Thursday, March 17, 2016

{week 4} Learning to master 'comfortably hard'

Post-tempo run happy high; I rocked it! 
Before starting this morning's run, I turned to Dana and Dani and said:
For the tempo part of the run you're supposed to run 'comfortably hard' which means you run hard enough that you FEEL like stopping but you don't NEED to stop. It's not an all out effort, it's not a's just hard. The purpose is to learn to comfortably run at faster paces.
And then I added:
 Of course, it sounds like I know what I'm talking about. But I really don't. I suck at tempo runs.
In the past, I've worried too much about hitting the right paces and staying in my pace range. I would set pace alarms on my watch. I think I would run too hard and burn myself out. Run hilly routes and not run by feel. I would psych myself out, thinking I couldn't run tempo pace. I run faster paces in races and yet somehow thought that I wouldn't be able to hit tempo.

To prepare for today's run, I googled 'tips for tempo runs'. All the articles and blog posts I read talked about running 'comfortably hard' and to run by feel. The one tidbit that resonated with me is to not look at my Garmin (or, actually, to not use it--yeah not ready to do that) and really truly go by feel.

And that's what I did. I totally rocked the tempo run. The goal for today was a 40 minute tempo run at 8:10 to 8:27/mile. My average pace was 8:14/mile and I ran 4.8 miles. (I did look at my watch, but only after running a mile or so and I had the display set to avg interval pace, not current pace). I'm nowhere near mastering tempo runs, but it sure feels great to run one that went according to plan!

Overall, training for the OC 1/2 Marathon is going well. This week marks our first recovery week in the plan. Totally needed it because last week I ran a total of 49.4 miles, my highest since Sept 2015 and coming back from injury. 

43 days until my first half-marathon in a year! *knock on wood* I'm feeling strong!


  1. Wow, you killed that tempo run! I think tempo runs are one of the hardest workouts and one of the workouts I dread most. I'm just like you - I get hung up on paces and look at my watch too much and then tense up and struggle a lot more than I should to hit what shouldn't be a super hard pace. I think you're right that the key is to run by effort and rely less on the watch!

  2. Great job! I need to work on committing to DOING tempo runs in the first place! Your perspective really helps. Thank you for writing about this!