How to Run Faster: Adding Tempo Runs Into Your Training

What is a Tempo Run?

A tempo run is typically done at 85-90% of your maximum heart rate. It is a “comfortably hard” pace that is slower than an all-out race pace but faster than an easy, conversational pace.

Why are Tempo Runs Beneficial to Training?

There are many benefits of tempo runs:

Help you build endurance. Because you’ll be working harder, your body will learn how to clear lactate more efficiently. This results in being able to sustain a faster pace for a longer time with less perceived exertion.

Helps you run faster. Since the tempo run done right between race pace and easy pace, it trains both your fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers. Your muscles require more oxygen to put out hard work, so your body will develop enhanced capillary beds, leading to significant gains in speed.

Helps you dial in good running form. When you run faster, your body naturally finds the most efficient way to do so. This is called running economy. Good running form is also the most efficient. Notice your stride the next time you pick up the pace.

Helps build mental toughness. Nobody said tempo runs were easy. While they are not done at an all-out race pace, they do require focused mental concentration. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable teaches you to how to handle the pain and pressure on race day.

      How Do I Do a Tempo Run?

      Here’s a simple tempo run to try. Be sure to do a dynamic warmup before starting.

      10 minute easy warmup pace
      1 mile easy pace
      1 mile tempo pace
      1 mile easy pace
      Cooldown 10 minutes

          By Marcia Kadens, Certified RRCA Running Coach and author of Marcia’s Healthy Slice


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