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Monday, July 30

Cup of Tempo

The ABCs and running series: Today's topic "Tempo Runs."
So what exactly is a Tempo run? And why should we bother with this type of running workout?
Well, tempo runs are a form of speedwork – a method of pushing back you anaerobic threshold so you can run a fast pace for a longer time.

“During anaerobic exercise, the muscles being exercised have insufficient oxygen to meet the demands of the activity, and thus must also use alternate, non-oxygen-dependent processes to produce energy.” – Wiki
Incorporating Tempo runs into your weekly miles can increase your PRs but be cautious as this can also lead to injury.

I’ve been running one mile Tempo runs since January and have definitely noticed a change in my effort. It is a lot easier for me to run faster. I suppose I would see a greater increase in my race speed if I did more repeats. (Fear of getting injured.)
The results so far:
I feel stronger, my heart rate is 10 – 15 bpm slower, I’ve trimmed 30 seconds off my mile and I’m less breathless.

How fast should you run?
There is a lot of discussion about this in the running forums.

“A tempo run is the fastest pace that you can hold continuously for about 1 hour”
“A tempo run is never done the fastest pace...never! That is not a tempo run please don`t confuse people.”
"You start with 15-minute tempo runs, and work up to 25 or 30 minutes."

The Pros say this:
A tempo run is a continuous run with a buildup in the middle to near race pace. - Higdon
“Your anaerobic – if you can’t talk more tnan a few words…” – Jeff Galloway
I recommend this page on Tempo running which includes using heart rate monitors and pyramids.

For even more information check out:
Dave Couper
Hal Higdon
Bob Kennedy
Human Kinetics