Last night was a 7 mile tempo run. If you've been following me for more than a week, you know I HATE tempo runs. Hate hate hate hate them. They tend to make me feel like a failure as a runner and I have to keep reminding myself how far I've come.
Last night's run was to consist of a one mile warm-up, 5 miles at between 9:13 and 9:53 minutes/mile and then a one mile cool-down. However, once I was running the warm-up I decided to try something a little different.
After my warm-up mile (at 5.5 MPH), I bumped the treadmill up to 5.8 MPH. Then I slowly increased the speed by two-tenths of a mile every so often.
It ended up looking like this:
Mile 0-1: Warm-up
Mile 1-2: 5.8 MPH
Mile 2-3: 6.0 MPH
Mile 3-3.5: 6.2 MPH
Mile 3.5-4: 6.4 MPH
Mile 4-5: 6.2 MPH
Mile 5-5.5: 6.1 MPH
Mile 5.5-6: 6.0 MPH
Mile 6-7: Cool-down
Now, if I did my math right, the 5 tempo miles averaged out to 6.1 MPH. Which, translated to treadmill speed, comes out to somewhere between 9:43 and 10:13 minutes per mile (depending on which treadmill speed converter you use and the incline of the treadmill).
Which means that while I didn't do the miles at the exact speed indicated in my training plan, I did them faster than I normally run on the treadmill AND I did them without stopping. That's a first for a tempo run.
My tempo run hatred is definitely a mental block combined with the fact that I like to vary my pace somewhat when running hard. Being able to count down to a speed helped me avoid both the mental block and the lack of varying pace. I'll definitely try this tactic again for my next tempo run and I'll probably even try speeding it up a little bit more.