A tempo run is a type of running workout where the runner runs at a pace that is around their lactic threshold for around 20 minutes or so.
The purpose of this type of workout is to make the body efficient at clearing lactate which is produced as a result of burning carbohydrates.
For longer distance runners this is a very useful workout to practice running hard in the kinds of conditions that you expect to race in.
One of the things that happens to many athletes is that they get nervous about racing and they don’t practice what they will do on race day.
By practising what you will do on race day with a 5k tempo session (like a Parkrun) athletes can practice how they eat, warmup, race and cool down.
This means that when they come to race day they will not only have benefited from the workout itself but from the discipline of practising how they do race day.
It is important to note that this workout is most beneficial to runners who are racing 15km and more as 5k and below are run at above are run at well above lactate threshold.
Pacing a tempo run is done by running at a pace that is roughly about 30 seconds per kilometre slower than your 5k pace.
It should feel hard but not too uncomfortable, if you’ve got a heart rate monitor this is about 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.
My preference for running a tempo session is to find a bit of road or path that is relatively flat and use that.
It’s always nice if you can find somewhere scenic to do these workouts as they can be a little boring on the track.
If you don’t like track much and you don’t want to do two track sessions a week then you can use this for your second speed session in a week.
Don’t forget to warm up and warm down before and after the workout as your body does need time to adjust to the pace.
If you want to make this workout more challenging, try to run each kilometre a couple of seconds faster than the last.
Stay safe out there and enjoy every minute in your running shoes!