Tempo runs – Guide for the beginner

Tempo runs the guide for beginners – There is one session in running we call the “bread and butter” of all workouts. Namely called the “Tempo Run”. I have used this type of session for everything from an 800m up to a marathoner or Iron man triathlon athlete. The tempo run can be used all year round, but mostly used during the running base phase or later in the ironman training, typically when we are doing the overload block 6-8weeks out from an Ironman.

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Tempo runs the guide for beginners – During your first steps as a beginner runner you were probably either walking or using a combination of walking/easy running before moving into longer easy running sessions. The next step in your running is most probably moderate distance runs performed at a slightly faster, moderately hard pace. This type of training workout, which is commonly called tempo running.

The tempo run typically lasts in the range of 20-35mins. The tempo run is broken down into two types of tempo runs. SUSTAINED  and REPETITIONS.

Tempo runs the guide for beginners – The Sustained tempo run, includes one sustained block of running at tempo pace. Ranging from 20 minutes or 5-6km with no break during the workout or recovery time. These type of tempos runs should be limited to roughly 35-40mins, as otherwise the effort borders on a race type effort.

Tempo runs the guide for beginners – Tempo repetitions are similar to that of intervals. Yet we are still working at our lactate threshold and/or your tempo pace. The recovery is kept to a short 60-90 seconds and the repetitions are generally longer, being closer to the 2km distance. For example 3x2km with 90secs recovery. we have also used a longer workout based towards Marathoner runners being 2x5km but only for the well trained athlete.

So what is a perceived effort is the Tempo run completed at?

1. A pace that’s faster than “moderate” but not exactly “hard.” A speed where you are able to talk briefly, but struggle to have a full conversation. If you run by feel or perceived effort, this may be a helpful description for you.

2. The pace you could race for an hour. For a lot of runners, their tempo pace is similar to or about the same as their 10-15km pace.

3. If you train by heart rate 85-90% of maximum heart rate or In other words, tempo runs are done at lactate threshold which is the fastest you can still run aerobically.