Tempo Runs

As y’all know, I’m try to up my pace!

I changed up my running style, I got sweet shoes, and I try to find a hill on occasion, but I forgot about a good old classic technique, that I actually used to do way before I started running with K – tempo runs!

I’m a big fan of structure. I like training guides and schedules and techniques. So over the years I’ve been through a number of different programs, like Couch to 5K and Hal Higdon’s 10K and half training guides. Even for strength training, I was most productive when I was following the Starting Strength program. Structure is good! So when I found a program that incorporated tempo runs, I had to try it.

If you’re not familiar with tempo runs, they’re pretty much just runs at a faster-than-normal pace. The term I’ve heard thrown around is “comfortably hard”; you should be running just fast enough to be unable to hold a conversation. (Is that why K speeds up on our runs? She wants me to shut up?)

The program I found was more a workout structure than a full training program. Fifteen minutes of a comfortable pace, twenty of your tempo run pace, and then 15 more of cooldown. Toss on a five minute walk on either end, and you’ve got a solid hour long workout! I totally forgot I used to do these all the time on the treadmills at college. In fact, I racked up some of my first long distance runs this way.

I just started doing them again, and I love it! But here’s the caveat – it’s way easier, to do these on a treadmill. I said I like structure, but I also like numbers (you all knew that), and setting the number on the dial to something that I know is challenging is way easier than trying to estimate whether I’m “challenging” myself out on the asphalt.

-R

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