Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Upping the tempo

I’d fallen behind a bit with my marathon training programme due to the old knee issues *yawn*, but although its royal knee-ness is not back to 100%, running doesn’t seem to be aggravating it and the physio said I was good to go so I’m trying to get back on track. Sunday’s hot and bothered 14 miles wasn’t a great start (although I did manage it at a reasonable pace considering the heat of the day) and I wasn’t feeling very confident about yesterday’s scheduled 6 mile tempo run.

I’ve kind of given up on the 4 hour schedule (that was never more than a pipe dream anyway) but thought I’d have a go at doing my tempo run at the pace dictated by the 4:15 schedule i.e. 9:20 to 9:25 pace. (I think the 8:45 tempo pace of the 4 hour schedule is a bit beyond me – I can manage that OK for 3 miles, maybe 4, but I didn’t think I could keep it up for 6 miles.)

I’m still lousy at pacing however and the first mile was too quick in 9:05, the second even more too quick in 8:54, oops. I was afraid I would slow down a lot in the second part of the run, particularly as that has a few more (slightly) uphill parts and the weather was still quite warm. Third mile was 9:09 and the fourth, which included a shortish but steepish hill where I was running at over 10 minute pace, was not surprisingly a slower 9:27. Back on the flat however my pace picked up to 8:57 in the fifth mile and a rather surprising to me 8:30 for the sixth – an overall average pace of 8:58. This is well speedy by my non-exacting standards and in fact gave me my fastest 10k time ever: 55:47, over a minute off my current PB! The pace felt OK, not overly difficult for me, although my heart rate was an average 169bpm which might tell a different story! (And up to 221bpm at one point, although I think that may have been a blip as it was just once, went straight back down again and was at a random not particularly demanding point of the run.)

Obviously I’m not going to be running anywhere near that pace in the marathon, though I’m still, as ever, befuddled about pacing and what time to aim for – maybe a few more long runs will give me a better idea – I know it’s the long runs I really need to be getting under my belt (what a weird phrase!) at this stage, and I’m behind where I should be in that regard. I still have at least 3 weekends before thinking about tapering, though, so I’m planning on a 17/18 and a couple of 19/20s. Hopefully that should be enough to set me up not too badly for 22 May.

Distance: 6.29 miles
Time: 56:27
Average pace: 8:58

2:25 (0.29 miles)


  1. It was the long runs that helped me understand. Our coach had suggested running a 10 min mile marathon based on previous 1/2 marathon times, but it soon became obvious that I couldn't maintain that pace for the distance and naturally drop to an average of 11 - on every long run! - If nothing else I've learnt the benefit of long runs from it!! :-)

  2. Well done on that. Sounds like a pretty spritely tempo run to me. I've just done one this morning. Only 4 of the 7 miles were done at tempo pace and they were way slower than that. And I'm not injured! (However, a full marathon is way beyond me as well!)