23 March 2012

A Review of Today's Tempo Run and a Couple of Random Thoughts

If I look at today's tempo run as a whole, I performed well.  I ran a 7k tempo run at 6:53 per mile. This is my fastest pace for a tempo run since I started training for Prague, and I should be thrilled about doing this toward the end of a tough week for me.

As you know, my son was born at 12:09 Sunday morning, and my wife, my son, and I arrived home from the hospital a little after 3 a.m.  I might have had an hour and a half of sleep total that morning and missed my scheduled long run with The Jewish Stallion.  On Sunday night I slept for about five hours.  On Monday, after getting my daughters to school, I ran a slow 23 miles. Monday night I was able to sleep for six hours, and on Tuesday I ran for an easy hour.  On Wednesday I completed my regular medium long run--11 miles, and on Thursday I ran for an easy hour.  Unfortunately, as those with children know, it is impossible to get good sleep with a newborn in the house, and I had not been able to get more than five hours of sleep during any night after Monday night.  This morning I awoke to a crying baby at four in the morning (after finally getting to sleep shortly after midnight) and could not fall back asleep before having to get ready for a six o'clock tempo run with Alain and The Jewish Stallion.

I had every reason to sleep in and to skip this morning's workout, so I should be happy about getting out the door and finishing the run, and I should be especially happy that on top of a shortage of sleep and 47 miles of running in the previous four days, I was able to run such a nice overall pace.  See, I should be happy.

But I'm not.

My first four mile splits of my 4.35 mile tempo run were 7:04, 6:56, 6:40, and 6:57.  (I finished the final .35 miles at 6:41 pace.)  I normally like to run each of my miles during a tempo run faster than the mile before it.  Normally, I achieve this goal or come much closer to achieving it than I did today.  And normally, I don't look at each of my splits as I'm running.  Today, I looked at the splits and didn't trust in running by feel.

I also let Alain, who ran at a 6:45 per mile clip dictate my pacing for me.  He seemed to be turbocharged today, and I felt I shouldn't let him get too far ahead of me.  So, I was watching the distance between me and him more than I was paying attention to how my body felt.  It wasn't until I saw the 6:40 split that I stopped looking at my watch and just concentrated on running relaxed but aggressive.  I also knew at that point that it would be stupid for me to try to negative split the fourth mile.  I had no business running that hard at that time.

Having training partners is a wonderful thing.  They motivate you to get out the door, and they celebrate fine performances with you and help you get over the bad ones.  However, there are times when we must ignore what our partners are doing and focus on giving ourselves the run we need.  We shouldn't let someone's great day encourage us to force a great day we're not prepared for.  On some days paces match and partners can run stride for stride.  On other days we arrive at a run overworked and under rested.  On these days we have different needs than our partners, and we must run our own pace.

It's important for us to understand which day it is.

Today's Run Details: Guerrilla Race by scarbellyracer at Garmin Connect - Details

*****

I don't know what this says about my readership, but yesterday's post about exercise and orgasm generated by far more hits than any post I've written.  (I wonder what it says about me that I posted it knowing that I could probably generate more traffic with such a post.)  Thanks goes in large part to the 30 wonderful readers of runnersworld.com who let their curiosity get the best of them and clicked on a link to my post.

*****

I might be more depressed over El Doce not being able to run than I was over my own time off while I dealt with and had an operation on a torn medial meniscus.  I mean no disrespect to Alain and The Jewish Stallion because I love training with those guys, and they would probably say the same as I am about to say, but that spark that El Doce brought to a run is noticeably absent. (Then again, maybe I just miss his jokes at The Jewish Stallion's expense.)

*****

I have a friend running his first ultramarathon tomorrow, so I wish him the best as he runs from Versailles to the Eiffel Tower.  

I hope to go long on Sunday this weekend with Alain and The Jewish Stallion.  To all of you who are going long and/or racing this weekend, I hope you enjoy yourselves, set some PRs, and get to enjoy the type of weather we've been having all week here in The Netherlands.  Thanks for reading.

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