Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tempo V. Threshold, training details (because you asked for it), and more

Training week - Retroactive (Because somebody asked for more training details. Don't get too used to this.)

Sun 10/9 PM
Long (easy)
Course: into "town" and 2x hill loop
Distance: 18.01 miles
Duration: 2:33:43
Pace: 8:33 / mile
Heart Rate: Average: 133 / Max: 158
Weather: 61° F
Notes: Had a great run in perfect temperature. No wind.
Stopped and chatted with friend after mile 6.
Have a head cold, day 3 and getting better (?).

Mon 10/10 PM
Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 43:00
Pace: 8:36 / mile
Equipment: Brooks Launch 2 (Lt blue)
Notes: garmin out of juice

(I am pretty sure I did weights this day, but didn't record it)

Tue 10/11 Rest

Wed 10/12/2011 AM
Distance: 11.65 miles
Duration: 1:30:37
Pace: 7:47 / mile avg.
WU .3@ 10:00 (gravel) and 1.5 @ 8:28
goal 6x5 min hard (interval pace 6:07) w/ 3 minute recoveries @ easy pace

6:15, (8:12 recovery)
6:00, (8:17 recovery),
6:11 (8:51 recovery),
6:09 (interrupted interval to make a stop :( (9:11 recovery)
6:22 (10:19 recovery...dying now)
6:14 (10:34 recovery)
Long cool down 8:50-9 MM

(late note: 
Interval pace is HARD. At least, it is the hardest pace for me to hit and/or maintain. All the other workouts I can usually nail within a few seconds, but I seem to struggle with I pace. )

PM Weights
lunges 1x20 @70.0 lb
squats 1x10 @70.0 lb right after lunges, no rest
decline bench 2x10@ 50.0 lb
crunches 1x40 @(I should be doing more...)

Thurs 10/13 AM

Distance: 7.14 miles
Duration: 1:01:02
Pace: 8:33 / mile
Heart Rate: Average: 132 / Max: 148

Fri 10/14 
3PM Easy
Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 41:23
Pace: 8:17 / mile
Notes: It's always FUN on the treadmill.
VO2 Max: 38.1

late PM Easy
Distance: 5.53 miles
Duration: 46:36
Pace: 8:26 / mile
Heart Rate: Average: 130 / Max: 146
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Notes: Tired legs, felt jittery. Bad eating day. Decided to postpone T pace/ R pace to tomorrow.
VO2 Max: 37.6

Sat 10/15 AM 
Distance: 6.4 miles
Duration: 46:42
Pace: 7:18 / mile avg.
Heart Rate: Average: 146 / Max: 161
Notes: 1.5 mile warm up @8:39
3x 10 minutes -Threshold pace (goal pace 6:40) with 1 minute rest.
10@ 6:43 (took a longer rest to take a layer off)
10@ 6:37 (1 minute @ 9:34 recovery)
10@ 6:40 (1 minute @10:00 recovery
CD @ 8:53

VO2 Max: 45.0

The reason you clicked on this post (kidding)
 The Difference Between Tempo and Threshold Running
an expository piece 
by Small Town Runner
disclaimer: I am NOT a coach. But, if you want a coach, email me. I know a few good ones.

OK, all joking aside, Ilanarama did ask in her comment last post, "What's the difference between "tempo" and "threshold"? She's a student of the game, and I think she probably has her own answer for that question, but just for anyone wondering- here is my differentiation.

Are the two terms interchangeable? I think: Pretty much, but not exactly.

I once heard a podcast where Ryan Hall mentioned his KEY workout before a marathon included 12 miles of steady tempo. (I waited for the punchline....)
The interview asked.."And what pace would that be for you?" Hall politely answered "marathon pace."

The term TEMPO gets thrown around a lot. In general use, I have observed that it means "faster than easy pace and slower than race pace" for most folks. Some people go as far as to use a running calculator (like McMillan or Vdot) to determine their optimal pace for TEMPO training. Others may plug in a training plan to SmartCoach to find tempo pace. Others might wait for their coach to give it to them once a week.

My definition of TEMPO, up to April 2011, was a pace slightly slower than 10K, but faster than half marathon pace, (the pace window given by McMillan's calculator). I usually ran "tempo" for 20-40 minutes steady. All of my graphs in the last post from 2010- April 2011 use "tempo" pace because I had not started doing Daniel's Vdot training yet. Once I started using his training, I converted my jargon.
In Daniels Vdot training, he uses the term THRESHOLD pace running (referring to the pace that is where your muscles begin to accumulate lactate). The pace per mile is essentially the same as McMillan's TEMPO. A 45 min 10K runner would train "tempo" at 7:20-7:39/mile using McMillan; the same person would train at 7:25/mile using Daniels' "threshold" pace.

Daniels is very specific in his instructions that the THRESHOLD pace be for a max duration of 20 minutes (he calls this TEMPO). Any Threshold pace running over 20 minutes should be broken up with easy running (Threshold intervals) or be adjusted slower for every 5 minutes over 20. Therefore, a 40 minute steady threshold/ tempo for the same person would be ran at 7:40, an hour of straight threshold/tempo would be done at 7:57 (marathon pace).

So, that's the difference between the a nutshell.

If you still don't get it, don't worry. I think I just confused myself too.


A consolation prize came in the mail!
I guess that if the overall winner is a Master, that it doesn't bump the second female to overall winner. It doesn't hurt to ask. :)  I still ended up with a discount on shoes..Hm... Maybe I can get up to Portland again within 90 days...?? Probably need 3 more of those to get out of race detention though. Very nice of the RD. I will try to do this race again and will recommend it to others.

 I almost lost the "Mom of the Year" award yesterday.
While making oatmeal at breakfast I accidentally switched cayenne pepper for cinnamon. I am usually pretty liberal with the cinnamon and put a nice, thick coat over the raisins. For some reason it didn't smell right though, and I was able to scrape most of it off before I stirred and handed it to the midgets.

My husband brought home an air-popper for popcorn.  This will be my downfall in one way or another.
Despite reading the directions, I put wayyyyyy too much corn in the machine, turned it on and immediately it started smoking.
After I got the right amount of corn in and it started popping, the kids were practically climbing the counters to get a good show. I had NO idea popcorn could provide so much entertainment. Too bad my 2 year old knows how to plug things in and flip switches. This will be one of those things I have to hide in a secret compartment so the house doesn't go down in flames.

 How does my six-year-old do it? Are all boys like this? He figured out how to make a harness out of the rope, and then climbed up and over the branch enough times to completely wind the rope up (to get stuck). He might still be there now. :)

Lastly, a new song that I love!

Have a great weekend/week all!!


  1. OK-it's in your hands Raina. 16 weeks. Just write me a plan. I will trust you researched the heck out of it and know what you're talking about-ha!

    You know I love seeing your training although whether you post it outright or not, I stalk it in your tab:)

    This was really interesting and informative-the paragraph referring to the 20 minutes and 5 minute adjustment. I like the threshold interval runs. 3X15 min. etc. My plan had a lot of these broken up with AR.

    Ha ha on the Cayenne pepper. Reminds me of a Little House on the Prairie episode from way back!

    How did MY son get in YOUR tree-ha! Good thing he was not there or one of the two of them would be hanging from the rope.

    Can't wait for you to race again:)

  2. I'm laughing at your mom of the year faux pas - opps. Nice score on the shoe coupon also...maybe if you can't make it up in 90 days, you can call and see if they'll extend it. Or a nice family Christmas shopping trip to Portland and then pick up your new shoes! :)

    You're training is amazing and I love your explanation...would you train me??? I struggle with I, too.... but mostly T is the bain of my existence. I just like to go long and slooooow!

    Your son in the tree makes me laugh. My boys were totally tree climbers and this summer my son learned that the tree isn't as fun to rappel down as the chimney from the roof. Boy!!!

    Hope you're having fantastic weekend!

  3. Oh I loved this post. I read every. single. word! And I learned a TON! Thank you. Totally makes sense to break up the tempo like this or slow down if going longer...I never could hit the workouts that my brain training book gave for long 6 or 7 miles sometimes 8 at half marathon pace...too much for a training run IMO. I want you to train me too!! I'll pay you to write up my marathon plan. :) okay, maybe not..that would be just too lazy on my part. ;) Elliana is always in the trees...loves to climb!! Oh, and did you use Midget just for me?! Love it! :) Wish you were coming with me tomorrow.

  4. oh and thank you so much for the song!! I love Kari Jobe.

  5. Thanks for sharing this. Kind of makes me want to add in mile intervals to my training. I haven't done them in forever (college days?) but I know they would help. What race distance specifically are you training for these days?

  6. Beautiful song! And, thank you for the training information...every little bit helps me out, even though the more I learn, the more I realize just how much I don't know. :)

  7. This was so informative, Raina! Thanks so much for the running info... and for how to rescue improperly-spiced oatmeal...I have done something similar and felt stumped as to what to do :P Morning brain!

    Did your boy make it out of the tree? totally seems like something one of my boys would do!

  8. Very informative! Thank you :) I totally didn't know the difference!

  9. Your training week looks tough, you are working hard.
    Interesting post with a great picture of your son.

  10. Fortunately, I only keep nutmeg right next to the cinnamon!

  11. Loved reading this.
    So Guru Daniels gives any explanations about breaking up the hard runs like this? Just curious.
    I will surely pick you brain when I design my Boston plan.
    I was just like your son when I was little, always in the trees, trips to ER, broken arm, broken nose (OK, hope your son won't have any of these).
    Now I have a delicate flower of a boy who would rather draw, read, or play on the computer. Ha! You get what you get and you don't get upset. (Disclaimer: I really love everything about my son and would not change a thing..OK, I am exaggerating here...can you tell I am HAPPY?)

  12. Here's a little thing my family STILL talks about when we are all together.

    My grandma always made a big family dinner every Sunday. We knew something was "off" when it was a candlelight dinner. One time she fixed us spaghetti. She accidentally mixed up seasonings, I don't know what she wanted to put in, but instead she put in tons of cinnamon. I don't remember how it tasted, but still over 25 years later we all still talk about it!

  13. I see that life is still amazing out west.

    Very very good read.

  14. A tempo is run at threshold! :-)

    In practice my tempo is ~HMP because I can't run 10K pace in training. Except when I'm trying to run 5K pace. :-)

    Have fun with the popcorn!

  15. As a Daniels follower, I must say the the term "threshold" just sounds so much more hard-core! Not a bad training principle, either!

    Nice work! Btw...where exactly is Podunk, anyway? ;)

  16. Tempo is definitely one of those gray areas. I've read before that it should be a pace you can sustain for a full hour. That slows it down a bit, no? My friends and I usually get sucked in to running it too fast.

    Nice job on the oatmeal with pepper! ; )

  17. Good catch on the cayenne - I find if I put even a pinch in food I give to my kids it's too spicy for them :)

  18. Tricky tricky.. Keep up those tempos but take a look at CrossFit Endurance. You will find alot of research on threshhold, high entensity, but very rarely long runs. I noticed you have a lot of milage. High milage is not necessary for many types of long distance running according to new science. It sounds strange but look into it. I am at my 6 month mark at CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance- never ran past 6 miles, but run a sub two half marathon. Look into it. Keep up the good work! You continue to amaze me. :)

  19. i always thought tempo meant you just finished stronger (faster). Gradually building up speed. I could be wrong. haha. Glad to hear you are doing well! Miss you.Oh and I've done the cayenne thing before, not good!

  20. If you can't make it up to P town, you can always mail the gift certificate to me :-)

    I accidentally made burritos one time and poured spaghetti sauce all over them instead of salsa. Took me awhile to figure out just what went wrong...

  21. Well...I made the burritos on purpose...but I accidentally used the spaghetti sauce... :p

  22. I am LOVING the detailed training post. So awesome to see what you are doing and girl...those intervals made me sweat just thinking about them. I heard Ryan Hall say that too....I want a KEY workout:)

  23. Your training is impressive! Those paces are a hard run for me!

    Good catch on the cayenne, that would be QUITE the surprise at breakfast.

  24. Nice explanation, Raina!

  25. This was a fun read! Thanks for sharing the song and cayenne pepper story! I love my hot air popper, makes the best popcorn!


Please comment! I love hearing from you!!! ♥