Fast enough to crank out a blog post in about 30 minutes.
When I had my once-ago blip of being a run instructor, back up until as late as last spring, we followed a pretty standard training program. Long slow runs. Speed work. Hills. And, of course, tempo training.
While my BIG race goal is still, now, 8 months away, there are a group of folks who currently are on the mad dash towards first-marathon-dom for early June, which means they are generally doing the type of training I feel like I should be doing, but for which I don’t push myself too hard with… because… well… 8 months away, y’know?
Last night they were doing quote… tempos…. unquote.
Now, tempo training –better known perhaps as threshold training — as I’ve understood it is meant to be a run that is comfortable but tough. You push yourself to go into a running zone that forces your body to adjust to better using the chemical by-products of metabolism. As you exercise, lactic acid builds up in your muscles. Our bodies work just hard enough to clean this out of our muscles, but our bodies are not wasteful. They work JUST hard enough. Just. So, with a tempo run, the idea is to push that boundary, forcing that just-hard-enough-bar a little higher, so that muscle fatigue happens at a higher boundary. You push the threshold. You’re not training your lungs or anything more broadly fitness-related so much as you’re confusing your body with regards to how it handles the waste products of your exercise.
Better waste handling = less tired muscles.
Less tired muscles = longer, faster runs.
We did a fast…ish run last night. We called it a tempo run, but I think we were confusing fast with tempo… or at least it felt that way. So… yeah. Tempos are great, but they gotta be right or they’re not tempos.
It wasn’t a bad run. It was a pleasant, fast-ish run in some awesome weather. But it was more like quasi-not-quite-tempo. Just saying.
Not fast enough to retype my damn novel anytime soon.
I’d like to think that I’m finally reaping the benefits of that run-every-day effort of a few weeks ago. I’ve been noticing that –particularly when I go out on my own and I’m not throttling my pace against other people– my speeds have been up. Last night, for example, I went out for what I planned to be an easy run, but what turned into a relatively speedy run. Total distance was 8.75 klicks. My average pace was 5:25 min/km. Not exactly record-setting, I know, but two things: this was (a) literally my second-fastest average pace in 2015 to date, the fastest being that awesome 5k I ran on January 1, and (b) roughly 40 sec/km faster than I was doing for the same distances/routes only about two months ago. I think that’s worth noting, don’t you?
Apparently a few characters per second faster than my brain works.
During last nights speed repeats (in the 30 degree heat no less) I managed to set a personal pace record: 400m in 1:33 or a 3:52 min/km pace. Musta been solar powered.
On the short flight from Edmonton to Grand Prairie, other than the delay, the trip was fairly typical and mundane, at least as far as forty-five minute regional puddle-jumps go.
On the reverse flight home we apparently had something interesting happen.
I’ve done these short flights plenty of occasions previous, on this and similiar routes. Usually it goes something like this: wait hours in the airport, board the plane and wait some more, take off, have a very quick coffee, and finally land.
We were at about the coffee phase when the captain came over the intercom to do the standard greeting.
Now, I don’t know how fast a passenger airliner typically flies. And seeing as how I’m writing this from cell phone and don’t feel like looking it up, I’m going to say that cruising speed seems to me to be right around 500 – 600 mph — or so I remember from those in-flight digital maps they put up on the screen. That, according to my rough calcualtions, is about 800 – 900 kph.
The captain — or was it the co-pilot? — came over the intercom, his voice a little more upbeat than I would have expected. We had a 160 kph tail wind, he told us, and as a result we were going really, really fast. From his voice you could tell he was pumped. He continued, and had he been standing there looking at me I’m sure he would have been wearing one of those kids-at-christmastime grins as he announced our current cruising speed was 1037 kph.
I don’t know about you, but while I’ve certainly gone fast numerous times in my life, I don’t recall a time I’ve knowingly been going that close to mach one — a mere 200 kph or so faster. That was just really cool.