Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frozen Tempo

Sunday and Monday I was in shorts for my runs and today I am bundled up and freezing!

This morning the temperatures were super cold - 28F and there was a nice layer of frost of the grass and cars.  I usually don't like to do my tempo runs in the cold mornings but today I didn't have a choice due to after work social obligations!

Running in the morning cold is bad enough but running tempo paced miles before dawn can be even worse but there are ways to make sure you run the best tempo you can.

Take an extra long warm up - In the summer I can often get away with doing only 1-1.5 miles for warm up but once the temperatures dip below 40F, I have to extend my warm up to at least 2 miles.  I also try to add in an uphill (followed by a downhill) during my warm up because that really helps to get the legs warmed up.

Expect to be slower - The morning tempo runs are usually slower than if run in the evening.  When its really cold, I can run my tempos  about 10 seconds per mile slower.  It helps that it is dark out so you can't see your watch and see the difference in pace.

Wear a headlamp - I find that I can run faster when I can see where I am going.  Its hard to do a tempo run in the dark so don't forget the headlamp (and the reflective vest).

Know your route and mile marks - It is easy to get confused in the morning and the dark so I try to keep my tempo route pretty simple.

Run a time based tempo - Often during training I run 2x2 mi tempo runs or something similar, but when it gets dark and cold out I try to switch it up.  Instead of having to do math on my garmin (because I keep my garmin mileage to total and not lap), having a total tempo time you are aiming for makes life much easier.

This mornings run actually went pretty well.  My hands were cold for most of the run but after my warm up, my legs seemed to feel pretty good.

The workout
20 mins @ Easy
10 mins @ Tempo
5 mins @ Easy
5 mins @ Tempo
5 mins @ Easy
5 mins @ Tempo
25 mins @ Easy

Based on my recent 5ks, my tempo pace is supposed to be about 6:47/mile but there is no way I can hit that pace in the mornings.  My goal was to try and get close to 7:00/mile and I came in on all my tempos at 7:04/mile.  I will take the consistency over meeting my desired pace.  This turned out to be a good workout.

I think running tempo workouts based on time (instead of pace) is a nice way to switch things up.  Plus it is way easier to keep track of things when running a tempo based on time.  I am not very good at doing addition while running so having a time goal is an easy way to get in a tempo run in the morning.

Happy Tempo Thursday!


Marlene said...

Nice work on the tempo! Looks like you got to enjoy a pretty sky at least. I can't imagine trying to run fast at that hour and these temps. I would be hacking up a lung after.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Nice work on the early, cold run! I have done a couple of runs in the morning lately but have opted to do them on the treadmill... I need to get back outdoors as I had the dreadmill. I am having a hard time adjusting to these colder temps!

My times are WAY slower in the morning. Which is part of why I don't like morning running as it makes me kind of crabby when i see my splits...

ThePetitePacer said...

Can I ask what your easy pace is?

Runner Leana said...

Those are great tips (and great photos). I struggle with running in the dark but keeping these things in mind will help!

Robin said...

Great winter tips. The colder weather is definitely upon us! Nice running.

Anonymous said...

This is a great motivational post about morning runs. I am "lucky" enough to have a treadmill, so I do my morning runs inside, but it gets boring after awhile.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Hey J, just checking in on you. Hope you're doing well. Happy holidays!