simply be because of a hill, turn around, or wind. There is a lot of factors that go into your pace, so don’t obsess if you are a few seconds off.
“Feel” the Pace
One of the important parts of a tempo run is your ability to feel the pace. This is one of the main reasons I try to do every tempo run (weather permitting) outside.
Your ability to learn what the pace feels like will help you a lot when it comes to race day. It also enables you to look less at your watch and focus on running off of feel and effort. Looking at your watch is important to make sure you’re staying on pace but you should learn to feel it.
It’s Going to Be Hard
This is one of the things that surprised me the most when I first started training a year ago for my BQ. I knew it would be challenging, but I didn’t expect it to be so hard.
Some days it felt easier and some days it felt like death. When you start training you aren’t there yet, so it will take time. Have faith in the training and know that it will pay off!
Warm Up and Cool Down SLOW
I have a bad habit of going out too fast. I even do this on my warm up and cool downs. I go too quickly and soon realize I’m having trouble.
On the warm up especially you don’t want to use any more energy than necessary. Start slow and try to keep your heart rate relatively low. Just focus on getting your legs into it and ready to start. The same goes with your cool down. You’ve worked hard and now it’s time to relax and cool your body and heart rate down.
Tempo runs can be one of the biggest confidence builders but also the most frustrating when you don’t hit it. You won’t hit it all the time, and that’s okay. Focus on one at a time and soon you will discover it isn’t quite as hard anymore!
Do you enjoy tempo runs?
What’s a tip you have for your tempo runs?