Tempo/threshold runs

Hi all, 

I realised recently that I misunderstood tempo running. What I previously called my 'tempo run' was 10 miles at somewhere between 7:30-8:00/m (8:00m/m is marathon pace for me). So I was running a medium distance at below marathon pace (at marathon pace when I was less fit). I know now that this isn't true tempo training and that tempo runs should be much shorter, or at least with short recoveries in between periods of running at t-pace. The question is do I need to change this. I actually really enjoy this 10mile run as I never change the distance so I always know what shape I'm in when I do one. I do it weekly and my theory was/is this prepares me for running at a decent pace for a decent distance. Also I like having a medium distance run in the week in addition to my long run. So my current schedule is as follows:

Tuesday - alternate between hill run and intervals (total of 8 miles)

Wed - 5 mile easy run 

Thurs - 10 miles @ 7:30-08:00/m (as above marathon pace is 08:00).

Sun - long run. Currently only 14 miles as off season but will work up to 22 in advance of next marathon

I appreciate it differs for everyone but I'd be keen to hear if anyone thinks this is lacking drastically in any way. I used this schedule/plan to do my first marathon last Oct and it worked well for me. Obviously now I'm keen to suss out if something else would work even better. My priority first time round was to complete and enjoy it (which I did). Now I'd like to improve where I can. 

Any thoughts welcome. 





  • depends on what distance you are training for. also you could still do your 10 miles and use part of it as a warm up, cool down, and the middle at a tempo pace.
    useful article here

  • If your marathon pace is 8m/m then 7:30 can't be far off your threshold pace. Have you raced any other distances recently for comparison?

    Anyway, there are numerous different definitions of what constitutes a tempo run, but 10 miles at quicker than MP is a good session.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    A threshold tempo is generally seen as the pace you can hold in a race for one hour. Your holding that pace for 75 to 80 min in training. For me its clearly too slow to be a threshold. My threshold pace is also circa 30 seconds faster than Mara pace and about 10 seconds slower than 10k pace. I could not run at that pace for 80 minutes in a race let alone training. 

    I think you need to race a 10k to get a truer idea of what your threshold is. 

  • Are you improving, or not? The answer to your question lies there really.


  • Thanks all, 

    @Maxs Mum, I'm training for marathon distance. I read that article, really good thanks. You're right I could include a warm up and cool down in the 10 miles are increase the pace in between. 

    @lou, haven't raced any other distance in a while. Ran 5km in 19:17 back in August. Not a race but timed myself out of interest. 1/2 marathon is 1:38:37. 

    @DT19, you're right. It would help if I raced 10km to give some perspective. I'll aim to do that in the next month or so. I have a 1/2 marathon next month. What you said about the pace most likely be too slow makes sense, like you say I'm holding it for longer than 60 mins so probably not technically threshold pace. I don't really want to cut the distance of the 10m run though so maybe I hit threshold pace for some of it only. 

    @Mr Puffy, if I knew that I wouldn't have askedimage I've done one marathon to date using the plan I mentioned. I won't know if I'm improving or not until I run the next image I get what you mean though. Thing is, it's very difficult for me to tell at the moment as I have only one marathon time to benchmark against. 

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Be interesting to see how the half comes out. If you are hitting threshold at 7.30 you half pace should be about 7.35. I wager it will be faster. The distance is good for tempo. A steady two mile minimum warm up and two mile cool down with six miles at pace. You could split it into 2 x 2.5 with a mile easy in between as one eg. 

  • Thanks again DT19. To be fair I lost fitness over an extended xmas periodimage so might not hit 7:35 or below for the 1/2. Then again depends how quickly I bounce back. Appreciate the reassurance about the 10 miler being a good session and yeah I think you're spot on about the warm up / cool down with fewer miles at true threshold pace.

    Cheers! image
Sign In or Register to comment.