Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tempo Run

With a nod to the Running Laminator and a book I picked up "Run Faster", I changed my workout for today to a tempo run. My goal was a one mile warmup, 4 miles at tempo pace (which I defined at heart rate 85-90% (basically between 160 and 169 BPM), and then a half mile cool down. I ended up running the tempo pace at 7:30 on the treadmill, which my Garmin footpod had at 7:00 or so.

At the 7:30 pace on the treadmill (which Garmin had at sub 7:00), my heart rate was in high 150's and climbing. But I don't care what my heart rate monitor said, I knew was not going to make 4 miles at that pace. When I ratcheted down the pace to 7:45 on the treadmill, I hit a sweet spot -- comfortably hard. And my heart rate was perfect -- comfortably in 160's. I decided to extend the tempo portion to 4.5 miles, and shorten the cool down to 0.75 or so. Ended up with a 5.75 mile run on treadmill. Of course, Garmin had it my run both longer and faster than what treadmill measured. Unfortunately, I accidentally turned off my Garmin when I switched from tempo pace to cooldown mode, so I have no HR data for the last 6 minutes of the run (which I ran at 9:40 pace or so). Final data from the treadmill:

5.75 miles at 8:03 average pace

Garmin had it at 6.25 miles at 7:52 pace

I sweated like crazy, fwiw. I normally sweat a lot, but tonight was ridiculous.

It was a tough workout -- one of the harder ones I have done on a treadmill. I speculate that a tempo run on a treadmill is easier than one on the road because on the road it is up to the runner to maintain the pace. On the road, I know it would have been a challenge to go that fast --and maintain the pace. So, overall a success.


  1. I love treadmill tempo runs. I start out at a defined pace, and then tend to challenge myself to keep going faster until I hit my limits, then slow down to the original tempo goal pace (which suddenly seems easy).

    As you mentioned, the only real problem is the sweat - my gym is a lot warmer than I'd like for running. But the treadmill really works for me, and I definitely feel it for several days afterward.

  2. Nice tempo workout.

    I do tempo work on the treadmill too, but find that it's not as easy to get my HR to the right training zone as in the open road mainly because the treadmill running requires less active effort than road running. I compensate that by making changes to the incline every quarter mile or so, or just running with a random incline setting. It helps to break up the run so it's not as monotonous too!


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