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.
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!