Workout of the Week: Tempo Runs

6 Feb

Last week I confessed my love for interval training, but sadly I cannot do the same for tempo runs. Tempo runs are not my friend.

First, let’s define a tempo run. A tempo run is a type of speed workout in which you slowly build speed, reach peak speed about 2/3 of the way through the workout, hold your peak speed for a minute or two, then decrease your speed. It is usually 30-45 minutes long.

10-15 minutes of easy running

15-20 minutes of building speed, reaching peek speed in the last few minutes

5-10 minutes of easy running

How fast and how long you run is completely up to you. Hal says to “feel free to improvise. Improvisation is the heart of  doing a tempo run correctly.”

Ah ha! This is why I dislike tempo runs. Being the type-A planner that I am, improvisation is not in my vocabulary. I need structure! I need specifics!

But if I must improvise, then so be it. Here’s a rough guideline for this week’s Wednesday tempo run that I will not I will try not to take too seriously.

1/2 marathon training: week 4 tempo run

Minute                             Pace

*warm up*

1-10                   easy running (10 minute/mile pace)

*20 minutes of building speed*

10-14                9:30/mile pace

14-18                9/mile pace

18-22                8:30/mile pace

22-24               8/mile pace

24-26               8:30/mile pace

26-28               9/mile pace

28-30              9:30/mile pace

*cool down*

30-35              easy running (10 minute/mile pace)

Total of 35 minutes

I’m not crazy about the loosey-goosey format of the tempo run, and I’m also not crazy about the slow, painful building of speed. I mentioned that one of my favorite things about interval training is the frequent breaks. This is not the case with tempo runs. No rest for the weary. BUT tempo runs really work. Tempo runs improve your lactic acid threshold. Translation: you train yourself to tolerate a faster pace before lactic acid builds up in the body and slows you down.

My goal is to get faster, so this week it is my mission to befriend the tempo run.


happy running and thanks for reading 🙂

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2 Responses to “Workout of the Week: Tempo Runs”

  1. emily February 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Good luck with your tempo run! I think tempo runs are hard, too for the same reasons. 🙂

  2. Judy February 13, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Hey Kayli, thanks for explaining tempo:) I thought it was basically trying to maintain goal race pace during the middle 2/3 if the workout

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