Workout Of The Week: Tempo Run–With A Twist!

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Jun. 12, 2013
  • Updated Jul. 3, 2013 at 9:38 AM UTC

C’mon baby, let’s do the twist!

The tempo run, in its most basic state, is defined as a sustained, steady effort over a set distance or predetermined length of time. It’s long been a staple workout in many a runner’s training program. Whether you’re training for a fast 5K or getting ready to run your first marathon, sprinkling a tempo run or two into your training schedule will give you a lot of bang for your buck.

This type of workout yields many benefits, including increased stamina and enhanced efficiency, but perhaps most importantly, will help you develop the confidence to run your goal race pace for a prolonged period of time. Races, however, aren’t always run at an even effort from start to finish, so it’s important to practice changing gears during some of your toughest training runs. Tempo runs with a “twist” are an effective way to do just that.

RELATED: Know Your Tempo–How To Fit Tempo Runs Into Your Training Schedule

So, what’s the twist? It’s as simple as sprinkling a short “burst” of 30 to 60 seconds into your tempo runs every fifth or tenth minute. Such a practice will better prepare you for the rigors of racing, which often involves changing gears, and will also help keep your mind and legs sharp when your focus starts to fade.

Take a look at the sample workouts described in the following pages and add a twist to your next tempo run!

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Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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