Tempo on the Tread

The tempo run is a dreaded run. Treadmill or no treadmill. It’s hard. There are no breaks. It’s you and the miles. The same speed for however many miles you have in your plan.

Today, my scheduled run was 10 miles, 6 at tempo for 7:08 pace. As I have gotten deeper into the training though, I have realized I can run these tempos much quicker and still feel in control.

Most of my tempo runs have turned into tempo/progression runs. I’ve done almost all of these runs on the treadmill and like everyone else, I get bored sometimes and a little bit ansy on the mill. The idea of running 6 tempo miles at the exact same speed just drives me crazy. I understand it’s good training for pacing reasons on race day, but I just hate it.

Last night, I told Glenn my workout and he warned me I shouldn’t do the progression thing like I always do, that I should hold true to the tempo workout. I told him I couldn’t stand the thought of running 6 boring 7:08 miles sandwiched in between 2 boring warm up and 2 boring cool down miles. He told me to do the 6 at 6:50 then, but keep it consistent. I liked the sound of that, I liked the challenge.

Marshall woke me up at 4:30am to eat and my plan was to get to the gym right after. I was wide awake when I got up, but there is something about once I put him down and I walk back into our dark room, fan on with the white noise and it’s just so cozy. I crawled back in and debated for 10 minutes, deciding I’d let the bed win, I wanted more sleep. So, I went with Marshall in tow at 8:00am instead of by myself at 5:00am. The sleep was worth it.

When I warmed up today, I got in my head that I wanted my total 10 to be sub 7, which would mean I needed to warm up at a quicker pace. I don’t usually warm up quicker than 8 minutes for my first mile, but started around 7:40 today. I picked up the second mile to 7:10, about the pace for what the original tempo was.

The one thing that will throw off your tempo run, is going from a very easy pace, full speed to the tempo pace. Easing in to the speed is my key to success. 

I’ve been pretty comfortable running around 6:50 pace recently, so I figured I’d go for holding it for 6 miles. At mile 2, I decided to mentally split the 6 miles up in to two sets of 3. The second set of 3 would be faster. When I started the second set of 3, I decided I’d run the last mile at mile repeat pace and then slowly bring the next mile down to the original tempo pace of 6:49.

I kept a quickish cool down pace, so I’l hit my sub 7 for 10 miles goal.

So, yet again, I broke the rule and didn’t stick to the same pace, but really I didn’t come of it much and I only came off of it running faster, and seeing as how this is my kick my butt as hard as I can week, why not. It feels good to work hard.


Mile 1- 7:30 (warm up)
Mile 2- 7:10 (warm up)
Mile 3- 6:49
Mile 4– 6:49
Mile 5– 6:49
Mile 6– 6:44
Mile 7– 6:44
Mile 8– 6:22
Mile 9– 6:49
Mile 10– 7:30 (cool down)

Side note- apparently Marshall had a meltdown in kids club and I was paged four times. I guess my music was too loud. The kids club girl finally hunted me down- I was just getting my stretch on post run at that point. This was all my fault because we were way past nap time number one, I thought he could hang on an extra hour… wrong. It’s true, kids thrive on schedules.

On Friday, I have a really tough 20 miles on the schedule, I’m ready for it, but a little nervous… of course. This will be my last BIG workout closing out the last big week before Shamrock. I’ll officially be 3 weeks out. At this point, I’m more nervous about my mental battles than my physical battles on race day.

Do you love or hate the tempo run? Love and hate?

Any advice for getting through the dreaded tempo?

Anyone else out there running Shamrock?


  1. I can’t believe you can run that fast. WOW! I would feel like I was sprinting the whole time. Good job! You are going to rock Shamrock. I only wish I was running or watching you at lest! Glad you’ll be stopping by my hood on the way.

    1. Thanks Sista! It would have felt like a sprint the whole time if I would have started off too hard. All about easing into the pace. Thanks- I’m gonna see if you can track me. Will give me motivation to kill it.

  2. The only thing that I love about tempo runs is that they feel super productive. I have a tempo run today too. 🙂 I love your blog, keep up the great work with your training!

    1. Hi Alicia… I agree I feel extremely productive after a tempo or any sort of speed workout for that matter! Thanks for reading… and I hope you kill your tempo today. Thankfully I just have an easy 6 on the schedule!

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