Me versus The 35 Minute “Tempo” Run

I won! But I didn’t know it until my run was over. I was in a physical and mental battle for the entire 35 minutes of this “tempo” run.

Why do I call it a “tempo” run?

Here’s the definition of a tempo run: Tempo runs are an excellent way for runners to build speed and strength. They are runs that are done at a steady effort level, usually just a little slower than your 10K race pace. Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic or lactate threshold, which is critical for running faster.

Here are my splits. Mile 1: 7:25 min/mile, Mile 2: 8:11 min/mile, Mile 3: 8:23 min/mile, Mile 4: 8:26 min/mile for an average pace of 8:08 min/mile.

So, there was nothing steady about this run. I kept a close eye on my pace throughout, and knew I was this close to beating my mile PR. And then I was even closer to my 5K PR. But I knew I didn’t quite make it and I was kicking myself for not trying just a little bit harder.

Here are a few things that I know I did wrong that made my body and brain revolt against me…

1. I skipped my morning and afternoon snacks
2. I bought a sandwich for lunch instead of packing my normal food fuels
3. I think I was super dehydrated
4. I hadn’t run since Saturday (woof!)
5. Yesterday’s strength training was legs and glutes and as a response, they were heavy

Here are the things that were beyond my control that worked against me…

1. Bugs. I ate 10-12 gnats. Another 5ish flew too close to my nose for comfort. 2 landed in my eyes. When I got home, I brushed maybe 10 off of my clothes and another 10 from my skin. Gag.
2. I had a stitch in my side for 1.5 miles
3. My iPod died (near the end, thankfully) *okay, maybe I had control of this
4. People and dogs were all up in my path

BUT, throughout the whole run, I kept reminding myself that I am a runner. I set a goal for myself and I was not going to fail. My body was not actually revolting against me. My mind was.

I took off too fast and paid for it during the rest of the run. I finished slow and strong, but I finished. I didn’t walk, I didn’t stop, I didn’t cry. (I wanted to cry.) I put myself through the mental wringer today.

Blair met me in the front yard because he loves me and was tracking me through our phone GPS. Safety first. I felt crummy and was waking during my cool down. I told him I was this close to my mile and 5K PRs and missed them each by less than 5 seconds. I hopped in the shower and tried to unwind. I pampered myself with my homemade sugar scrub and body butter and moved slowly for a few minutes, sulking.

He drove down the road to pick up amazing Italian takeout. I plugged my Nike+ into my computer and walked away for a glass of water. I came back to my computer and saw this…


I didn’t miss my PRs. I beat them. By myself. No Blair, no treadmill, no dogs. Just me and my legs and my brain. And I think the moral of this story is just keep swimming running.

Not every run will be a PR. If you don’t prepare, you can’t expect to do your best. But you’re doing something, and that counts for everything. So keep going.

Blair and I celebrated with Italian and wine and Grimm. I’m lucky to have him. One of my workout buddies commented on our relationship last night. We’re almost always at the gym together, and when I’m lifting, he turns around and grins at me from time to time. I make exhausted faces at him. We both keep going. My workout buddy said she could never work out with her husband nearby. I replied that he was what kept me going. And it’s true.

So here’s to us. We’ve been taking our fitness seriously for 3 months. We’re on fire and only getting better. And we still like each other. 😉


4 thoughts on “Me versus The 35 Minute “Tempo” Run

  1. I am SO impressed by you and your workouts and your posts!! I love them and reading them makes me smile!! I wonder if in 3 months I’ll be able to run even close to that! I hope so!!

    • Thanks Danielle! That means so much to me. I KNOW that in a few months you’ll be where you want to be. It still amazes me every day that with just a little bit of effort, our bodies adapt and respond in the way they should. Keep up the great work! 🙂

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