The Tempo Run (or anaerobic threshold run or lactate-threshold run) was popularized by Jack Daniels, Ph.D. He defined it as “nothing more than 20 minutes of steady running at threshold pace.” He went on to say that 20 minutes is ideal, but you could vary this to suit the needs of a course. Based on effort, experts will tell you that tempo pace is when you feel like you’re running “comfortably hard.”
You either love tempo runs or you hate ’em. Of course, you could be like me: love them to death before or after the run because you know they do wonders for your speed and strength, but whine and yell and scream (in your mind because God knows you don’t have the energy to even open your mouth and let out a yelp) during every single minute of that run when you feel like your lungs are bursting out of your chest and your knees are about to dislodge from their sockets.
From May to December of 2011, I didn’t have any tempo runs, or any speedwork for that matter, because of my injury. But, when January 2012 hit, and I felt like my foot was ready for some speed, I let out a loud cheer (all alone in the shower that’s why you didn’t hear it): “I can do tempo runs now!” then wiped the sweat out of my forehead as I dwelled on the hardships to come.
Aaah, tempo runs. I love them to death, but here are 10 things that I never ever could say while I’m running my tempos (usually with good friend Alvin in Bonifacio High Street):
1) So, how’s life?
Tempo runs are not for long and winding stories.
2) Hey, is that our good friend at Starbucks?
Tempo runs do not allow for any sight seeing. You’re like a horse with side-blinders on.
3) Wow, look at the stars!
Tempo runs do not allow for sight seeing. And, don’t be an idiot, watch your step!
4) Check out those fireflies!
Aaaagain, tempo runs do not allow for any sight seeing. Good friend Alvin used to point out an area in BGC with fireflies and I would squint in an attempt to see them but this would all seem like a blur. You wanna see fireflies? Save that leisurely stroll for Valentine’s!
5) Can we run through McKinley Hill?
No, don’t try killer hills at such a fast pace! Go for your hill training some other day.
6) How do I look in my bright pink compression socks?
Who cares how you look? A tempo run is serious business. It’s all about performance, not fashion. But, hey, I like those socks. Got a pair myself!
7) Where’s my water?
Uh oh, you should’ve had it in hand. Otherwise, don’t even mention it because you’ll have to run for hydration at the same speed and that is just plain exhausting.
8 ) I think I’ll lift weights later.
Skip it. Just eat and go to sleep after.
9) Oooh, I love running this fast!
I can only say this ALWAYS after the fact!
10) I’m feeling strong? Can we run 5 kilometers more?
If you ask for this, that means you didn’t run fast enough. OR you’re just plain insane.