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Best Running Tips Newsletter, Issue #027 --
Dealing with Setbacks and the Benefits of Tempo Running
April 13, 2011
Today I'd like to talk to you about dealing with
setbacks and the benefits of tempo running. I would also like to talk
to you about some developments on and around best-running-tips.com.
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I have just
posted some questions on Facebook. One of them is about what you eat to
replenish after your (long) runs, one of them is about the running app
you may use. Join the conversation.
would be great if we get a lot
of reactions here so we can learn from each other.
I will turn
the outcomes of
these "mini-surveys" into useful pages on the site.
Link to the questions:
my running got dealt with a bit of a setback. My first major run of the
year was going to be a 15k race. Training was going really well,
getting faster, getting fitter, etc. No complaints.
Unfortunately I can't do this race now. Why? Just a few days before the
race I have to undergo a medical
of a disappointment, but there is no way out of
So, no choice. Will have to miss out on this race.
we can all get setbacks from time to time.
Like an injury or a bad
The important thing is how we deal with these setbacks. My recipe
is roughly as follows:
1) Allow time
for disappointment. But limit that time.
give yourself some time to be disappointed.
But, and this is important,
how long you are allowed to be disappointed.
in despair all you will, but after a set time, e.g. 24 hours, turn over
the page. After that, you are only allowed to be positive and focus on
the next steps.
next step is to analyze
and learn. Now, in some cases there is not a
lot to analyze. My medical situation, a sickness, etc, these are just
things that happen. In those cases, you move on to the next
in other situations there is often something to learn. And I don't see
all runners take this step seriously. Take a bad race for example.
Don't just shrug it off as a bad day, take some serious time to
consider what exactly went wrong.
Was it your training, your
race strategy, what you ate, when you ate, did you go out too fast
because you set too ambitious goals, etc.? Try to get at least one
learning out of it.
The same for running injuries. Runners often
get injured. But it doesn't have to be this way. You need to consider
why this is happening and which
signals your body was giving you. Try
to extract at least one thing you should do differently next time.
3) Adjust and
set new goals
you have learnt where you have gone wrong, inject some new energy and
inspiration in your running program. Adjust your training
according to the situation and
pick new goals to be enthusiastic about.
I have rewritten my running program for the next three months to take
into account I am not going to do the 15k race anymore. Instead I can
devote some more time to the preparations for a half marathon which is
a little over three months down the track.
of Tempo Running
recent years there has been a real trend towards advocating more
variety in running training programs. Ten, twenty years
ago all you
could hear about when you wanted to run was: run easy, run long.
course, easy running should be a very important component of your
And I would still advocate that if you are not able to run 30-45
minutes comfortably and you want to do 5k/10k races or longer, that you
spend pretty much all your time running easy or doing a run/walk
But as we learn more and more about how elite athletes train,
especially the Kenyans, the
message gets reinforced
that distance is not absolutely
As a result of that more and more beginner marathon / half marathon
programs put some speed work in the mix. And rightfully so.
an important role, especially tempo
Tempo running is the speed just below your lactate acid
threshold. If you run any faster, lactic acid starts building up in
your muscles and your legs start feeling heavy.
you start doing tempo runs it is a bit hard to work out how fast
exactly you should go. I prefer to describe it as "comfortably hard",
whereas any faster would be "uncomfortably hard".
Another way to feel it is that it is the speed you
still should be able to maintain for a longer period of time
whereas when you go at interval running speed you'd really need to stop
after 5-6 minutes or so.
You can also go by heart rate zone if you are running with a heart rate
are so good because they help you increase your lactic acid
threshold. This means that you can go faster without getting that heavy
feeling in your legs.
When you do
tempo runs regularly you really start feeling the difference in leg
strength, in your base speed, heart rate everything. I could show you
charts from my Garmin
405cx of comparable runs now and two months ago.
At the same
heart rate I now go 30-45 sec / km faster (I did have a
year off, so I expected some improvement). Tempos are powerful stuff.
runs can be done on their own, but you can also include tempo intervals
or tempo runs into your longer runs. What I like to do,
for example, is
include 1k-2k tempo intervals in my long runs.
It's a good
race simulation as in races you will have to be able to run
fast, even when your legs are tired.
E.g. Sunday night I
did 22k (14 miles), in which I alternated 2k easy with 1k hard (i.e.
Further down the track the long runs and the tempo intervals in my long
runs will become longer, until
two weeks before the half marathon when I do my goal pace test: 10k
easy, 10k tempo.
If you are
not doing tempo runs already, then make sure you start
adding them to your training.
Rate Zone Calculator
I launched a coaching service. If you have got difficulties with
finding the right running program
for your needs, consider giving
The service offers an assessment of your current situation
and works out your strengths and weaknesses. Based on that you
will get a
personalised running program which aims to get you to top
performance in your next key race.
It is an exciting opportunity to work on your running goals on a
Almost ready for launch is a website forum. The daily visitor count has
reached the level where I think a forum can become a useful place in
which you and I and all other visitors can connect, ask each other for
I am only one runner and I don't have all the knowledge. I am hoping
that this forum can fill a gap. In a recent survey I did, this
was one of the items people felt they missed when they visited
Once again it's "you
ask, we deliver" so we'll have this forum live
within now and a few weeks. I'll let you know when it happens.
Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something, or getting something from them. That is only valid for information sharing. Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes.
to you soon.
In the meantime, come visit my site often and happy running!
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