Chanman's Blog


A long tempo workout

Posted in Coaching,Pamakid Runners,Training Thoughts by Andy Chan on January 19, 2010
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With many of the Pamakid runners that I coach training for the upcoming Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon, this was the perfect chance to try out this long tempo workout that I’ve been wanting to try.

The workout is modeled after something I read that the Hanson’s do (http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=12151). Two weeks before a marathon, they do 2 X 6 miles at ten seconds per mile faster than marathon pace with a ten minute walk/jog in between. Since we aren’t elite runners and the goal race is 13.1 miles, not 26.2 miles, I took the liberty of adjusting it accordingly.

So the Pamakids workout on MLK Day was 2 X Lake Merced (4 1/2 miles). The goal on the first lap around the lake was to run goal half marathon pace. Then it would be a seven minute rest before going for a second trip around the lake. But, on the second lap, the pace would be five seconds per mile faster.

In total, it was nine miles of “tempo running.” So not only a good physical workout but a good mental one, too. Knowing you have completed a challenging workout like this is bound to pay off come race day.

This would also test if your current goal pace is realistic/accurate. If you feel exhausted after 4 1/2 miles at goal pace, it’s not very realistic that you can hold it for 13.1 miles. But if the pace feels pretty comfortable and you can pick it up and run slightly faster at the end of nine miles of running, it should be a real confidence boost that you are ready for a good half marathon.  For some, you may find your goal pace is too conservative because you easily picked up the pace (more than five seconds per mile) on the second lap. 

Studying the mile splits from this workout can give you some insight into how you are running. Starting too fast, slowing down too much in the middle, and speeding up a lot at the end are all common errors and the mile splits will let you know you should change your ways.    

That was the plan, at least.  The rain/storm that hit during the workout made conditions pretty rough (the photo above of Denis finishing his second lap around Lake Merced does not do the wet conditions justice!). Still, I think the twelve hearty souls who came out for the run got a good tester workout for the half marathon.

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