A Successful Tempo on Roads – Finally!

Head over to my friend, Lottie’s blog (Running On Veggies) to check out my Workout Wednesday Feature! I’m sharing what a typical day looks like for me – training, food, activities and so on!



So, I FINALLY nailed a LT tempo outside. After two failed tempo attempts the last couple of weeks (a 4 mile LT tempo and 8 mile AT tempo), I was both excited and nervous when I saw this little beast on the training schedule – it’s a short, but intense tempo.

For those that have been reading here for a while, you may know that I have a much easier time with workouts on the treadmill – even with the treadmill at 1%. I don’t know what it is but I can run paces on the treadmill that I can only dream about outside. And so, I am always much more inclined to give in and use the treadmill on workout days.

But the reality is that I don’t race on the treadmill. I race on the roads. And that is where I need to practice these paces. And to get the confidence that I CAN run these paces. So when I start to get tired or question my ability during a race, I can pull from these workouts.

I slept straight through my alarm (set for 4:45am) and woke up to the boys at 6:15am. I’ve been a sleeping machine lately (more on that in a later post!). I finally got on the roads at 7:15am. It was already 77 degrees with 73 dew point (and 85% humidity). The muggy, soupy air hit my face the moment I opened the door. Awesome. I had thoughts of taking it to the treadmill because I really wanted to hit these paces. But that’s the easy way out for me.

Plan from Coach called for 3 @ warmup/easy, 4.5 @ LT tempo (6:40-6:50), 2.5 @ cooldown. Despite being in just a sports bra and shorts, I was dripping with sweat by mile 2.5, so decided to return to house, drink some water (I had left it outside), stretch and then start tempo. First 3 miles: 8:09, 7:53, 7:40.

I prefer doing tempo runs on the main road by my home. There’s no major hills, but it definitely is rolling in both directions. I used to do it on a completely flat stretch of pavement but I find that the rolling course gives me something to focus on and look forward to while also making me a stronger runner over hills.

I did an out, back, out loop – each way was 1.5 miles (my block is 1.5 miles from the end of the main road – so I run as far as I can, turn around and then run back).

Mile 1. As always, the first mile is a shock to my body and I spend a lot of the first mile fighting the faster running and finding the right stride and cadence to match the pace I am hoping to see. Coach’s range was 6:40-6:50, but with heat and humidity, I figured I would shoot to stay around 7:00-7:05. Mile 1 beeped at 6:55. First thought was way too fast – I thought I was going to blow up and pay for it later (last tempo run I ran 6:57, 6:59 and then quit).

Mile 2 was one of the best miles. The pace came more naturally and my legs were starting to get a good kick in them. I felt in control of the pace and slowed it down a bit towards the end since I saw I was in the 6:40s. 6:51

Mile 3 – the middle mile. Always the most challenging mile for me in any workout. Not quite halfway to just past halfway. But still a long way to go until the hard part is over. Breathing gets more labored. Legs start to feel a little tired. This is where I start talking to myself. Where I begin imagining myself getting close to the end of a race (any distance, doesn’t change things). And where I start pulling from other female runners who are training for amazing things and who inspire the crap out of me. 6:55

Mile 4 – my mind was fully on board, but my body was starting to have other plans. I was tired and sweat was in my eyes and pouring down my legs (gross, I know). This mile hurt. 6:51

Mile 4.5: Breathing was labored and legs were exhausted but I wanted to push so I could end with my fastest pace of the day. Success. 6:37

Tempo miles: 6:55, 6:51, 6:55, 6:51, 6:37 (.5 miles) – 6:51 average


Finished it off with 2.5 miles cooldown (8:37, 8:02, 8:15 (.5 miles)) for a total of 10 miles for the day @ 7:32 average pace.

And then spent the rest of the day in the pool with my little guys!



For More NYC Running Mama training updates, pictures and ramblings, check out:

    Related posts:

    7 thoughts on “A Successful Tempo on Roads – Finally!

    1. Pingback: Wineglass Training Update – T-6: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back |

    2. Great job! Having a great run is always a confidence booster :) I have a tempo coming up here and petrified because of that summer heat and am a chicken to goo at 5 am when i can’t see the roads.
      Genna recently posted..SLS3 Review and Giveaway!My Profile

    3. Nice job Michele!! Tempos are definitely the workouts I dread the most, and I tend to stick to the treadmill for them too. Finding the pace is just HARD. I like to tell myself that the treadmill builds my mental strength when I default to it, but you’re right that races are run on the roads, not treadmills. (Thank goodness. Treadmill races would be far less popular I imagine ;))
      I loved your post on Lottie’s blog as well! Day in the lift posts always inspire me to focus a little more on strength and healthy eating.
      Also – I’m excited to see what your full-time work may be that you mentioned in your previous post. :)
      Amber recently posted..Training Check InMy Profile

    4. So glad to hear this! Second to last mile is always the hardest for me… You want to keep the pace yet you’re already so tired, and you know you can’t give it all you have because you still have a long hard mile ahead of you…
      As tempting as it is, I made a point to do all my workouts outside, unless the other option is having to skip the run altogether. Having the treadmill “telling me what to do” and not having to deal with humidity/heat/cold/wind makes things easier and more pleasant. However, as you said, we don’t race on a treadmill. On the treadmill, hitting the paces is pretty much a given. Outside though… that’s a whole different story 😉

    5. Congrats on a great run! I also can run faster paces on the treadmill, even with the incline turned up. I think it might be because I can’t slow down naturally, as the treadmill is staying at the pace I’ve set and I have to stay with it or fall off! I have to take my speed-training outside, or I have an over-inflated sense of how fast I can go. It took years for me to figure this out!
      Molly @ Motherhood and Marathons recently posted..Don’t Sweat The Small StuffMy Profile