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Of all the running exercises, the tempo run is perhaps the most popular. It’s also one of the most boring workouts out there. We can fix that.
Maintain a steady pace, which is often described as “Pleasantly uncomfortable” for 20 to 60 minutes can feel like a monotonous task. However, there’s no denying that tempo running, if done correctly, can help you run faster. They do you better because you are maintaining a pace at which your lactic acid levels remain constant, so your body’s ability to deal with lactic acid improves.
In my full time years TreadmillThe biggest mistake most runners make when speed running is that they tend to run too fast. For most runners, there is one basic thought: if you can run the pace faster, that’s better. Most of the time, however, this creates a vicious cycle of trying to improve on the previous pace.
Problems arise when you pass the tipping point where your body can no longer process lactic acid. In this case, the lactic acid level continues to rise and you exercise outside of the intended zone. So you can prevent this and at the same time make your runs more comfortable.
How to improve tempo runs: 15-second voltage spikes
Instead of hammering the entire pace, a fun way to increase the difficulty without getting lost outside of the pace zone is to add short bumps at 5km pace. I like to add 15 second bursts at a pace of about 5K in even minutes and then get back into the pace pace.
For example, at the start of minutes 2, 4, 6, and 8, increase for 15 seconds for a 10-minute pace. To keep the 15 second surges simple and clean, I prefer these pace runs at tiny intervals rather than miles or kilometers. The voltage peaks are short enough that lactic acid levels don’t skyrocket, but they still break your rhythm and keep you busy.
The result is an entertaining but challenging variant of the classic speed run.
Perform workout: 15 second incline
- Warm up: 1-2 miles, slow from easy to moderately difficult
- Do two 10 minute sets at pace, followed by 2 minutes easy (use this option) running computer to find your pace steps)
- Throw in 15 second spikes of tension at the 2, 4, 6, and 8 minute markers every 10 minute pace interval
- Cooldown: 1-2 miles at an easy pace
Progress is the key
As with any training, it is advisable to increase the difficulty when repeating training units within a training cycle in order not to reach a plateau. Instead of trying to do the next Tempo Run faster, try adding more time at the Tempo Tempo.
As the workout above continues, add additional 10-minute intervals to keep the same warm-up and cooldown time.
Speed shoes are important
Unless you have a specific pair of speed training shoes, I recommend investing in a pair, especially if you are using your racing shoes. Traditional training shoes like the ones you wear every day tend to be heavier, which puts you extra work to speed up your steps. Of course you can use your racing shoes, but wearing them every speed session will wear them out faster.
Ideally, you want a lightweight pair of shoes that you only take off for speed sessions like this one. Two of my favorite shoes are the new ones Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% and the Brooks Hyperion Tempo.