Friday, July 27, 2012

Tempo Run, Run Fast for Fun and Heart Rate!

Yesterday, I did my first tempo run in what feels like way too long with Ashley.  Recently, I've run a few 5ks and a 10k races, so have used those for my weekly speed work, rather than alternating between mile repeats, tempo runs, etc.  Racing and doing a tempo run are very different.  When I'm racing, I'm giving it everything I have and am pushing myself to the limit.  We ran our tempo run (7.6 miles for me, with 5 miles of tempo), around 8 min/mile, which felt great!  We were pushing ourselves, but I never reached the point of I-really-want-to-stop-every-step like I often always do in races.  I had forgotten what it was like to run faster, but without completely burning yourself out!  Also, I'm not sure that I've ever run a tempo run with someone else before.  It made it so much more fun! All day yesterday, I kept thinking back to this run and loving it!  

I like to run fast.  (Who doesn't?!)  But I also don't necessarily like it to feel on-the-verge-of-too-fast.  In other words, I like to be able to sustain my pace without feeling like I'm going to crash.  I've had a few people ask me recently how to get faster.  Sorry to say, but the ONLY way to make a significant improvement is to practice running faster- i.e. interval repeats and/or tempo runs.  If you're not already incorporating speed work into your weekly runs, I encourage YOU to go try a tempo run.  Warm up for a mile or two, then try pushing the pace for 1-2 miles to start, then cool down for another mile or two.  You don't have to run at a 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 min/mile pace.  Just whatever is fast for YOU! And not all-out sprinting either.  Just a pace that is faster than normal, but where you would be able to still carry on some sort of conversation.  (Maybe try 30 seconds faster per mile and see how that feels.) Then be proud of yourself for running faster, and have FUN running fast!  There's something about doing a tempo run (at the right pace for you) that makes you feel like you could keep it up all day!  Enjoy it, and enjoy getting faster in return!

In addition to an awesome tempo run yesterday, I wore my heart rate monitor for the first time ever!  My boyfriend got me my Garmin for my birthday last September (boy does he know how to win my heart!  This pastry that he just brought home for me doesn't hurt either....) 

Drool.....  Oh wait, are we still talking about running?  Okay, back to my Garmin... it came with a heart rate monitor.  I immediately said "well, I'll probably never wear this" and put it in a box.  The last few weeks seem to be all about heart rates.  First I read Dorothy's post on heart rates (she is SUCH an inspiration, btw), then saw this video of a day in the life of Meb Keflezighi while marathon training. 

Okay, let's not compare ourselves to him because he's just out of this world, and I can almost guarantee that my resting heart rate will never be 37, like his.  Then Ashley posted about using her heart rate monitor.  She mentioned to me that she was going all the way back to NJ just to get her Garmin so she could use her heart rate monitor.  Since all I had to do was walk to my bedroom and pull mine out of the box I put it in nearly a year ago, I decided to test it out.  After 10 jumping jacks, my heart rate was already 25 bpm higher than Meb's after a 12 mile tempo run.  Oh wait...did I say not to compare ourselves to him? Hmm...

Anyway, yesterday morning, after rolling out of bed at 6:15am (the earliest I've EVER gotten up to go for a run! Yay!) I was curious enough about my heart rate that I decided to test it out on my tempo run.  

I calculated my max heart rate to be between 191-198, based on these two different ways to calculate it:
#1: Subtract your age from the number 220 (for men) or from 226 (for women).   For me, 226-28=198

#2: Subtract half of your age from the number 205. For me, 205-14=191

Here are the results:

(The first dramatic dip is when I met Ashley, and the other two are from stopping for water) The average of 161 puts me at about 75-80% of my max heart rate (but does incorporate my warm up and cool down).  I know VERY little about heart rate monitors, where your heart rate should be, etc. but I've read that 80-85% of your max heart rate is a good starting place for tempo runs, so I was just about right on with that!  I'll continue to use it and will continue to update as I learn more/gain more experience with it!

Here are the splits from this run:

It took us a while to get into the tempo portion of the run during mile 3, but once we got there, we stuck to our pace pretty well!

Can't wait for my next tempo run!  I'll definitely be sure to get back into incorporating these into my training.  And hopefully running them with friends to keep them fun!

Do you do tempo runs?  Do you like them?  Do you wear a heart rate monitor?  Do you have a good site with lots of information about it that you want to share with me?!

1 comment:

  1. All of this HR monitor talk is reallyyyyy making me wish I had bought my Garmin WITH it. I had the 305 for 2 years and never took the HR monitor out of its plastic packaging (and then recently gave it to a friend). May need to invest!

    Great tempo run! I like tempos, they are fast enough to make you feel like you're working but not too fast (ugh speedwork) where you feel like DYING.