Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Run That Got Me Thinking...

I did my first ever TEMPO run on Friday!

Here's what happened.

Apparantly, my alarm has been set incorrectly all week (for P.M. instead of A.M.), but I typically wake up 10-20 minutes before my alarm because I have a spastic brain -- so Mon-Thurs I turned the alarm off before it was set to go off.

Friday morning, drained from the work week and some family drama, I never awoke on my own.  And my alarm never went off.  I woke up an hour late for my daily pre-work endorphin fix with the Gentleman's alarm.

I got outta the house in record time, and knowing I had less time than normal (usually in the realm of 90 minutes) but tons of energy to burn (the family drama gave me that feeling where you need to RUN out some feelings) I decided to do an impromptu treadmill workout instead of the easy elliptical+magazine deal I usually do on Friday mornings.

Gotta get my Bieber fix somehow.

This is more like it.  I'm 3-4 issues behind because I've been neglecting the elliptical for a few months.

I hopped on the treadmill and skipped the warm-up cause I was buzzing to go.  I pumped it up to 8.7 mph (6:53 min/mile) and spent the entire next 60 minutes between 8.7 mph and 8.8 mph (6:48 mph).  I finished with 8.73 miles in one hour.  Yum!

Now what is a tempo understanding is that you more or less run race pace for an hour, or 5 miles, or something like that.  Maybe you're supposed to run faster than race pace.  Who cares.

But lets pretend you are supposed to run race pace.  So let's suppose that 6:53/6:48 min/mile is my "race pace".  Do you see where this is going??? Some of you might.  Some of you probably don't.  Here's where I'm going.

6:52 min/mile ---------->>>>>>> THREE HOUR MARATHON.

To be precise, I think the idea is to get a 2:59:59 marathon (or anything starting with a TWO), so one of those 26 miles has to be 6:51 to fit the bill, nadda mean?

I will surely tackle the 3-hour marathon one day.  I was 89% certain leading up to CIM that I wasn't ready for it -- I wasn't ready mentally, nor training-wise, and especially not hip wise.

3:05:08, 7:02 pace by my Garmin

Not yet ready to dip under the 3 hour mark

I'm still not ready for it -- especially not hip-wise.  (This is making me think of "Samwise".  Lord of the Rings, what what).  But, I do think I'm mentally getting there.  Knowing that a 3:05 was not miserable -- fun even -- and was done with some body problems, I have the confidence that a 2:59:59 is totally attainable with this body, brain, and work schedule I've currently got.

And, this 8.7 mile "race pace" run this morning was totally comfortable! I have no idea why.  I've done a pretty bad job of getting in speed stuff in since December 4th 2011 (marathon day).  I've been keeping it cool, just running whatevs.  So if I can handle that pace now for about 9 miles, surely I can handle for 26 with some good hard work?

But for a dose of humility, during my easy/lazy noon run on Saturday, I didn't hit 8.7 miles until nearly 75 minutes -- almost 2 min/mile slower than my treadmill tempo run!  Most days of the week I'm very much an average runner.

Anyhow, I will be keeping my ear/eye open for a good marathon this year.  Part of me wants to wait until next December and do CIM again.  Part of me wants to tackle something this spring.  And part of me wants to get on a plane to Chicago in October (especially for the tourism factor, because the massive number of runners there FREAKS ME OUT). 

But first, figure out the hip.  I keep meaning to freaking make a physical therapist appointment, but you know, work and other stuff takes over.  So figure that out.  Plan A.

The 2:59:59 is on my radar.  Just so you know. :)

Please share any tips -- as to tempo runs or any other great training runs -- that I can put in my pocket to help reach a sub-3 hour marathon this year.  Or next year.  Or just some day.


  1. As a sub three hour marathoner myself, I have many suggestions for you.

    Uh just kidding. But I do have a friend who dropped like a half hour off her marathon time in a year (think she just ran a 2:55 in houston), so maybe she'd have some good tips. Let me know.. although I haven't talked to her in a while so hopefully she'd respond. haha.

  2. Get thee to PT :) Get that hip working FOR you :)

    It's there ... that sub-3. You have just have to set it up and then let it out :)

    Sorry to hear about the family drama :(

    Oh, and it is not only okay but in some plans recommended to run your long training runs significantly slower than race pace. Significantly.

  3. Oooh come to Chicago! I'm planning to run the Chicago Marathon - it will be my first ever - and it's a pretty great town! I'm probably biased, but, whatever.

  4. I am no help in the speed department but I will attest to the mental side of things! I'm working on my redemption marathon since my first one completely sucked - not only was my training less than awesome, but I was mentally gone before I even got to the expo. Having that mental game is so darn if you keep that going I think you'll do awesome!

  5. I've only ever run for an hour solid at 8.0mph increasing to 9 and 10 for the last 5 minutes, and that was HARD despite it being about right for my half marathon PR. 8.8 or above the whole time would have me as a puddle of sweat on the floor.

    I have no doubt you'll smash your 3:00 goal - in terms of timing it's probably better to wait until the hip issue is resolved?


  6. You know, the only thing my coach has mentioned to me about his sub-3 hour marathoners is that it took them months and months of running 100ish miles per week and pretty much doing 20-23 mile runs every weekend. If your body can take it, you are so there. You're totally going to do it.

  7. You can dooo it!!! You're one of those people who can accomplish anything they set their mind to, and since you are setting your mind to that I know you will make it happen. And I'm going to be so freakin proud of you when you do.

    p.s. hope the family drama isn't too bad... Let me know if you need to talk!

  8. I'm pretty certain I've never even MET anyone who has run a sub-3 hour marathon, so for advice look elsewhere. But for general, positive encouragement? I'm your gal! Go you!

  9. It seems like most female sub-3 efforts happen subsequent to a couple years of consistently high mileage -- paired with managing to avoid major layoffs due to injury. Looks like you already have the mileage part down... now it might just be a matter of getting that hip under control. I don't have any suggestions about tempos or any of that smart physiological lactate neuromuscular blah blah blah, but I wonder what you'd be capable of in a marathon where, for once, you aren't hindered by pain.

    As someone with screwed up hips (prone to hip dysplasia; lots of muscular problems around my iliac crest back in high school), I decided to take some preventative measures and introduced some simple "myrtl routine" exercises to the end of my runs. It has REALLY helped my hip situation, to the point that I don't have any problems at all right now. Doing a Google search for Jay Johnson's myrtl routine might be worth your while.

    You are really strong already, so the difference between 2:xx:xx and 3:00 might be as simple as getting to the starting line pain-free.

  10. WAAAAA!! You are amazing and I can't wait for you to get a sub-3! Seriously, I know you can do it. That tempo run is proof!!!

    (And I too struggle with how to officially do tempo runs... although the other day I ran 7.96 miles in one hour which is like FLYING for me, so I think I can call that a tempo??? I never run that fast normally! And man I was kicking my own ass for not getting up to 8 in that one hour.)

  11. Hey RR! If you are thinking of an October marathon, then enter the lottery for the St. George Marathon. It's October 1st and the course has a net downhill of 2000ft. On this course you could easily break 3hrs. Heck you could run a 2:50 on that course. Registration is super cheap for a marathon $80-$85. They cap this race at about 7,000 runners so, it’s a large marathon but, not super huge. Here's a link to the race...
    Sorry to hear about family drama. Hope things get better.

  12. DANG WOMAN!! WAY TO GO!! You have that sub 3 hour marathon, I know it!

  13. That is an amazing treadmill run! And, no sub 3 hour marathon tips from me. I was giddy finishing up 4 miles on the treadmill in 45 minutes today. ;-) I will say, since I'm recovering from an injury myself - give yourself way more time than you (and likely) the doctor originally expect. If you're ready early, awesome. If you set the bar too high too fast, it's ridiculously frustrating.

  14. You have it in you to finish sub-3. I agree with the others to get that hip better so that you will be 100% at your next race :) You are one heck of a runner girl!

  15. I think every post I saw this, but you are an insane runner. I have no real tips on trying to get you through that 3 hour marathon barrier - the main thing that comes to mind is maybe doing some longer ish interval runs (1 mile at 6:30, 1 mile at 7:30, and then repeat that for like 20 miles). That run would probably be a killer.

    Or do a run where you warm up and run easy for 3 miles, then at 6:30 pace for 7 miles, then back easy for 3 miles. No idea if these runs actually make sense, but seems like kicking up the intensity a bit higher than goal pace in some miles (but not too many since you don't want to get injured) will help get your body used to running this fast the whole race. I guess just make sure that whatever faster pace you decide to run that your body is ready to run it.

    And running a downhill marathon in Utah like Dolly says above may be your way to break 3 hours too - though Utah is higher elevation, so maybe the downhill will be cancelled out by being higher up. Seems like a lot of people run PRs at St George.


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