London Marathon Training Week #14 Days 3 and 4 Increasing the Tempo

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperatures: Day 1–Mostly cloudy  72 degrees, Day 2–Cloudy 59 degrees

Types of Runs: Day 1–Easy, Day 2–Tempo

Lengths: Day 1–6.2 miles + 5 strides, Day 2–10.03 miles

Types of routes: Day 1–Two uphill climbs with two downhill descents…some flat; Day 2-gradual uphill and downhill with one uphill climb and one downhill descent

Times: Day 1–45 minutes, 51 seconds; Day 2–1 hour, 4 minutes, 58 seconds

Paces per mile: Day 1–7:24, Day 2–6:29

Reason for Runs: Day 1–This was a typical recovery run done after a long run. I chose a route with some significant hill climbs to boost leg strength and endurance. The pace for this run should be relaxed and comfortable so as not to stress the legs. The strides work on leg turnover and efficiency. They’re done at 75 to 90% of full speed for about 70 to 100 meters.

Day 2–The tempo run is designed to boost stamina and strength because the effort is more intense. One of its purposes is to mimic a race in which the effort is intense also. To race well, your body needs to be able to handle the effort. Conventional thinking is that the tempo run should be comfortably hard. That’s a vague term but it means it’s an effort that’s tough but not one that should completely exhaust you. For me, that point is between half marathon and marathon pace. That’s where I try to be for most tempo  runs. Because I’m in marathon training mode, I’m increasing the length of the tempo runs so my body can get used to running longer intense efforts again. The longest tempo run I do before a marathon is 12 to 13 miles. This week it was 10.

How did I feel? Day 1–Good. The pace was easy and my legs didn’t feel terribly exhausted. The strides felt good too. The hill climbs weren’t bad at all either.

Day 2–Decent. I ran this run early in the morning to avoid the rain since I hate running in the rain. Because I worked at night/early morning I came straight home and ran without sleeping first. In fact, I didn’t sleep at all between the recovery run and the tempo run. Did it negatively affect me? I don’t think so. Maybe it did but I didn’t consciously feel it. My pacing was generally consistent. I didn’t feel exhausted running that hard for that long. My legs felt fine too mostly. I use “mostly” because my legs are always worn out to some degree in the middle of training. I’m hoping I can run my tempo runs a little faster. For some reason, it seems like my body is holding back. Maybe it’s a subconscious defense mechanism against getting hurt and exhausted. I don’t want to overdo it but I do want to get the most out of my training. How do I solve it? Is there anything to solve? We’ll have to look at some possible factors and go from there. But that’s for another day.

Running With You,


London Marathon Training Week #13 Day 4 A Tough Tempo Run

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 9.08 miles

Type of route: Gradual uphill and downhill around Rose Bowl 5k route, one downhill descent and some flat

Time: 58  minutes, 8 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:24

Reason for Run: A tempo run is a workout done at a comfortably hard pace. The purpose is to build stamina and strength. You want your body to be able to handle the intensity of a race. For that to happen, it has to get used to running hard. A tempo run prepares the body for what it’ll feel like during a race because, unlike an interval session, there’s no stopping to rest. I think the pace for a tempo run should be between half-marathon and marathon pace depending on the route you’re running and how you feel that day. If it’s slower than marathon pace, that’s ok as long as the effort feels challenging.

How did I feel? Ok. My legs are feeling the fatigue of increased mileage. This tempo run was much better than what I attempted last week when I had to stop because of fatigue, possible dehydration, lack of sleep and anxiety. That was a terrible run. This tempo run was completed at around marathon pace so the slower end of what I want. Considering my leg fatigue and distance, that’s not bad. Plus, my mile splits were fairly consistent. There was no wild swing. It’s hard to push the pace when your legs only want to move so fast. However, that’s good preparation for a marathon because you’ll have to push when the legs start to fatigue noticeably after about 15 miles. If I can handle it now then I can handle it during a race. If you’re wondering, this leg fatigue is a normal part of marathon training, especially when boosting weekly mileage and extending long runs past 18 miles.

Running With You,


London Marathon Training Week #8 Day 7 Week #9 Days 1 and 2 Feeling Stronger and Tougher

NOTE: For those of you interested in donating to the charity I’m running for in London please click on this LINK.

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperatures: Day 1–Partly cloudy 61 degrees, Day 2–Partly cloudy 62 degrees, Day 3–Partly cloudy 64 degrees

Types of Run: Day 1–Speed/Intervals, Day 2–Tempo, Day 3–Long

Lengths: Day 1–5.24 miles ( 3 x 1mi-800m-400m), Day 2–8.02 miles, Day 3–18.13 miles

Types of routes: Day 1–400-meter oval track; Day 2–some flat, gradual uphill and downhill, one uphill climb and one downhill descent; Day 3–gradual uphill and downhill with three uphill climbs and two downhill descents

Times: Day 1–29 minutes, 44 seconds (5:53, 2:47, 1:18; 1:18, 2:45, 5:46; 5:49, 2:49, 1:18); Day 2–49 minutes, 58 seconds; Day 3–2 hours, 15 minutes, 41 seconds

Paces per mile: Day 1–5:40, Day 2–6:14, Day 3–7:30

Reason for Run: Day 1–This was an interval ladder workout. That means you go up and down in distance. The purpose is to build speed endurance and help the body adjust to different paces that may take place during a race. I started with one mile then worked down to 800 meters then 400 meters then I went back up and down. I want my body to be able to get used to changing paces so it doesn’t get too comfortable. Gains are made when the body constantly has to adjust. I find these workouts effective in helping the body get used to the intense effort of a race. I gave myself 1:30 to 1:45 of rest between each rep.

Day 2–Usually, I start a new week with an easy short run or a long run. However, there were extenuating circumstances that caused me to adjust. I took a day off in between the interval workout and this day’s run which was a tempo run. A tempo run builds endurance and strength because you run a fast pace. It helps the body feel a more intense effort for a continued and sustained period of time without rest like you’d get in an interval workout. A tempo run mimics a race, basically. If you’re training for a marathon, I feel tempo runs should be done at least at marathon pace. I prefer to do them faster than marathon pace but slower than half marathon pace.

Day 3–The was the traditional long run. Usually, there should be at least be one day off between the harder workouts of the week (long run, tempo, speed/intervals). Again, there were extenuating circumstances so I adjusted. One week of back-to-back tough workouts isn’t going to harm me. The long run builds endurance and helps the body get used to running for a long period of time because that’s what you do in a marathon. Your body has to be used to working for a long period of time before you race a marathon otherwise it won’t be able to handle the distance. Makes sense, right?

How did I feel? Day 1–Good. I feel like I’m slowly getting back to where I was before the Berlin Marathon. The cooler weather helped with my times. I felt my legs held up better than the previous couple speed/interval workouts. I could’ve completed another set of reps if I wanted but it’s best not to do too much too soon.

Day 2–Good. Today was a day I felt I was “slower” than what I was. Anytime I can run this route under 50 minutes, it’s a good day. I was able to do that even if it was only by two seconds. Even though I felt “slower” I still thought my pacing was fine for my first tempo run of at least 8 miles in over four months. One thing I noticed again is my mental outlook. It’s best to go into tougher workouts thinking–“I’m just going to do the best I can today.” It sounds corny but it’s true. When I get hung up on running at a certain pace, I usually have a subpar workout. When I just go out and run and am not as concerned about hitting a certain pace that’s when I have a good workout.

Day 3–Good. I took this run at a comfortable pace. I started off slow and built up, negative splitting each 6-mile segment and also negative splitting the second 9 miles. My last mile was also my fastest. This was encouraging as it shows I’m regaining my endurance and leg strength. I felt ok after the run. Yes, my legs were worn but not that bad. I wasn’t tired or exhausted. The cooler weather did help as it made the run easier.  I think the key to a good long run is to start very easy and pick up the pace. This saves energy and fuel for the legs. If you start too fast, you’re likely to have exhausted legs at the end. That’s never good.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #17 Day 4 A Modified Tempo Run

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunny, 79 degrees, 42-55% humidity

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 11.02 miles

Type of route: Gradual uphill and downhill around the Rose Bowl, one uphill climb and one downhill descent

Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, 11 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:50 overall (6:26 for miles run at marathon race pace)

Average heart rate: 149

Reason for Run: A tempo run builds speed, strength and endurance. It’s a run done at a comfortably hard pace. For marathon training, I like to have tempo runs be in the range of 8 to 12 miles and done at least at marathon race pace speed. I modified today’s tempo run. Instead of running the whole distance hard, I alternated between 2 miles easy and 2 miles at marathon race pace with the last mile being done at marathon race pace also. This run was done only two days after running 22 miles at a moderate pace for a long run. I wanted to wait three days after the long run to do my tempo run but I will be unable to run tomorrow and Friday due to my work schedule. 22 miles puts a little wear and tear on the legs so I didn’t want to further fatigue them and risk injury by running the entire 11 miles hard. The Berlin Marathon is less than three weeks away. I don’t want to take any chances.

How did I feel? Fine. I was able to average a 6:26 per mile pace for the miles I did run hard. That time was within my marathon race pace range of 6:15 to 6:30. The weather was nicer today than it has been in a while so that was nice. My legs felt fine after the run. There is some fatigue from all the miles I’ve been putting on them lately but I’m impressed with the way they’re holding up. That being said, I’m trying not to overextend myself because I don’t want to risk injury so close to race day.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #8 Day 4 A Strong Tempo Run At Sunset

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Sunny but with a setting sun, 84 degrees

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 8.02 miles

Type of route: Some slight gradual inclines and declines with one downhill descent and one uphill descent

Time: 48 minutes, 23 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:02

Average heart rate: 162

Reason for Run: A tempo run is a hard run meant to improve endurance, strength, speed and mental toughness. The goal is to run comfortably hard. That means you should go fast but not race pace fast. After the run you should feel some fatigue but not exhausted. Ideally, you want to feel as if you have a little left in the tank if you had to go longer. If you want to run fast in a race then you have to run fast during training. That’s what a tempo run is for.

Fontana Payday Pic Edit
My first “paycheck” from running has finally arrived. This is from winning the Fontana Days 5k in June. Maybe I should quit my day job now 😉 

How did I feel? Good but you’d think great based on my time. I kicked butt on this tempo run but I didn’t feel like I was kicking butt. I was a little tired overall and my legs were still slightly fatigued from the long run two days prior.  Before this run started, I expected it to be a solid tempo run but one with a slower pace than my tempo runs the past few weeks. I took off to start and kept a hard pace that I felt I could handle. After seeing the first mile split of 6:00 I was surprised but I kept pushing myself. I wanted to slow down but I just told myself to keep the pace. I did mostly.  I slowed down slightly after the second mile but not by much. My pacing was consistent. My slowest mile was mile 7 at 6:13. But that mile was the hardest with most of it being uphill. After the run, I couldn’t figure out why I ran so well despite feeling tired before the run. Sometimes, good days are unexpected. Those days are welcome. I was pleased.



Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #7 Day 4 A Quality Tempo Run at Night

Location: Pasadena, CA.

Temperature: Clear evening sky, 66 degrees

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 7.68 miles

Type of route: Gradual inclines and declines with some flat areas, one downhill descent and one uphill climb

Time: 47 minutes, 52 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:14

Average heart rate: 154

Reason for Run: A tempo run is designed to build speed, endurance and strength. It helps the body get used to a hard race effort. The goal is to run comfortably hard. I’ve been slowly increasing the distance of my tempo runs to build endurance and speed at the same time. If you want to race hard, you need to run hard during training. My pace was faster than my goal marathon pace but slower than my half marathon pace. This is good because I want to be able to complete long tempo runs at a pace slightly faster than or around my goal marathon pace of between 6:20 and 6:30. My body can now get used to the pace and distance and make adaptations. If I run too fast, I risk injury because I’d be wearing out my legs.

How did I feel? Good. My mile splits were generally consistent except when I had to hill climb up Rosemont Street from the Rose Bowl 5k loop. Anytime you climb a hill you’ll slow down so this wasn’t worrisome. It was nice running as the sun was setting. The temperature was cool and I felt I had a solid groove throughout the run.

Running With You,


Berlin Marathon Training Week #6 Day 3 A Very, Very, Very Early Tempo Run

Location: Tulare, CA.

Temperature: Clear, 78 degrees with roughly 75% humidity

Type of Run: Tempo

Length: 7.27 miles

Type of route: Flat

Time: 45 minutes, 14 seconds

Pace per mile: 6:13

Average heart rate: 156

Reason for Run: A tempo run helps build stamina and speed. A tempo run is a hard run designed to help the body adapt to race-like conditions when the pace will be fast. The idea is to run comfortably hard.

How did I feel? Good. I was in Tulare for work. High temperatures in Tulare this week have been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t cool down to under 90 until well after dark so running during the day after work would’ve been foolish and a threat to my health as I would risk heat stroke. How did I solve this problem? I woke up really, really, really early. How early? I got out of bed at 2:45am! I started my run at 3:30am after warming up. Yes, this was a very early run. It was the only time temperatures were cool enough to run. It was still warm and felt even warmer thanks to the high humidity. However, I didn’t have to worry about the sun beating on me. When I finished my run I was covered in sweat as if I jumped into a pool. That’s because the moisture in the air doesn’t allow the sweat to evaporate off my body as efficiently. This actually makes it harder for my body to cool down so one has to be careful when running in humid conditions so one doesn’t overheat.

My pacing for this tempo run was solid. My mile splits ranged from 6:10 to 6:16 so I was consistent though the flat route I ran helped with that. I did wear reflective gear and a headlamp so the few cars that were out could see me. The neighborhood I was in was quiet so it made for a pleasant run as I had nothing to stress about as far as cars or anything else. It was quite an experience running that early although I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are an experienced runner because you have to watch for bumps on the sidewalks and streets and for cars (drivers don’t expect to see pedestrians or runners at that time so they may not be paying total attention).  Also, you have to know your surroundings in case bad people might be around. It also helps to have a cell phone just in case something happens.

Running With You,