Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Right Tempo for Your Tempo Run

Still sore from yesterday's tempo run, but I will confess that I am a true believer in how important these runs are. Since I have been focusing on 5ks for much of the fall, I have been doing more intervals than tempo runs, but that will change as I start to focus on the half and some longer races. Yesterday's tempo was a five miler with a one mile warm up and a one mile cool down. I don't know if it was Monday's six miler or just the day (usually Monday's are a rest day for me), but the workout turned into somewhat of a mental battle. All I have to say is thank God for the stick:

I found out about this tool from my coach, and I love it! The ability to give your legs a nice massage after a speed workout, long run, race (or tempo run in this case) is heavenly.Anyhow, about one and a half miles into my tempo run, I knew I would be counting down the tenths of a mile on this one! I finished it out though and felt much better afterwards.

Tempo runs are a great tool for racing distances above the 5k. Famous running coach Jack Daniels helped to popularize tempo runs and defines them as "A tempo run is nothing more than 20 minutes of steady running at threshold pace." Tempo runs are sometimes referred to as "lactate-threshold runs" because they are conducted at a speed just below which your body would be unable to clear lactic acid effectively. In other words, tempo runs help to train your body to maintain a set speed over a given distance. It is often said that tempo runs should be "comfortably" hard. You should feel like you are putting in a good effort, but that you could maintain that effort for about an hour if necessary. there are numerous running calculators that can also help you determine your tempo pace, I like to refer to the MacMillan running calculator. Tempo runs should be conducted no more than once per week. Try adding them to your training regimen to help lower your racing times.