On my run last Friday, I had a realization that nearly stopped me in my tracks: I hadn’t done a tempo run in more than two months. Okay, so it’s not as life-blowing as, say, finally accepting I drive a minivan, but after months of weekly fast-paced runs this winter and spring, it was a substantial-for-me bit of time off. It didn’t help matters I had this minor epiphany right before I was going to urge my body to run sub-8:00-minute miles. So I did what any sane woman would do: I cranked Rihanna’s “Disturbia,” and kicked into gear.
I told myself I only had to run fast for 15 minutes. (My marathon tempo runs are typically two or three times that long.) I tried to get into the groove and not look at my Garmin every block. The few times I allowed my eyes to drift down, I pushed harder if it told me my pace had crept over 8:00. As I wiped sweat out of my eyes, I looked forward to slowing down.
Yet as I got warmed up, it became easier to move my legs faster than usual. My mind—and my muscles—were remembering the work I’d done during my not-so-distant marathon. Still, I eagerly awaited the 15-minute mark. When the time came, I stopped and checked my average pace: 7:57. Nice work. But my inner competitive fire had been stoked. Just as I was feeling slightly slacker for “only” doing 15 minutes, will.i.am announced in my earbud he gotta feeling. And, I mean, come on: I dare you to slow down to the Black Eyed Peas!
So I took off. This time I told myself I’d run fast as long as “I Gotta Feeling” lasted. Turns out that’s 4 minutes, 49 seconds. Oh, so close to 20 minutes of tempo total, so I kicked out another block. Checked my trusty pace-keeper again: 7:54.
As Mike Tyson says so wonderfully in The Hangover, “Niiiiiiice.”
What gets you fired up to do speedwork?