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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

Fitting Tempo Runs Into Your Training Schedule

Not training for a half marathon or marathon? Not a problem. The benefits of training at this pace have been shown to benefit distance runners training for any event from the 5K to the marathon. If you don’t have a half marathon time to use as a baseline, add 15-20-seconds per mile to your current 10K race pace to figure out your “tempo” pace. This comfortably challenging effort will develop your aerobic system more effectively than any other type of workout, and has a shorter recovery time than a hard interval session or a set of killer hill repeats.

If you’re training for shorter races such as 5K or 10K, perform this workout (aim for 4-6 miles of running at tempo pace) every other week during the early part of the training cycle. Sustaining this steady effort will do wonders for revving your aerobic engine, while the bursts will help you practice surging off a slow pace.

For half marathoners and marathoners, tempo runs should be a staple session in your weekly training schedule. Alternate the “classic” version of this workout with the “twist”, gradually increasing the length of the tempo run every second or third week as your training progresses. Since the volume of this type of workout can creep up on you quickly, be careful not to perform this workout too close to race day. Ten days out from a key race is plenty of time to recover well and reap the benefits on race day.

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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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