Kick Your Workouts Up A Notch!

Tempo Plus

Ben Rosario, coach of the newly formed Northern Arizona Elite team in Flagstaff, adds some flavor to the tempo run with his “tempo plus” workout. Instead of just running a 20- to 40-minute tempo run and calling it a day, Rosario has his runners add one mile of speedwork afterward.

For our 21-minute 5K runner, he would run a 3- to 4-mile tempo run at 7:10 per mile pace, then jog for 5 to 8 minutes at an easy pace before performing 1 mile worth of fast running, such as 4 x 400 meters in 1:25 to 1:30 with 2 to 3 minutes recovery jog between reps.

You can make up whatever variation of short repetitions you’d like as long as they add up to one mile. (Rosario often uses 200-meter repeats as well as combinations of 200-meter and 400-meter repeats.)

“With my distance runners, I value speed in the stamina phase but I don’t want to devote an entire workout day to it,” Rosario says. “So I just add it in small doses to the end of our stamina workouts. The athletes get some fast running while our focus remains on the strength we’re developing.  And I like that they’re working on running fast when fatigued—something they’ll inevitably face in their races.”

Rosario suggests starting moderately fast on the short repeats and progressing to roughly your 1-mile race pace by the last repetition. If you’ve been avoiding speedwork or struggle to fit in all the workouts you’d like to run, try this as a way to mix stamina and speed in one session.

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