Today I want to discuss what I consider to be one of the cornerstones of any training plan: the tempo run. I’m sure you’ve heard that term being tossed around, even if you have no clue what it means. And there’s also a good handful of runners out there doing tempo runs, but they’re doing them incorrectly.
Slow down to speed up. That seems very contradictory, right? But that’s exactly what you should be doing on approximately…
Now that you have your weekly mileage roughly outlined, it’s time to move onto the next steps. Determine your daily mileage and your long run mileage. Once you have your weekly mileage mapped out it becomes much easier to plan for daily mileage. First, determine how many days per week it makes sense for you to run. For new 5k runners, you can easily get by on 3-4 days a week. For a half marathon, plan for 4-6. Unless you’re very experienced, you’ll likely benefit more from one full rest day than you will from pushing through 7 days a week. For marathon runners, I’d recommend 5-7.
For anyone fairly new to running, or if you’ve been running for awhile but with no real direction in your training, this post is for you. Let’s see if any of the following resonates. You’ve run multiple races of the same distance, but haven’t seen an improvement. You run basically all of your runs at the same pace. Every run is done at an easy pace. Every run is done at a fast clip that leaves you breathless within minutes. You’re frequently injured. You start running really consistently, it feels hard on every run, so after a week or so you give up and don’t run for a few months.
The mile was not my favorite race. I preferred the 5ks of cross season, and the 2 mile during track. I vividly remember feeling sick to my stomach the week of those mile time trials in high school. I’m sure it’s because I put so much undue pressure on myself, thinking I had something to prove. Instead, I needed to look at it as a way to get honest feedback on where my fitness currently put me, so that our coach could do a better job of setting my paces for future workouts. All the time trial asks of you is to show up and give your best on that day. As long as you give your best, that’s all you can ask. If you had put in the work all summer, it would undoubtedly show. And if you slacked off? Well, that definitely became apparent as well.