Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ways to Screw Up Your Tempo Run, If You Must.

I learned two things last Wednesday, which were 1) I currently have a *terrible* sense of pacing and 2) maybe don't just jump straight back into squats after a week and a half off, at least not with the same amount of weight.

I knew things would have to get shuffled around this week due to work travel. Basically I had no time on Monday or Tuesday to do anything but fly to LA, work well into the evening, get my plane home delayed 4.5 HOURS but at least manage to get rebooked on a different flight only 1.5 hours later and fly home. Oh, and turn 35. (I did mention how I spent my 35th birthday alone at the Hampton Inn, right? Good times!) So even though I don’t normally run on Wednesdays because of karate, I planned to leave a little early to try to get in a run.

Leading up to the 10K a couple weeks back, I’d skipped my squats and deadlifts so that my legs would be fresh, and then just due to some travel stuff Wednesday was the first day I got back to them. Now, I cannot explain it, but for some reason my foggy 6am brain decided that a GREAT idea was to jump right back into doing THE SAME AMOUNT of squats at THE SAME WEIGHT after 1.5 weeks of doing none.

Lolololol no.

I am not kidding that I was getting up and down like an old person for the rest of the day.

But back to that run I had planned for between work and karate!

Logistically, I really needed to do either my tempo run or track workout that day. I would’ve preferred the track, but I just knew there was no freaking way in Hades I was busting out 200m repeats in my current state. The tempo workout, on the other hand, seemed pretty reasonable, just a 2 mile warm-up, 4 miles at 7:40 pace, & a 2 mile cool down. Even given my current level of fitness (not great), 7:40s should feel like work, but only a little work.

Lolololol no.

My quads felt like hamburger meat. Like, think last 6 miles of a marathon. I mean to be honest I was expecting worse, but it was still pretty bad.

On top of this, I was relying on my watch more than usual to keep the pace because I am so out of practice at doing it by feel. And since GPS in my area is apparently just shit now for reasons I don’t understand, I ended up running the four tempo miles significantly faster than I should have, which of course made them feel even harder.

Notice how none of those numbers is 7:40.

That first mile was particularly bad, because it was uphill. Taking this into consideration, I was shooting for 8:00ish instead of 7:40 and feeling pretty depressed when I felt like I was working pretty hard and my watch was showing 8:10-8:15. So yeah, I was pretty pissed when it auto-lapped and I saw 7:36. It wasn’t quite as bad with the other three, but still, it’s annoying to have your “instantaneous pace” field vacillating between 7:40 & 7:50 & then auto-lap 10+ seconds faster.

(This is why I really do prefer to do workouts by feel/effort rather than getting glued to the watch, but I’m really out of practice at that right now, so I don’t know what else there is to do.)

So, yeah. Hoping to get some less annoying, more encouraging pace workouts in next week!


  1. I wish I could blame watch issues on my terrible tempo runs recently but usually I only encounter problems at the beginning of my run when I'm near taller buildings and have to run under a few bridges and overpasses. Once I'm at the trail the GPS is usually fine. I think I'm really bad at running by feel and also really bad at running when it's over 65 degrees outside, which is problematic for someone who lives in TX.

  2. My watch's instantaneous pace is nowhere near accurate either. I can be running sub-5 and it'll be telling me 5:30. I just don't bother looking unless it's at the end of the lap. That's harder to do when you've got particular paces that you're supposed to be hitting.

  3. I'm a big fan of the average lap pace data field. Much better than the instantaneous pace.