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Tempo Runs

October 4, 2011

I had a great (what was supposed to be a) tempo run tonight. I say supposed to be because it wasn’t quite a tempo run. In a traditional tempo run you typically run the first 1/3 of the run at an easy pace, the middle 1/3 at a tougher pace like 10k pace, and the last 1/3 at the same easy pace as the first 1/3. Tonight I let my competitive nature take over on the tempo run and I ended up running the last part of the run too fast trying to see how good I could get my overall pace.

Run Stats

Mile 1 8:44

Mile 2 8:28

Mile 3 8:22

Mile 4 7:37

Mile 5 7:54

Mile 6 8:39

Mile 7 8:41

Mile 8 8:16

The splits are kind of funny because the laps at the park I was running at are 1.33 miles a piece so I did 2 laps easy, 2 laps tough, and 2 laps “easy”.

Tempo runs can be an important part of training because the middle third of the run is supposed to teach your body to adapt to running at a faster pace.

According to Runners World, tempo runs should vary for you depending on what distance your training for. 2-3 mile tempo runs are adequate for 5k training, 4-6 miles for 10k, 6-8 for half marathon, and 8-10 for marathon can be beneficial.

For me, I find that running a tempo pace no matter the distance helps me to improve my pace over the life of my training plan, which in turn, helps my race performance. I’m a firm believer that you can’t run fast unless you practice running fast.

Interested in trying a tempo run?

Check out these tempo run workouts from active.com

Traditional Tempo

Begin and end the run with a 1-mile warm-up/cool-down. Run these beginning and ending miles at an easy conversational pace. Run the miles in between at a pace that’s 30-45 seconds slower than your 5K race pace. (Example: 1-mile warm-up; 2-miles @ tempo pace; 1-mile cool-down)

Tempo Intervals

Begin and end the run with a 1-mile warm-up/cool-down. Run these beginning and ending miles at an easy conversational pace. For the miles in between, alternate between a 5-minute fast and a 5-minute slow interval. The fast intervals should be run at a pace that’s 25-30 seconds slower than your 5K race pace. Continue alternating the fast and slow intervals until you reach the last cool-down mile. (Example: 1-mile warm-up; 3-miles alternating 5-min fast pace/5-min slow pace intervals; 1-mile cool-down)

Race-Pace Tempo

This tempo run is particularly good when training for a half or full marathon. Begin and end the run with a 1-mile warm-up/cool-down. Run the miles in between at your half or full marathon race pace. (Example: 1-mile warm-up; 4-miles @ race pace; 1-mile cool-down)

Negative Split Tempo

This tempo run is great for teaching your mind and body that you can “pull-it-out” on the back-half of a run. Run the first half of the run at an easy conversational pace. Run the back-half at tempo pace creating a negative split. (Example: Run out 3 miles @ easy pace; Run back 3 miles @ tempo pace)

 

Do you use tempo runs in your running routine?

brittsig

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2011 7:17 AM

    I both hate and love tempo runs. I hate them while I’m running them. They hurt and they make my body and my head say NOOOOOOO…STOP!!! But then when I finish (once I stop feeling terrible) I feel great and like I accomplished something!

  2. October 7, 2011 7:05 AM

    You are SPEEDY!! Nice tempo work! This is something I HAVE to do more of!

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