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Tempo Pep Talk

by Meghann on March 28, 2012

I’ve been slacking on my speed workouts again. Specifically, I’ve been slacking on my tempo runs. When I was training for the St. Pete half in February, I lived and breathed tempo runs. They were a required part of my weekly training and I could see improvements in my pace with every run. When people ask how I was able to shave so much time off of my previous PR, I tell them one thing: tempo runs!

Now I’m full of excuses as to why I’ve been slacking (or maybe just one: traveling), but none of those excuses make up for the fact that today’s tempo run wasn’t as easy as it should have been. I had 7 miles on deck with 4 miles at tempo pace (8:00 min/mi). Not bad, right? I just ran 13.1 miles at an 8:04-ish pace a little more than a month ago and could push through a 7:50 min/mi tempo pace before that. I thought I had this.

The first two miles were my warm-up miles. I took them nice and easy and fell into an 8:45-ish pace. After mile 2 I kicked it into gear, but my slack-attitude had caught up to me and holding the tempo pace was harder than I thought it would be. My legs hated me and my mind was playing tricks on me, trying to find a way to get me to give up. I ignored it and pushed on.

The miles weren’t that bad of a pace (8:06 and 8:10), but I didn’t like the way I felt. Tempo runs are not supposed to be easy and they’re not supposed to be fun, but they’re not supposed to be terrible either. I did a tempo run no-no and took a break to give myself a bit of a pep-talk at mile 4. I drank some water, reminded myself that I CAN do this and headed out for the final half of my run.

The next miles were a little easier. I found my pace for the the 3rd mile (8:01) and started to feel so good that I pushed past it for my last (7:48). Where was that energy for the first 2? Maybe a good pep talk was all that I needed.

I circled back home for my cool down and ran the last half of a mile with Maddie.

7 miles. Done.

And a lesson learned. No more slacking – this means business. The Tampa Tri Team track workouts have picked up again and I’m looking forward to doing speed workouts with them starting next week. Can’t wait. 🙂

I had some leftover ricotta in the fridge from Sunday night’s stuffed shells and decided a big bowl of cannoli cereal was in order.


  • 1/2 cup Quaker Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares
  • 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch
  • ricotta
  • mini chocolate chips
  • fig jam
  • strawberries


I love the way ricotta, chocolate chips, and jam turns a cereal bowl into a cannoli dessert. It’s one of my favorite morning treats when ever we have ricotta in the house. If you love cannolis – try this combination to get your cannoli fix. 😉

Run is done.

Breakfast is done.

Time to get to work.

Happy Hump Day!   

1 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

I’ve come to dread tempo runs… I have half on sunday and I’ve learned a lot about training recently. I feel like I’ve actually gotten slower over the past month or so and I think that’s because I’ve been focusing more on distance and not speed. Also, I’ve been slowing down my pace in general because I’ve been sore so much. Clearly my 3 days of strength training plus 4 days of running was just too much.
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..WIAW–Quinoa Style

2 Mary @ food and fun on the run March 28, 2012 at 10:41 am

Definitely! Pace runs and tempo runs are the best way to get faster! I had an awesome 7 mile tempo last week, and it made me feel so much better about my upcoming marathon!
Mary @ food and fun on the run recently posted..How Not To Be a Race Day Spaz

3 Meg March 28, 2012 at 10:53 am

When I ran cross country in high school, I used to dread tempo and fartlek runs. Stick me on the track for intervals, and I was happy as could be. For some reason, a hundred years later, tempo runs still make me feel a little nervous. I get anxious butterflies in my stomach leading up to them, but I always feel better once they’re done. To help me get through these workouts, I found a group of runners who are significantly faster than me. I asked if I could join one of their runs per week to use as a speed workout… they were totally open to it. We worked out a system where I do a mile warm-up on my own, meet and run 5-6 miles with the group, and basically go based on feel. I’m breathing hard the whole time and my pace usually hovers around or below my targeted one. The runners don’t get offended if I can’t talk (for many of them, this is their fun run pace) and I don’t feel bad if I fall back a bit – it gives me something to work toward: that day when I will be running with them and consider it my “fun run” and not a speed workout. Honestly, this is has been the best form of speed training that has drastically improved my performance. Last year at this time, I ran an 8K with an average pace of 8:52. Two weeks ago, I ran a half marathon with an average pace of 7:48. To get through these workouts, I had to make them fun, so maybe that will work for you, too!
Meg recently posted..The Big Business of Race Expos

4 Allison March 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

I have been so bad with my speed work too. When I fully commit I notice a huge difference. Uuhhhhhh got to be more disciplined!
Allison recently posted..Finding Comfort

5 Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

I would LOVE to be able to hold an 8:00 pace.. go you!
Jessica @ The Process of Healing recently posted..“Feel the Burn”

6 Chelsea March 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

I would definitely leave the gun; your ‘cannoli’ breakfast looks divine! Fruit, cheese, and oatmeal squares–could it get more delicious than that? Have a happy Wednesday!
Chelsea recently posted..So Many Flaws, So Many Good Intentions

7 Beka March 28, 2012 at 11:29 am

I’m with Jessica! 8:00/mi is something that is still quite a bit off in the distance for me, but I am determined to get there this year!

The mango cupcakes look delicious. I am going to have to try the recipe 🙂
Beka recently posted..LONG Weekend Wrap Up!

8 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City March 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

I love having ricotta cheese and chocolate chips for dessert. Yum!
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..WIAW {03-28-2012}

9 Serena March 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

I always feel like s–terrible for the first 2 miles of every run. I take so long to warm up. I don’t have energy until going into mile 3.
Serena recently posted..Motivation and derailment

10 Lena @Fit on the Rocks March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I most definitely did not do my speed runs for my first half, but I’ve definitely seen the benefits of them this time around for my 2nd! I’m seeing improvements almost every week. No pain- no gain right?
Lena @Fit on the Rocks recently posted..Back Into the Groove

11 Carrie March 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I don’t mind tempo runs, but speed intervals kill me! It takes a LOT of motivation for me to do those.
Carrie recently posted..Recipe: Whole Wheat, Low Fat, Vegan Bran Muffins

12 Megan @ Megan's Munchies March 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Love the cannoli cereal idea! I definitely NEED to try that!
Megan @ Megan’s Munchies recently posted..Cappucino Toppers and Walmart Gift Card Giveaway

13 Emily N March 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Glad your pep talk worked and helped you kick it up for your last two tempo miles.
Emily N recently posted..Money Money Money…

14 Sloane @ My Life in Florida March 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I love all your breakfast ideas!! They look so great and healthy!
Sloane @ My Life in Florida recently posted..Sorry Bacon… I have a new love!

15 Running Girl March 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Love the cannoli recipe, loathe tempo work. 🙂 I know i’ll get better at it if I just stick with it, but it’s painful. And, I’m nowhere near being able to hold an 8 min mile. 🙂
Running Girl recently posted..Bright & early

16 Justine Duppong @ Life With Cheeseburgers March 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Mmm, that ricotta breakfast is right up my alley. I’m a fan of ricotta, cottage cheese, and yogurt concoctions!
Justine Duppong @ Life With Cheeseburgers recently posted..“Cheeseburger” Cookies: Perfect Kid Project!

17 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 28, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Tempo runs can be SO hard 😉 But you’ve got this!
Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife recently posted..Causation and Correlation

18 Taylor March 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Do you use regular/full-fat ricotta or fat-free? I’ve tried fruit with fat-free ricotta but I find the texture too grainy or something for my taste..thinking perhaps i should try again with regular.

19 Meghann March 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I use part-skim ricotta. I really can’t taste a difference.

20 Taylor March 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Got it; thanks!

21 Niki March 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm

umm, cannoli breakfast? yum!
Niki recently posted..Sorry not sorry.

22 Erika March 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Ugh, I just wrote about my love/hate relationship with speed training today, I was discouraged. Nice to know I am not alone! I have a tempo run tomorrow. I will definitely be giving myself some pep talks throughout!
Erika recently posted..I Guess I Didn’t Really Have the Need for Speed

23 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama March 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I have seen stellar results with my speed training. I shaved 8 minutes off my PR when I added tempo and speed training. So important!

Pep talks always do the trick! Nothing like a little dose of “Get it together! You’ve got this!” to kick it into high gear!
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Road ID Review + Giveaway

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