Tempo Running

What is a tempo run?

Also known as a lactate threshold run, this is done at a pace that sits between your aerobic and anerobic energy systems. In other words, this is the highest speed you can maintain aerobically, whereby your body is just able to clear the acidosis it produces and prevent any buildup.

3 common definitions include:

  1. Comfortably hard. Faster than a steady run such that you can hold brief conversations.  If you prefer running “by feel” (aka perceived effort), this may be the most helpful definition for you.
  2. The pace you could race for an hour: For most runners, this is equivalent to their 10-15k pace.
  3. 85-90% of maximum heart rate (maximum heart rate = 220 – Age)

How is it beneficial to me? 

  • It improves your anaerobic threshold.
  • This particularly benefits athletes racing 5K to the marathon because the physiological adaptations are most specific to the demands of those races.
  • Simulates the experience of emotions (e.g. grit, perseverance) you would encounter in a race.

What types of tempo runs can I do? 

While tempo runs can come in a variety of flavours, there are three major categories.

  • Sustained Tempo Runs – defined as one “block” of running at tempo pace. Such runs should be capped at roughly 40mins as longer efforts do not necessarily lead to a proportional improvement. Beginners or recently recovered athletes should begin with 10-15mins and work towards gradually increasing the duration of the run.
  • Tempo Repetitions: This workout is similar to intervals, except that they are done at your tempo pace and for a longer duration. The recovery is kept to a short 60-90 seconds. This is to enable you to progress to running a longer sustained tempo effort.
  • Sandwich Sessions –This is a workout that’s broken down into different segments, such as running a tempo followed by shorter faster reps or a hill session. This is to hit multiple paces within one workout and also great for pace judgment in races.

Most plans will have you progress from tempo repetitions to sustained tempo runs. Once you are comfortable doing a certain tempo repetition (e.g. 2 x 10min efforts), the next goal is to do 20mins continuously as a sustained tempo run.

ALL of my training plans include tempo runs, which feature regularly throughout the plan.

For more information please get in touch today run@stockportpersonaltraining.com