My first tempo run

On Tuesday morning I made the 4 hour drive home. Every time I make this trip, the colors of the trees get even prettier. Can’t wait to see them the next time I head back down to the coast.

After I got home I spent some quality time with Daisy, since she was stuck to me like glue for the rest of the day. I also caught up on some shows on the DVR. I watched Modern Family again because it is that funny and I always miss a few things the first time around.

I set my alarm to get up at 6:45am this morning so I could get in a couple of hours at the gym before the Commissary opened at 10:00. Daisy woke me up at 6:00 for food, so I fed her, turned off my alarm, and went back to sleep. Some days you just know that early morning gym session is not going to happen. I woke up at 8:30, ate breakfast, showered, and headed out to get some much needed groceries.

I ate lunch around noon and after letting that digest for a couple of hours I hit the road to try out my first ever tempo run. I did this one from

My half marathon pace is about a 9 min/mile so I planned on running 4 miles at that pace with a 1 mile warmup and cool down. When I started running my first mile, I felt like I was taking it slow, I even started talking to myself so I could judge my exertion based on the talk test.  Imagine my surprise when I hit mile one at 9:10, FAIL, I started out way too fast.

Once I started on my second mile, the wind was blowing against me and this made me run faster so I could reach the trees where the wind would stop hindering me. Mile 2 was an 8:27 pace, still running too fast, so I made a conscious effort to slow down. During my 3rd mile I started getting a strange pain in my upper calf and had to slow down even more. When I was getting close to hitting 3 miles I noticed that my pace was a 9:20 so I picked it up in hopes of getting my 9:00 minute pace (9:03). I pushed too hard and had to stop and walk for .20, but I was able to start running again and mile 4 was an 11:30 pace. By this point I figured my tempo run was shot so I just wanted to finish without walking again. I finished mile 5 at 9:07, finally a successful mile! My cool down mile was a 10:14, a lot better than my warmup mile.

Even though this tempo run wasn’t very successful, I did learn a lot from it.

#1. I might have been too ambitious for my first tempo run, I should have started with 2 miles instead of 4.

#2. My stomach needs longer than 2 hours to digest before a run.

#3. I need to learn to use my first mile as a warm up and not part of the tempo run, slow down!

I tried out my new Reebok compression socks on this run and I’m still undecided about them. My shins hurt during the first mile, which doesn’t usually happen. Then I had that weird pain in my upper calf about halfway through my run. Once that subsided, my legs felt great and when I got back from the run I didn’t have any soreness. I kept them on for after my run and my legs still felt great, but after I took them off and had a shower, I started to feel tightness in my calf muscles. I’m going to try them out again on my long run this weekend and see how I feel after that.

red faced and happy to be done

Have you ever tried a tempo run? How did it go?

Are you a morning, afternoon, or night runner?



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Suzanne
    Nov 14, 2012 @ 19:48:34

    Sorry the tempo run didn’t go as you’d hoped 😦


  2. Cait the Arty Runnerchick
    Nov 15, 2012 @ 01:08:34

    first of all u deserve a BIG congrats for trying ur first tempo run and getting after some speed type workouts. tons of people just don’t do them but stick with it because u WILL get better at them and they will really improve ur racing. 🙂 and u are point on for that last comment reply! i agree that u definitely should FORCE urself to take ur warm-up mile slower, and prolly even do a bit of a longer warm-up before u do ur tempo. that may also help u avoid those calf cramps, if ur muscles were warmer before u start going faster. regardless, excellent job out there and keep up the great work!


    • cczerwonka
      Nov 15, 2012 @ 08:34:04

      Thanks! I am definitely going to keep at it until I get it right. I have seen the benefits of speed work first hand, even though sometimes they are hard to get through.


  3. Rachel
    Nov 15, 2012 @ 16:34:14

    So, I’ve done half-hearted sprint workouts before, but how did you discover your “10-K pace” or whatever paces you decide to use in your tempo run? Is it just the pace you want for a 10K or one that you’ve actually run before?? Sorry if that sounds dumb…


    • cczerwonka
      Nov 15, 2012 @ 17:26:47

      No, not a dumb question at all. I used my half marathon pace from the race I ran in October. You can use your average pace from a previous race (if you have run one, you can take your finishing time and figure out your average pace) I have become spoiled with my Garmin that does all that for me. If you haven’t ever run a race, you could take the time you usually run the distance in and subtract 20-30 seconds per mile and that would probably be close to the pace you would run a race in. Also, if you have a goal in mind you could use that pace for your tempo run and that would help train your body to handle that pace for your race. I hope that makes sense and good luck!


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