Posted by: Run For Life | 19 February, 2009

Tempo Trouble

I had a tempo run on schedule for today.  I completed it and it really was a fantastic run!  (Thank goodness this week has been much better workout wise than the last.)

Here’s the trouble I’m having…how hard are you supposed to be running your tempos?  I was able to consistently hold the faster paces but at the end I wasn’t “spent”…in fact, I tossed in intervals at the finish because I felt like I hadn’t really run it at the pace I was supposed to.  So do I keep the pace the same and increase the time spent at those paces or do I up the pace and keep the duration the same?  I know both would be beneficial but I just would like some opinions please!

We’ll see how next week’s tempo pans out.  Hopefully I really am getting faster…



  1. I do all my tempo runs based on HR’s. For a standard hour long run that would be something like:

    10 mins Z2 WU
    20 mins Z3
    20 mins Z4A
    10 mins Cool down

    So, the Z4A pace should be pushing it a bit, not ‘I wanna collapse tired’, but more like “Hmm, this is slightly uncomfortable tired’. The McMillian running calculator is perfect for getting the right tempo speeds based on your PR’s.

  2. Tempo runs should be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. They are supposed to be done at thepace you could, “race” for an hour, between your 10k to your half marathon pace. Or, about 20 to 30 seconds faster than your 5k pace. So, if you can run a 5k in 22 minutes (7 minute/mile) you should try to do your tempo runs in 7:30 pace.
    Remember, you dont wanna feel spent at the end of a tempo run. You want to run them comfortably hard, almost like you are redlining.

  3. It sounds to me like you just had a fantastic day of running!
    I used to go out a bit too hard on my tempo runs, and the results were very slow returns. By backing off just a bit on the early part of my tempos and trying to make the actual tempo part of the run have a negative split, then I started to get real training value out of them.
    Happy Running! 🙂

  4. While I’m not the best at guaging my pace I reckon that if you can throw in intervals at the end of a tempo run then you should do the tempo faster. Generally I’d finish completely and utterly wrecked… probably to do with the not being able to guage pace thing. I think the pace should feel comfortable at the start, but a few minutes in, without having picked up the pace, it should start to feel a lot harder.

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