Tempo runs

The 4 day programme in the recent RW issue sounds good, but I'm still not sure what a tempo run is. I can imagine either running at normal speed (ie what I'd call a recovery run), or going flat out.


  • I treat a tempo run as a run at slightly below the pace I would normally race that distance at or at a pace that I would normally race at a longer distance at.

    For example I may do:

    10k at 10mile pace
    10 mile at ½ marathon pace

    Or alternatively

    I normally race 10k @ 172bpm for a 10k tempo run I may reduce my effort by 5-10bpm

    Don’t treat a tempo run as a race and approach it flat out - keep jour race speed efforts for interval training

  • Hi Georgia
    I regard a tempo run as a fast, but not flat out, session between the warm up and cool down bit. So (similar to Wildwill) i would do:
    1 mile warm up
    3 miles at a fast, steady TEMPO
    1 mile cool down
    stretch and shower

    I NEVER run flat out when out training on my own - i like to have that bit of accelleration left in case i need to sprint out of trouble.
  • It makes sense, but I've spend the past 2 yrs running at the same pace regardless of distance,wondering why I never improved even though I could run distances for England. Great stamina! I think I'll therefore have difficult judging the difference or balance between fast and slow. Sounds stupid, I know!
  • Georgia

    Consider investing in a HRM that way it is easier to discipline yourself and run at differing pace /efforts

    Once you know what the differing efforts feel like it al becomes almost automatic

  • Thanks Will.
    That sounds easier - I've never actually run a race before so the HRM seems a better idea.
    The forums are brilliant - everyone is so supportive. Its really motivating, especially as I haven't run for 5 wks due to injury. I did 1.5 miles last night and thought my chest would explode!! Mind you, I didn't walk, and even though its only 1.5, I was only a minute slower than my best time. Having said that, the lack of any speed or tempo work may explain my crap best time anyway.
  • As it's been said, tempo runs are where you do the "middle bit" faster than the start (warm-up) and end (cool-down) bits. They shouldn't be as intense during the fast bit as all-out intervals are, but should work you fairly hard anyway. Not that my reply adds anything to those already posted by our wise Forum sages, of course ;)
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