08 July 2011

What does it mean when you almost 5K PR in the middle of your tempo run?

After kicking that PMS to the curb and getting more efficient support (I hope), I decided to tackle my tempo run last night...20 min/30 min/10 min....hr zones:  z2 /z3/z2 = around 141-154/154-160/141-154 based on my personal calculations.

But how fast was I supposed to be running?

I did all these calculations but don't have a heart rate monitor. I could just count my pulse periodically, but that seemed just too interrupting. So I needed a pace.

I looked up Rate of Perceived Exertion charts.... thanks, Patrick. And found that the appropriate heart rate translated into HARD. I recall this level of exertion from my rowing days... this heart rate zone we called Anaerobic Threshold, and it was my least favorite type of workout for years. It hurts. And it hurts for longer than you want to hurt. But unlike race pace, you can do it again. And now as a runner, I love this workout ... in theory.

Still needing to pick a target pace, I remembered that my blogger friend Danny at one point made a remark about "being able to repeat the workout at that same pace"... totally out of context, Danny, I know, I know... but bear with me :)

I figured that doubling 30 minutes would yield about a 10K, so I should use a projected 10K pace time based on that timed mile I ran last month. Using the Mcmillan Running Calculator, this gave me a per mile pace of 8:33 (which happens to be very similar to what Jill mentioned the other day). This made sense because a 10K is HARD. But if you run a 5K at 10K pace, you should be able to repeat it immediately :)

For some reason, I was scared. But I just reminded myself... what's the worst thing that could happen? Oh, right... I could be slower than I had hoped. I could crash and burn. And I would learn from that. So I shelved my anxiety, and I went ahead...

The first 20 minutes were completely consistent at 10:20 pace... which felt agonizingly slow... but I stuck with the plan. About 2/3 of the way through the 3rd lap I kicked into the HARD part. If you are new here, I usually run 0.75-mile laps... so keep that in mind when reading my splits. I settled into something that was slightly uncomfortable... if you can truly settle into uncomfortability. Here is what followed starting at the next lap mark:

lap #4  ... 6:28.95  (8:40 pace)
lap #5  ... 6:24.37  (8:32)
lap #6  ... 6:21.06  (8:28)
lap #7  ... 6:14.82  (8:20)
the little bit from my mailbox to a tree halfway around the block that marks 0.1 mile + 47.61  (8:00)
which yielded a 5K time of 26:16 (just 4 seconds slower than my "return to running" PR set in March)
the HARD continued for another 58 seconds and then...

I returned to that slower pace... the last 10 minutes were run at 10:30 pace.

Honestly, I probably ran it a little faster than I should have, but I felt great. I would have liked to run that last 10 minutes at a little perkier pace and with a little more spring in my step... I was having to work for that 10:30.

Half-marathon training feels so much different to me than marathon training. When I trained to run a marathon, it was all about building the endurance ... putting in the miles... and if some speed came, well, awesome. But I have picked a goal time for this half. And yes, I need to bank some miles but I also want to be sort of fastish. I'm not sure I am digging the self-imposed pressure :P

And how did the Seven Wonders work out? The jury is still undecided. It did what it was supposed to do, I think. Not so sure if it was comfortable... or if I am just used to my immobilizing, truss-like set up. I'll keep you posted.


  1. Whether you ran too fast or not comes down to how quickly you recover. How do you feel today? If you feel good and could go out and do a recovery run easy enough you didn't run too fast, IMHO.

    And BTW you didn't run too slow either. Because if you feel good today, you now have a baseline in which to work from.

    The foundation has been set. Time to build.

  2. I was looking at this yesterday...kind of helpful:


  3. Wow-kudos for all that forethought! :) Awesome pace-glad it felt good! You keep it up and you'll smash your time goal-and feel fabulous doing it!

  4. I for one am excited to train for a Half PR I will lose weight and feel speed. GOOD WORK!! No go sign up for a 5K and crush it!!

  5. I want to become a runner ... kudos to you for being able to!!

  6. The whole time I'm reading this, I was thinking, "Didn't I give her some numbers to shoot for??" :)

    Very happy for you that it all came together; now if we can figure out how to bottle up this joy so when we have a bad one run day, we can just open the bottle and all is good :).

  7. Nice job!!! I say you got more benefit from speed confidence with this run than running it slower and being perkier in the last 10 minutes. 4 seconds slower than your PR in training is pretty freakin' awesome!!

  8. Good for you!! You rock :)

  9. I think it means you're getting awesome! Good job...definitely a confidence builder!

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