Hi. Last week I started a 10-week training program for an upcoming 11.5 mile race. It is a relatively non-intense program, with 4 running days per week - a regular training run, a tempo or speed workout, a long run, and a recovery run - with the weekly mileage peaking at 33-35 miles. My question is how to tweak my pace in light of the trouble I'm having with the first couple tempo workouts. I'm doing the training runs at a 8:30 pace and the long runs slightly slower - 8:45. Those paces are comfortable. The tempo runs I have done, or attempted to do, at a 7:35 pace, but I'm having trouble completing them as written. In Week One it was two sets of 2 miles, and this week it was to be two sets of 2 1/2 miles. Last week I did the first set of 3200 meters but only 1600 meters in the second set (with a third set of 800); this week I did one set of 2 miles (rather than 2 1/2) and a second set of 1 1/2 miles (and a third set of 800 meters). I've set all of the above paces based on a relatively recent 5k of 21:35. I suspect my trouble with the speed/tempo runs so far has to do with a low mileage base, about 15 to 20 miles per week prior to starting the program. I have rested / jogged slowly, by the way, during the tempo workouts for a little less than half the time of the tempo set (about 6 minutes, for example, after a set of 2 miles at 7:35/mile).
In light of all of the above, any ideas about how best, or whether, to adjust my training would be welcome. I'm inclined to just slow down the tempo pace a little, maybe to 7:45/mile, and otherwise stick with the program. The race, incidentally, is a moderately difficult trail race, which I have little experience with. I likely will substitute some of the actual speed workouts, when I get to them, with hill work. Any ideas about that would be welcome too! Thanks very much!
A couple things to consider:
- If you've never done tempo runs before, it may take a few tries to adjust and get used to the pace and effort.
- You're probably doing the other runs a little too fast, which may leave you fatigued when the tempo run comes around. The "recovery run" in particular should be more like 9:30 than 8:30.
- 15 to 20 as a base probably doesn't have much effect, unless you've had a large jump in mileage going into this plan. THAT would have a big effect.
Look at the McMillan Running Calculator if you haven't: http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm
Thanks for your reply! I am doing the recovery runs at about 9:15; I forgot to put that in. I think you may be right about getting used to the pace and workouts in general. I raced (and trained) somewhat regularly several years ago, but for awhile I have been running more casually. Thanks again.
Pace calculators generally assume a base endurance and stamina so they are usually off 4-6% in cases like yours. that can mean a lot. back off the tempo runs to 7:50 pace. what you want to feel is the huffing and puffing effect and then back off just a little. that will be the right threshold pace for you right now. then you can slowly bring that pace down.
Good luck out there!
Have fun and get it done!
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