Betcha can't guess what kind of training run I did today =)
I awoke to -yet again- another morning of rain and cold temperatures (Seriously, Charlotte, get back to Spring!). I ate my warm oatmeal/almond butter breakfast on the couch with my dog and a blanket- that seemed to make things happier. Since I had the morning off (didn't have to go into work until after lunch) I was pretty lazy but did manage to get to the gym by 9:00 for my 45 minute tempo run.
I didn't know what a tempo run was until I read Hal's description in his half-marathon training plan. And even that was a little scant. But Runner's World does a great job describing what a tempo run is and about a bazillion different articles. This one is particularly helpful. Let me see if I can summarize:
The tempo run helps your body (and psychi) to understand and maintain a faster speed over a longer distance. Basically, this training makes your body use your oxygen more efficiently. Working muscles (such as running) creates lactic acid to build up. The lactic acid waits for your body to bring in oxygen to carry it away (metabolize it). If you have more lactic acid than your body can metabolize, you've passed your lactate threshold. That's why you get sore after a harder than normal run- there's lactic acid left over in your muscles. Tempo runs help you to raise your lactate threshold (in other words, your body uses oxygen more efficiently to metabolizes the acid faster).
So back to the gym: I situated myself on the treadmill, threaded my earphones through my shirt (gggaaaaahhh I need wireless headphones!!), started the belt and pushed play on Sir Nike+. I did a 10 minute warm up around 5.5 mph, then spent the next 10 minutes getting up to 6.5 and held it for 10 minutes, then gradually cranked it up to 7.0 (5 minutes), held 7 mph for 5 minutes, then jogged a 5.5 mph cool down for 5 minutes. I think that equals 45 minutes?? So...
10 minutes @ 5.5
10 minutes speeding up to 6.5
10 minutes @ 6.5
5 minutes speeding up to 7
5 minutes @ 7
5 minutes @ 5.5
Thrilling, no? =) I most definitely felt challenged for the 5 minutes I was going "balls to the wall!" The workout resulted in 4.78 miles in 45 minutes.
Runner's World Pace Calculator claims that for this pace and speed, my projected half marathon time would be 2:11. Le sigh....
For the readers out there: have any song suggestions for hot and heavy runs where you *almost* feel like you're about to puke your guts out? I'm making a 'balls to the wall' playlist...
And yes, I've said "balls to the wall"