Tempo Running 101
Make lactate threshold runs part of your Winter training with this simple guide.
Tempo runs – also called lactate threshold runs – are a key feature of any training plan from 5K right through to full marathon training. But why should you use them, and how do you know what pace to run at? Our guide to tempo runs will answer all your questions.
What Is A Tempo Run?
Tempo runs will be found in any training plan, often called threshold or lactate threshold runs. They are done at a continual pace which is “comfortably hard” – about 8/10 on your personal level of effort – and usually last for around 1/3 of the race distance you are training for.
Tempo runs are designed to increase your lactate threshold, making it easier and more comfortable to push harder in a race setting.
As your muscles work hard, they produce lactic acid and hydrogen which builds up and creates that burning feeling in your legs.
By increasing your lactate threshold, you can improve your tolerance s you can run further and faster at the same effort level.
Why Use Tempo Runs?
If you are planning on racing over any distance in the Spring, then you should be using tempo runs in your training now. They will help build a solid foundation, increase your fitness, and boost your top end speed.
What Pace To Run At?
You need to work out your own individual pace for tempo runs.
If you are training for a 5K, add 30-40 seconds per mile to your pace.
If you are training for a 10K, add 15-20 seconds per mile to your pace.
In peak week of your training plan, you would do a 1-2 mile tempo run (for a 5K race), 4-6 miles (for a 10K race), and 6-8 miles (for a half marathon). Always warm up and cool down with a mile either side of your tempo run efforts.
For now, go out and try running at tempo race for 1, 2, or 3 miles to see how it feels. Remember, this is a 80-90% effort, so it should feel tough. You will need to take one or two days recovery after a tempo run.
Build up over time and incorporate lactate threshold runs into your training plan, and you will reap the rewards by race day!