Last night the plan was for me to complete my first tempo run. A tempo run usually includes a warm up at your normal pace, a middle period of running at a harder (but not sprinting) pace than your normal and a cool down. A good guide is to make your tempo pace about 30 to 40 seconds faster than your normal pace - it should be hard, but not a serious struggle.
Anyway, my Garmin wasn't charged (seriously, how did I live before that thing) so that made tracking my pace pretty hard. I know the exact distance of one quick route by my house - it's 1.2 miles. I decided to just run that at a harder than normal pace and time it with the stopwatch on my iPod.
When I got home, I checked the stopwatch and I clocked in at an 10:24, which is about an 8.5 minute mile. You have to understand, my normal pace is slowww. Like a 10.5 minute mile or slower. I was so proud of myself, I almost cried! (For what it's worth, an 8.5 minute mile is probably more like a sprint for me than a tempo run. A tempo run for me would be 10 minute miles or a little under)
Also, for the record, it was insanely hard. Way harder than running 3 + miles at my normal pace. I was out of breath and felt my legs use different muscles than they normally use.
I'm so glad I tried something different and surprised myself. I plan to incorporate more speed work in the future!
Do you incorporate any sort of speed work in to your running?