Hello, my name is Elizabeth, and I frequently run failed tempos.
Now that we got that out of the way ;)
Last nights tempo was another lack luster performance on my part. If I didn't have a history of these bad tempos last fall I suppose I would be worried, but the truth is I just ran arguably my second or 1st best race ever, 10 miles at 6:03 pace, and Tuesday I ran 5*1600 comfortably at 5:52ish pace. Reality is I am a better racer the longer I go, and I am good at grinding out a lot of miles at a moderately fast pace, even if for some reason that doesn't always show up for Thursdays planned attempt to do the same. So showing up last night and failing to be able to get my breathing under control, and feeling like each mile was 5 miles doesn't really have me too concerned, yet.
Last year most of the tempos that I didn't have issues were ones that I pushed back to Friday or ones where I had fallen apart at the track. I think maybe my body just needs a little more time between track and tempo to really feel good, does that mean I can't do the tempo even if I am not fully recovered, no, but it means I need to do a much better job mentally and be prepared for a much tougher effort than I think it should be. In my head last nights tempo with 4 miles at 6:20, 1 at 6:15, and 1 at 6:05 I should feel like am running between half marathon and marathon effort for the first 5 miles and the last mile should feel between 5k and 10k effort. Unfortunately I felt like I was alternating between 5k and mile race pace effort last night and the paces were bad. I typically stop looking at the watch when this happens because clearly seeing bad splits does nothing to boost your ego or to help with the effort. Despite ignoring the watch and changing over to effort I had to come to a complete stop several times last night just to get my breathing and heart rate under control.
Then starts the internal battle. Am I being stubborn? Should I quit and do this tomorrow? Is it better to get in 6 slower tempo miles now and move on or would it be better to back it off, recover another day and try again this weekend?
I go into each of these workouts assuming I will get it done. And when I start to really struggle I am always caught off guard despite this being a relatively common occurrence for me. I don't like to plan for failure so I don't go into the workout with a set plan for what to do if I just can't do the planned workout. Maybe I should change that strategy...
I do need to figure out some sort of back up plan for nights like last night where I am just killing myself but can't hit the pace. I seem to be really affected by terrain on my tempo runs, whether that is because I am still not fully recovered from Tuesdays track efforts, or if mentally I only have so much wherewithal for the week I am not sure. So I think the next few tempos I will be hitting the track, I can take out all the outside variables then and even take the Garmin out of the equation. I'm hoping having a flat surface with no worries about trusting the watch might be enough to keep the tempos on Thursday and hit the paces without issue.
6:36.24 (2 stops to catch my breath/regroup)
6:41.61 (one water stop)
6:23.75 (one regroup stop and one water stop)
(Time from stops not included in the mile splits, sadly!)
Staying positive. I had a great time with my running pals after the workout last night and on the way home was belting along with FF (who we are seeing in a month!!!). I am so grateful for my rocking speedy body and all the fast miles it has given to me this year.
"Getting good at starting over, Every time that I return, I'm learning to walk again, I believe I've waited long enough, where do I begin?"