Tempo runs (also known as lactate threshold runs or just threshold 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.
There are many benefits to tempo training
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 too quickly.
Tempo workouts should not be the hardest runs that you do but should provide you the base and support to do your hardest runs.
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.
First, are you training for a time goal in a race or are you simply trying to become a faster runner? If you are training for a race time goal you will need to look at your pace per mile and then take some time off of that as you will see below.
If you are just trying to become faster in general you can go more by your perceived level of exertion as I will show you below as well.
In general terms you should be running at a pace that makes you look forward to having your tempo workout end as it should be hard but absolutely manageable to sustain for the required time.
Here are some more guidelines on what your tempo pace should be:
Our training tool, Train Faster + Smarter will tell you your tempo pace based off of your current running fitness level.
The best part about running tempos is that they can be varied and mixed up depending on how you are feeling on that day.
There are two main styles of tempo training.
Here are some tips for all tempo workouts:
Tempo runs can be performed early on in a training plan. If you are training for a time goal you will definitely want to be incorporating them in the first 2-3 weeks of your training depending on the length of your training plan.
When training to increase your speed of reach a time goal, I would suggest doing a tempo run every week. Some plans and coaches will have you do a tempo workout 2x in one week or 2 within a 10 day time period.
We include tempo runs in all of our Break a Time Goal 16 Week Marathon Training Plans starting in the early stages of the training plan. They are scheduled once a week. You begin slowly and gradually increase the length of your tempo runs throughout your training plan until your race taper. These tempo runs are crucial for helping you sustain your pace during a race and in making your marathon or half marathon race pace feel more comfortable while pushing back the time it takes your body to fatigue! You can go the distance faster!
These are the time goal marathon training plan that we currently offer!
I'd love to send you my FREE 26-page Step by Step Guide on How to Train for a Marathon!