Training update and tempo runs

As you guys know, I am in the process of training for my first half marathon.  I thought that every few weeks I would do a check-in and let you guys know how it is going, the up’s and down’s and things that I have come across during the training.  I know a half marathon is no full marathon, but I thought it might help all of us!  For me, it will help to sit down and think about what I’m doing right vs wrong, also I’m sure I’m going to come across various things I don’t know and can gain some advice as well as hopefully give some too!

Right now I am only 3 weeks into my training schedule.  The first couple of weeks I basically have been doing all my runs just steady.  I did do sprints on the treadmill twice, but I think I should be doing these every week. Ugh. Another thing I’m going to start trying to incorporate into my training plan is tempo runs.  Surprisingly, I had never heard of tempo runs until my co-worker (who just ran a half marathon last week), asked me about my training plan and if I was doing them.  Well, maybe I have done them at some point during my cross country years but they weren’t known as tempo runs.  Or maybe they were and I just blacked out during them.  Or I wasn’t there because I was at a friend’s house eating brownies instead of doing the run.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

Tempo runs are essentially a long-ish run and are easy-moderate for about 15 minutes, and then move up to running a fast, and more uncomfortable pace.  You keep this up for three or so miles and then move back down into your easy pace to cool down for 15 minutes.  You aren’t running as fast as you would be in a speed workout, but you aren’t just strolling along, you should be running fast enough that you can’t hold a conversation and are breathing heavily.  I found a great article from Runner’s World which describes tempo runs and how to correctly do them.

So far, I have only done one tempo run and it was a cheater’s tempo run.  I ran 5 minutes at a slow pace, 5 minutes a little faster than normal, 5 at a fast uncomfortable pace, and then back down for 10.  But, since I only ran 5 minutes instead of a few miles at the fast pace, it really wasn’t long enough.  I’m planning to do one next week that is outside and I can get a better idea of how it will go and how hard they are.

As far as how I have been feeling, the longest distance I have run at once was 6 miles and breathing wise I was fine, although I kept the pace pretty slow.  I noticed a lot of knee pain and some foot pain.  That was last week.   This week, I have only run 3 miles paced and 3 speed, yet noticed some serious heel pain on Wed night/Thurs day.  My heel hurt even to step down on and I iced it most of the day Thursday.  I got made fun of quite a bit of work for the way I was walking/limping.  I decided to take Thursday as an unplanned rest day and went to Fleet Feet to get new shoes.  I have had my current running shoes for almost a year and have definitely had them for more than 400 miles which is usually the recommended running shoe life.   The guy helping me at Fleet Feet seemed to be really surprised I had waited so long to buy shoes…oops.

These are the new ones:

Hot pink, yessssss.  I also bought some gel’s/gu for when I increase my mileage.  I bought one GU in blackberry and one Honey Stinger.  We shall see which one works best for me.

I am planning to run a 5-miler today after work.  So far my heel is feeling ok so I hope it won’t be painful to run.   By the way if you are in the market for new shoes or any running gear really, I really recommend Fleet Feet.  Everyone is so helpful, they addressed all my questions and recommended certain things I could buy but never pushed anything on me either.

I was eyeing a really nice Garmin while I was there.  It would be nice to have one so I could get a better idea of my pace.  I want to buy one but they just seem so expensive and I’m not sure if it is worth it since for this race I am not going to stress about my time.

I also am in the market for some compression sleeves.  I get shin splints really easily and can feel them starting to come on so I think the sleeves will help.  I am totally lost as to which brand and all that.  Do you guys know of a good brand or use some that you like?

Last but not least, I got this article in my inbox the other day regarding running and different ideas for runner’s to switch it up so that their body doesn’t just plateau.  The article makes a lot of good points and gives ideas for switching from just doing a paced run all the time.  I know I am guilty of just doing the same old run over and over again, but I think I’m going to try to switch it up a little more from now on.

Off to do my 5 miler and then it’s the weekend!! Hard to believe that last week I was able to run in shorts and a tank top:

And now it is in the 30′s. Grrrrr.

Also, we have a giveaway coming your way sometime next week, so check back for it!!  Have a great weekend!!


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  1. Pingback: Your Questions About Interval Training Hill Sprints — Interval Training Running

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