Today I am going to dig right into training running. There are a variety of running exercises as I mentioned earlier here. So let's jump in! Today, I am reviewing the tempo run.
What is a tempo run?
A tempo run, also known as a threshold run can be incredibly beneficial to your training efforts. Daniels’ Running Formula (Human Kinetics) states: "A tempo run is nothing more than 20 minutes of steady running at threshold pace." Tempo running trains your body to sustain speed throughout long distances. They are specific and consistent in pace. Tempo runs teach your body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently. This type of training run pushes your physical threshold to the point in which the body fatigues at a certain pace. "During tempo runs, lactate and hydrogen ions--by-products of metabolism--are released into the muscles, says 2:46 marathoner Carwyn Sharp, Ph.D., an exercise scientist who works with NASA. The ions make the muscles acidic, eventually leading to fatigue. " Pushing these limits allow runners to become faster and most effective during long distances.
A typical tempo run consists of the sandwich effect, the first part of the run is slow and easy, the middle miles of the run are at a comfortably hard pace and then ending with another slow and easy for cool down. Now what do I mean by comfortably hard? Comfortably hard pace is running to the point of being unable to speak full sentences or hold a conversation while running. This does not mean that you are gasping for air, however, you are pushing hard and making much more of an effort at this pace. Generally, 20 minutes (2-3 miles) can be sufficient enough for a tempo run, however, if you are training for longer distanced events, you will want to cover more milage in your tempo runs. For a 10k, you may want to consider 4-6 mile tempo run. For a half marathon or a full marathon, you want to build up to at least 8 miles and possibly up to 10. Do these tempo runs at peak training periods. It may even be a smart idea to incorporate a tempo run into your weekly training routine. Once a week, throw a tempo run into the mix. Increase your speed when you no longer feel pushed and add miles when you feel that you are comfortable going further. Try this:
Week 1: Run 3 minutes comfortably hard, 1 minute recovery jog (repeat 5 times)
Week 2: Run 4 minutes comfortably hard, 1 minute recovery jog (repeat 5 times)
Week 3: Run 5 minutes comfortably hard, 90 second recovery jog (repeat 5 times)
Continue as you build up to 20 minutes.
Tempo runs have been known to improve race time and push the body's ability to overcome muscle fatigue.
Do you incorporate tempo running into your training? What do your tempo runs look like?