The final tempo

Here’s the truth – even though I love running, I only actually want to go running about 10% of the time. I hear there are people who pop out of bed at the crack of dawn, itching to run some miles. That is not me. Most of the time, it’s a struggle between what I know is good for me in the long term and my desire for short term gratification. Morning runs are a little easier – I am usually half asleep as I push myself out the door, so there is little time for deliberation. Just put on shoes, grab keys, walk out the door. But after-work runs and speed workouts? Oy. Even if I’m looking forward to seeing my running buddies, even if I know the workout will make me faster…it’s a struggle. I’m tired. I have to stay late in the office. I’d rather go home, drink beer, and watch Netflix. There are many, many hours in the day for me to talk myself out of the weekly 7pm workout with my running club.

Luckily a combination of good weather and friendly peer pressure helped get me to Central Park last night for one last workout before race day. And as always (you’d think it would sink in by now!!), I’m so glad I went. I’m usually motivated enough to do some kind of workout on my own, but I know that having other people push me is the key to getting faster.

The workout assigned last night was interesting – 4 miles at varying paces. 1st mile (uphill) at 10k pace, 2nd mile at 5k pace, followed by 2 miles at ~10 mile race pace (favorable terrain). Coach Tony explained that the aggressive early miles would produce lactic acid and get the legs used to feeling fatigued mid-race. I had a mini freak out about 2 miles in when I thought “Oh man, this is hard and my legs feel like crap. Next week, I’m going to feel like this and still have 7, 8, or 9 miles to go.” But I tried to push those thoughts out of my mind and just focus on the mile at hand. When I start thinking about how fast the pace is and how much farther I have to run…that’s dangerous territory. With longer races, I truly believe the key to running well is to be confident. However, that is easier said than done! I’m a work in progress in that regard.

Last night’s workout was hard, but I ran with an awesome group (Jane, Sari, and Molly – hope you guys don’t mind the blog shout out!) and we were relaxed enough to exchange short sentences throughout the run. The last mile was probably too fast, but it was also downhill and at the end of the workout, so I think that’s okay.

mile 1 – 6:40
mile 2 – 6:25
mile 3 – 7:04
mile 4 – 6:38
final .04 – 19 seconds
Total: 4.04 in 27:06 (6:42 avg)

With warm-up and cool-down, I ended up running 7.25 miles total.

I didn’t have my Garmin with me, so the times are based on mile marks and my running buddy’s GPS. I think they’re pretty accurate and I’m happy with the times. I think the paces realistically reflect my current fitness levels – 6:40 pace for a 10k would get me in around 41:30 and 6:25 pace for a 5k would be just under 20 minutes. I had also run 7+ miles in the morning, so my legs weren’t exactly fresh. I’m not sure I’d recommend that, but it’s an experiment I’m trying. My goal was to run the workout on slightly fatigued legs, further mimicking how they’ll feel late in the race.

Something I want to try a few times with Boston training is to run 15-16 miles on Saturday, followed by 10-12 miles on Sunday (instead of the traditional 18-20 miler). It’s a little unconventional, but I’ve heard some chatter about it in the running community. The goal is to build endurance and fatigue the legs, but avoid the excessive recovery that 20+ milers often demand. This is all experimentation! I have no idea if it will work or not. More about that later…

The PR rep for Annie Chun products sent me some goodies last week. So I decided to make homemade pad thai with the sauce and brown rice noodles that I received. I was a little bit skeptical of the noodles when I saw they were gluten-free and made from brown rice, but they tasted just like pad thai noodles! And bonus – 4 grams of fiber per serving.

Homemade pad thai (made 3 hungry Megan-size servings, maybe 4-5 regular person size servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box/8oz of Annie Chun’s brown rice pad thai noodles
  • 8 Tbs (about 1/2 bottle) of Annie Chun’s pad thai sauce
  • 3-4 cups of mung bean sprouts (I used the entire package that I bought from Whole Foods)
  • 1.5 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • optional garnishes: cilantro, peanuts, sriracha sauce, lime wedges

Directions: Prepare the noodles according to package directions, adding in the bean sprouts in the last minute or two of cooking, drain, and set aside in a colander. Meanwhile heat oil in a large wok or frying pan and saute onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add a bit more oil and cook the eggs until scrambled. Add the bean sprouts and noodles into the wok and mix in pad thai sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts, sriracha sauce, and lime wedges. Looking for more protein? You could also add in shrimp, tofu, or chicken when you saute the onion and garlic.

What’s your favorite confidence-boosting workout?

And does anyone know if you can freeze stuff like pad thai? This was good, but living alone means leftovers for many days…

  • Tamara Duricka Johnson

    Megan, I read your blog regularly… while sitting on the couch. I think I convince myself that reading about running somehow helps me vicariously get off the couch and put my shoes on. But today, reading that you actually want to run about 10% of the time, was what I needed to tie my laces. For the first time in three months, I’m back at it. Thank you! -Tamara @31dates

  • Ali

    “I hear there are people who pop out of bed at the crack of dawn, itching to run some miles.” Who are these crazy people? 😉 Just kidding. I think I know one or two. Also, I love that this is just casually thrown in there: “I had also run 7+ miles in the morning.” You’re an animal, Kretz. It sounds like you’re in awesome shape leading up to Philly and I’m confident you’re going to crush this race. Pretty pumped for you, honestly. Especially pumped for you to report back, in person, over Mmmsauce Cocktails.

  • RunTheLongRoad

    MP long runs are a huge confidence boost for me!  last year, i used to do back-to-back long run days because i was coaching and had group LRs on saturday.  so friday i would do my own LR (around MP) and then on saturday i would do up to 10 miles with the group (at a much slower pace).  i think it was effective, but i was exhausted!!!!  

  • Maren

    That meal looks so good!! yummm… I will definitely be trying, thanks! I always feel so great after a tempo run. I haven’t done a tempo run…or a run at all for that matter, in almost SIX months. Can’t believe this injury has been lingering this long. I am working to slowly lose my boot over the next weeks. My doc said yesterday, “you should be walking for exercise in two weeks. No running 26.2 miles!” haha 🙂

  • I love your honesty here. I read all these blogs that are all, “So glorious! I’m amazingly lucky to be able to run this morning! I hopped out of bed and could not WAIT to run!” and I feel like an oddball, like I’m the only one who has to really steel herself up to go for a run – which is weird since I too love running. I just don’t love the getting-out-the-door part.

  • Anonymous

    my favorite part of running is usually once i’m done, walking back home with a large coffee in hand. 🙂

  • Dani

    Awesome job lat night Meg! Sorry I didn’t get to do the workout with you guys. Pad Thai is yummy and the noodles are usually rice noodles so gluten free 🙂

  • As strange as it sounds, it’s actually a little heartening to hear that you’re rarely excited about your runs. Though it makes the fact that you did two 7+ mile runs on a work day even more impressive. 

  • I hear ya. I think I’m 50/50 about actually wanting to run pre-run. But once I’m 5 minutes into the run, I’m glad I’m there. But, like you said, the reward/accomplishment afterward is the best.
    Nice tempo run! Speedy. You’re ready! I’m hoping to fit in one more speed workout early next week. Excited.
    I *love* pad thai – it’s one of my go-to post-race celebratory meals (either that or burger + beer)

  • love your running honesty. who wants to run after a day of work? seriously not fun, be it a run or yoga or whatever. i’ve done two early morning yoga classes this week and as much as it’s a pain getting up, i’m way more motivated to move at 6:45AM rather than 6:45PM.

    i know very little about pad thai, or any asian food for that matter. i’d say it’s worth a try?

  • I am one of those who only runs when I really want to – which is why I don’t run as much as all of you who set a training plan and stick to it. But I LOVE it every time I do it, so I’ve decided that is worth it to me.

    As far as cooking – I haven’t had great luck with freezing pasta/reheating it UNLESS it’s in a thick sauce. So depends on how thick your pad thai sauce ended up being. I would assume that something peanut butter based would do well, but not sure on that.

  • I have a head time going out the door, but once I’m out there, I’m happy. Well, most of the time!

    I think you can freeze just about anything? But I haven’t tried anything pasta-like, so I’m not sure I would know.

  • Gaurav

    Megan I was in the park last night for my first run after Sunday’s marathon and I saw you on the east side … 70s 80s? You girls looked like you were having a good time.

  • Well, thank you for saying that. I very rarely “itch” for a run — I usually only start feeling great about a mile in. But it’s so worth it to get out the door.

  • that was us! say hi next time 🙂

  • AR

    Good vodka, what was that called the “GO OUT TOO FAST!!” workout? Yikes. That sounds horrible.

    I’ve done the “double long” before, but never regularly. I find it just ends up working out that way during marathon training here and there. I’d be scared to do ONLY that but really, I’ve heard a lot of persuasive argument in favor of not doing more than a couple 20s. I can’t quite wrap my head around it though…yet.

    Also, 90% of the time I hate running. Lately its more like 99% of the time. And if you find those ZOMGZ MORNING people…please punch them in the face for me and I will buy you several beers. <3

  • Anonymous

    haha yeahhh…during the last 2 miles, we all felt like crap and i said “well, if anything this workout has taught us NOT to go out too fast.”
    p.s. kristan and nicole and jacqui already think you’re visiting in January or February, so you better. we can finally drink jack and coke and watch the big lebowski!!

  • Hmm, fave workout? That’s a tough one. I like things with breaks and things that are not called “tempo runs.” So, basically, anything where you run fast for a bit, stop, and then run fast again – I like that. Also, super impressed you can vary pace-age that much and understand what it means. I would be so confused by that workout. I’d have to translate it into pretty fast (10K) then very fast (5K) then fast-ish (10-mile). I’m thinking of creating a tempo game — starting at 2 x 2 miles tempo and then adding a mile to the first one each week until I can get to a full loop of the park at tempo pace. Name of the game tbd – suggestions welcomes.

    Also, I mean, “I just ran 7+ miles and then I did a tempo workout?” You’re def tearing up Philly.

  • Yay, what a great final workout! I am so excited for you to kick butt in Philly. Though, I definitely hear you on the running motivation thing. As much as I LOVE running, I NEVER spring out of bed ready to lace up my shoes each and every day. I rarely breeze through my runs, thinking how awesome it is and how much I love running. I am somehow perplexed and amazed at how people do that, but that is not me. I am usually happiest once it’s over. 

    I love that you’re honest that getting out for runs can be challenging, even for the most serious runner. I think the end goal (races, PRs) is what I enjoy the most, and what helps me get out the door everyday.

    Never tried the double long thing, but would be super curious to hear about how it goes for you. 

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  • For as long as I’ve been running, I think I can maybe count the number of days I’ve bounded out the door and effortlessly floated through a run on one hand (maybe slight exaggeration, but you get the idea). And I’d guess that all those days occur on the first run back from injury when I’m feeling so grateful to just be out there. But most of the time – I too struggle with motivation. Some days are much easier than others, but sometimes going out for a tough run is the absolute last thing I feel like doing. It’s amazing how many excuses you can come up with in a short amount of time!

    Anyway, struggling with motivation sucks but I do love your honesty about it. Sometimes a commitment to a sport means pushing yourself when you don’t want to (not “listening to your body” since mine is usually fairly lazy) and focusing on the post-workout benefits to get you through the tough runs.

    Way to push through and get in an awesome (awful sounding!!) workout. Your splits are particularly impressive considering the 7 miles you ran in the morning. I can’t wait to see how you do this weekend! And I’m also really interested to hear more about your thoughts on your Boston training experiment.

  • Great to see you are going to try out doing the “double longs” in your Boston Training.  Let me know how it goes and if you have any thoughts/comments/questions.  I will keep an eye on your blog now that I’ve found it. (Thanks for the link to our long run discussion)

  • Ps – good luck tomorrow.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Gary! I’m excited to mix things up for Boston- the double long runs sound promising!