Friday, March 25, 2011

Tempo Run Feels Awesome

Yesterday was my first Thursday "buffalo run" of the year.  Over winter, the tribe moves to road runs in town (which I normally skip).  The buffalo trail runners move back to the Lake of the Woods trails after daylight saving time changes.  I missed the first run last week due to work obligations (doesn't work interfere with running?).  This week I made it to the group run on the gently rolling trail. My intent is to use the Thursday group runs as my tempo run for the week.  Yesterday went very well.  (NOTE: For Phil Maffetone and Stu Mittleman heart rate zones, a tempo run is something like a "Speedy Aerobic Pace" run--for me that range is 145-165. A true "tempo run" would be toward the top end of that range.)

The regular buffalo run is a 5-mile trail jaunt on the interconnecting trails at Lake of the Woods in Mahomet, IL.  Yesterday, I warmed up by doing an easy outside loop (about 2.5 miles) before the main 5-mile group run that starts at 6pm.  I kept my heart rate under 135 for that full loop.  Just a nice easy loping pace.  Even walked a couple of the hills.  When I returned to the main parking lot, there were about 10-12 runners hanging out. It was 5:59pm.  Good timing.  I grabbed my water bottle, said "Hi" to a few runners, and hit the trail following the two Jeff's down the first hill.  Riddle was passed within 10 meters, but Fago stayed with me for the full 5 miles...well, until we came across Riddle again around the 4.5 mile mark (The Riddler has a knack of shortening the full 5 mile course and getting ahead of us).  At that point, the "fast Jeff" walked it in with the "slow Jeff".  Fortunately, by that time I was also running with Seth and we kept our tempo pace to the end.  Wish I had taken the 5-mile split, but my warm-up was included in my overall time and heart rate average.  I think we were going around 8:00 pace, maybe just a bit slower.  My heart rate was mostly in the 155-165 range--peaking at 175.  I'd like it to stay below 165 next week.  Less talking on the hills!

If I can incorporate a weekly tempo run into my schedule, I should improve my running efficiency and form which will benefit all of my runs.  I anticipate going faster and faster within the same target HR range.  By mid-summer, I hope to be maintaining a 7:30 pace for the full 5 miles each Thursday.  I need a longer cool down afterwards.  Last night I was a bit sore and stiff.  Maybe my 2.5 mile warm-up should be followed with a 2.5 mile cool-down after the 5-mile tempo run?  That would turn each Thursday into a fantastic 10 mile run. Mondays and Fridays are "off days" (cross training or nothing) and Tuesday and Wednesdays are easy runs.  The weekend is reserved for longer trail runs--either two moderate distance runs (10-12 miles) or one long run and one short run (18-20 miles and 3-5 miles).  Sounds like a plan and I am psyched!  Next week I'll have heart rate data to share.  If you are in central Illinois, feel free to join me and the other buffalo runners each Thursday at 6pm.  We post updates and running plans on our Yahoo group forum.


Jess said...

Buffalo runs sound like fun! Good luck with your heart rate work - sounds like a solid plan. :)

Chris said...


The buffalo runners are the best!