Elevate Your Running With Tempo Sessions
There’s one running session we should all do – tempo training
What’s the one form of running training everyone should do – from beginner to elite to PB-chaser? It’s not long steady runs. It’s not sprints. The session everyone should do regularly is tempo training. And here’s why.
What are tempo runs?
Tempo running is a kind of speed work, but it’s the sort that you can do every week without needing days to recover. Unlike sprints or hard intervals, tempo runs get you running longer distances at a slightly faster pace. The result is a big boost in your fitness and endurance, so your “base” pace increases without you noticing!
How to define tempo running
By effort: tempo runs should feel “comfortably hard”, like you can carry on but need to keep pushing.
By pace: usually around your 10K pace (or the hardest pace you can run for an hour)
By heart rate: at 85%-90% of your maximum heart rate
3 big benefits of tempo running
Boost your lactate threshold: tempo runs specifically keep you running at that lactate threshold, so your body gets more efficient at running “comfortably hard” and clearing lactate.
Running performance: your lactate threshold is directly linked to running performance. Tempo runs will translate to faster race times, better recovery, and quicker baseline pace for regular runs.
Mental strength: tempo running is tough, and you’ll need to keep pushing through. This is a really good way to get used to the mental side of running which will stand you in good stead for races.
Tempo running for beginners
You only need two types of tempo training sessions. These will see you through from beginner to intermediate and life-long runner – and you’ll keep improving!
Sustained tempo runs
This means running one steady block at your tempo pace. It could be 15 minutes or 40 minutes but the point is to hold your pace and effort.
Add warm up miles and cool down time at the end to create a longer total workout.
Start with 10 minutes warm up, 10 minutes at your tempo pace, and 5 minutes cool down then increase your tempo section.
You can also do tempo runs as intervals – but remember to stick to that tempo pace (no faster). Tempo repetitions should be a mile long, with just 60-90 seconds recovery.
How often should you do tempo runs?
Most people would benefit from doing a tempo run once a week. This will do wonders for your fitness, metabolism, and training progress.
If you’re struggling to recover from weekly tempo runs, look at the rest of your training week. Are you taking enough rest days? Are your harder runs spaced out appropriately?
Getting fitter through running isn’t complicated. Do a long run every week. Make the rest of your runs quality (tempo, speed work). Increase your total mileage gradually. Keep an eye on recovery, and take deload weeks.
Tempo running is your secret weapon to getting fitter, leaner, stronger, and faster. Doesn’t that sound great?
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