Whats the difference between tempo and interval training runs?

Hi All 

Can anyone explain the difference between Tempo and Interval training ?

how do you do them?

I don't want to use anything which involves heartrate as my Forerunner has broke i just want to take my running too the next level.

Any help would be appreciated..


  • Tempo is running distances of around 3-4 miles at your 10k/half marathon pace.

    Intervals are much shorter runs typically 400m-1600m done in sets with rests between each set for recovery.

    Start with tempos for now. Easy to work out. Do a 1mile warm up then 3/4 miles at your 10k/half mara pace then 1 mile warm down. May feel like a bit of a short/easy session but don't worry about that.

  • Simply speaking, tempo is  paces such as Marathon pace, half marathon pace and true tempo pace(5secs slower than HMP although different people have different ideas). You'd tend to run at these paces continuously, anywhere from 4 to 10miles.

    Intervals are the recoveries in between the shorter faster reps at 10k pace and below.  So you'd have sessions like for eg, 10x400 at 5k pace, off 60secs.

    Classic week lay out, would be to have 1 session a week of either, and the rest of your running at easy pace.


  • if anybody could clarify what a "steady run" is - that would also be helpful.

  • Cheers Tim and Steve much appreciated guys..

  • Baldbloke, to some "steady" means easy.

    But following on from the zones I mention above,  I'd class Steady half way in between Easy and Marathon Pace.

    ie, for me, easy pace is 7.15+
    steady is 6.30-7 ish
    MP is 6.15

  • Steady, easy and slow I understand, if only because on the training schedules on this site often say what they are, different paces depending on your race pace. However "Fartlek" has always been a bit of a mystery and "light fartlek" as recommended to for tomorrow is going to be guesswork.

  • You should never light fartleks in front of your girlfriend's mum
  • Sussex Runner (NLR) wrote (see)
    You should never light fartleks in front of your girlfriend's mum


    How do you know when it's her turn?

  • Enter your details here and it will give paces for various runs:


  • Nice one Swiss Tony
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