Tempo runs are another type of speed workout that help to create a certain level of discomfort in your runs in order to increase your racing performance. (Others you should consider are the fartek and interval training)
Why should you Tempo Train?
This running workout will push you to run harder and faster for longer periods of time. This is done by increasing your anaerobic threshold (the point where oxygen is not being delivered fast enough to the muscles and causing lactic acid to build up and fatigue to set in.) By increasing your anaerobic threshold you are helping your body to adapt to running at a faster pace while pushing fatigue off allowing you to run faster for longer periods of time without tiring so easily.
Training your body to resist reaching it's anaerobic threshold is so beneficial when it comes to the marathon and half-marathon when we want to go long distances and do not want to tire to quickly. They are also easy and fun to run and all and are the perfect workout for those who are just starting a speed training phase.
If you are trying to beat a time goal then tempo workouts should definitely be a part of the meat of your speed training plan.
How to Perform Tempo Runs
best part about running tempos is that they can be varied and mixed up
depending on how you are feeling on that day. Here is a step by step guide:
As with all speed workouts
you must make sure you are warmed up before you start to challenge
yourself at running a faster than normal pace. With tempo running
however, your warm-up should just consist of about 10-12 minutes of easy
running (about 1-2 miles).
After you have warmed up you will want to increase your speed. The thing to keep in mind with tempos is that they are NOT fartleks! You do not want to be running as fast as you can, recovery run and then go all out again.
Tempos should be run at a slightly faster pace than your marathon time goal. For example, if your marathon time goal is 8:30 minutes per mile (finishing the marathon at 3:42:52 -
check out our pace chart.)
you should be running your tempos at about 8:00 - 8:15 minutes per mile.
Run at a pace that would be difficult to carry on a conversation with somebody. This is usually a good tempo pace. Otherwise try and go about 15-30 seconds per mile faster than your time goal.
workouts really can last as long as you want them to or feel that you
are able to keep up the faster pace but it is good to set a time goal in
your mind. Push yourself for 12 minutes of tempo running, then recovery
run for about 12 minutes. When training for a marathon, challenge
yourself to be able to run 30 minutes of tempo running. Build up to this
A good tempo workout is strategized and has “tempo
segments”. For example, start with running easy for your warm-up, then
run 12-15 minutes at tempo pace, recovery jog for 12-15 minutes and then
run another 12-15 minute tempo segment. Don’t forget too cool down with
some easy running.
For more information on how to beat your time goal, find out how fast you can run by taking our Vo2 Test and using our calculators, and how to train at and what paces to train at to make your time goal consider the Runner's Pace Kit. It's the smart tool that any serious runner with a time goal would want.