Tempo Runs, also known as threshold runs, are training techniques that increase your anaerobic threshold. So, your body adapts to performing at a higher intensity comfortably, and this intensity could be a long distance or a faster pace.
Your cardiovascular fitness levels dictate how far or hard you can run. Early Tiring indicates that your muscles aren’t getting the oxygen they need when they need it. Or it could be a sign that your body isn’t efficiently clearing lactic acid.
What Is Tempo Running Exactly?
A tempo workout is a continuous run that requires sustained effort. Instead of a light jog at an easy pace, you’ll push your body, get your heart rate up, and test your stamina. You’ll be running faster than your regular pace but for a shorter duration.
It’s different from interval training. Instead of stopping and starting in repetitions, you’ll be continuously running for 20 to 30 minutes. You should feel fatigued; it’s not an easy run that you can complete comfortably. It’s threshold training in which you’re pushing yourself to run fast.
Why Is It Called Tempo Run?
Tempo Runs get their name because you’ll be running at a tempo pace. Tempo pace is different for everyone, which is part of the appeal of this training technique. It’s customized to your current running capabilities and changes when you do.
Benefits Of Tempo Running
Tempo runs are helpful when training for an upcoming race or if you want to improve your running speed and distance. Research has also found Tempo running to have mental and physical benefits.
Let us take a look at these benefits:
Improves Lactic Acid Clearance
A tempo workout improves lactate clearance by intentionally spiking lactic acid production, so your body gets better at clearing it. For context, the lactic acid build-up can make your legs feel heavy or tired after a workout. Much like aerobic exercise is a workout for your heart, training at your lactate threshold is a workout for your muscles to practice clearing lactic acid build-up.
When lactate is cleared efficiently, your muscles aren’t forced to try and work through an acidic environment with delayed energy production. This allows you to run for longer, harder—you build endurance. Your muscles aren’t impaired by lactic acid build-up, so you’ll improve your performance with this type of workout.
Improves Cardiovascular Fitness
Poor cardiovascular fitness means your heart must work hard to transport oxygen to your muscles during exercise. As a result, your heart rate increases quickly to sustain oxygen requirements. As your heart rate gets faster, you move away from your aerobic threshold and nearer to your anaerobic threshold.
You can’t sustain 90 percent of your HRM for long, so you’ll stop. This is why you might be struggling to run long distances. Your cardiovascular system isn’t used to working at this intensity during a workout. For runners, incorporating a tempo workout into a training plan can quickly develop cardiovascular fitness.
Doing regular tempo runs can increase your endurance. You'll be able to not only run for longer periods without experiencing fatigue, but they will also help you run faster for a longer time, too.
Running to clear your head is a real phenomenon, backed by a recent study on the benefits of moderate running. It found this type of workout has mood-boosting effects and enhanced arousal levels compared to a non-running control group and promotes cognition.
How to Start Tempo Running
Here’s a simple guide to get you started:
As with all workouts, ensure your muscles are warmed up before increasing your speed. Aim for 10 to 12 minutes or about 1 mile of easy-paced running.
Speed It Up
After you've warmed up, increase the speed to your Tempo running pace; your breathing should remain even and consistent.
The tempo-paced running portion of your workout should last about 20 to 40 minutes and feel natural as you settle into a rhythm.
Bring your pace and heart rate down by slowing to a light jog and then a leisurely walk for about 10 minutes. You can add some stretching or yoga after your run for a thorough cooldown.
3 Tempo Run Workouts To Try
Here are three tempo run workouts for you to try in training.
Tempo Run One: The Classic
This is one of the most basic; popular Tempo runs that runners incorporate into their routine, and it’s super simple to execute. After your warmup, you’re going to dive right into running for 20 minutes at an uncomfortably hard pace. In the beginning, it’s going to be easy, but toward the end, you’re going to really have to focus and pay attention to the pace.
Tempo Run Two: Cruise Intervals
If maintaining the same pace for 20 minutes straight sounds super boring to you, you might want to check out a tempo run called “cruise intervals.” After warming up, you run one mile at your tempo pace. Once you complete a mile, you take a one-minute recovery jog. Repeat this four times, wrapping up with just over four miles total, then go into your cool down.
Tempo Run Three: Marathon Pace
This tempo run can be particularly helpful if you’re training for a marathon. It’s like “injecting a tempo run” into your long run. If you are out for a 14-mile long run, At miles six, nine, and 12, do a one-mile-long tempo pace, then return to your regular long run speed. It’s like a surge in the pace that can help you prepare for when you’re racing in the marathon, and there are hills or crowds or other uncomfortable pace fluxes.