First long tempo - brutal as normal!

Workout:  19 miles with 2x2 miles @5:40 at beginning, 3 miles @whatever I can muster (eventual goal is to hold 5:40s - but I've done  enough marathon training cycles to know that type of strength doesn't come until about 3-4 weeks to race day!).

Actual:  19 miles with 2 miles in 11:29 (5:41, 5:48), 11:45 (5:45, 6:00), 3 miles at end in 6:07, 6:12, and 5:55 for the first .4 (then watch died).  (first .2 of the 3rd mile were downhill - yeah!)

Pat Foley biked the first two tempo segments with me, which was so great.  Pretty sure I would have stopped during that 4th mile if not for him (since by the end I was really struggling).  But I did those two, and although not at goal pace,  I think this is the fastest I've started my long tempo segments  of any training cycle.  Woot, woot! :)

Not really what Pat looks like. Or his bike.

Pat peeled off for home and I walked to the Kwik Trip bathroom, praying I would make it. My stomach was NOT happy and I felt sick. That's the sign of a great tempo effort! Ha! After some time there, I seriously gave thought to just lying on the floor and sleeping. I didn't, that would be gross. Plus, I still had a lot of workout left... not a fun realization when you're not feeling so hot.

I ran back home, picked up Mesa for the in between miles, and then dropped her off before the start  of the last fast 3. I know I wasn't supposed to, but I stopped and stretched and gave myself a mental pep talk before starting these. This is a bad habit of mine - stopping before hard segments in a long run. I'm supposed to just change gears (so it's truly a long run vs. just a lot of segments). Before, I could get away with segmenting them. Now, well, I need to make myself as strong as I can, no short-cuts, no cheating!

The 3 miles were rough. My legs aren't super strong yet, so I could feel the mileage already. Trying to go fast on tired legs is tough! But, this is what counts in the marathon. Long run strength. So I sucked it up and did the best I could. All I could muster were the times posted above. Not anywhere close to 5:40s, but hey, I'm proud of myself!

So - first long tempo run is in the bank.  Yeah! Now on to logging a ton of miles for the rest of the week :).  How many weeks before Chicago?  Oh yeah, just 13.5.  That's a little scary!

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!


  1. Yay for completing your first long run tempo! You should certainly be proud of yourself! I know your trying not to segment these runs, but when you're not feeling good, I think it's expected. Plus, I'm sure Mesa enjoyed the run! When you say your legs aren't strong yet, are you referring to weight lifting or more endurance?
    PS I totally had a bike like that when I was a little girl :)

  2. Yeah, indeed! Shows me how much work I have to do, though! :) (that's sort of a fun feeling... chasing something big) But at least I'm starting in a decent spot.

    That long-run strength is the strength to be in control of the legs at the end of a long run & pick it up to MP or faster. Nothing but these "tempo at the end of a long run" workouts can help with that strength & it takes a while to get there.

    PS - I want to find one of these to ride around NF for errands! Ha!!

    1. Thanks for the strength explanation! I'll be sure to add that to my training :) PLEASE get a bike like that and get pics of you around town!