The Bread and Butter: The Tempo Run
The tempo run is a classic, traditional workout that can be used by 5K runners all the way up to ultramarathoners. The tempo run is so universal because it works; it will help you run faster, longer.
This type of workout improves your body's ability to clear lactate (the byproduct of exercise that makes your muscles burn when you run really hard) from your muscles so you can maintain a faster pace without going into oxygen debt.
So what exactly is your tempo pace? There are a lot of definitions, but basically tempo pace is:
- Your one-hour race pace (for many runners, it will be their 10K pace)
- A "comfortably-hard" pace
- The pace at which your heart rate is at about 85 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate
When you first introduce tempo runs in your training, use shorter intervals; for example, run 3 to 5 minutes at tempo followed by 1 to 2 minutes of active recovery.
Here is a sample tempo run for a beginner:
- Run five three-minute intervals at tempo pace
- Run for two minutes at an easy pace between each interval
More advanced runners can do all of their tempo running at once, like during the middle 3 miles of a 9-mile run.
A specific workout is one that's similar to the race you're training for. You should run at your goal race pace for an extended period of time. For example, run 10K at your goal half marathon pace, with two minutes at an easy pace between each 5K.
Or you can run the last several miles of your long run at your goal race pace to practice running faster on tired legs.
These workouts are specific to the demands of the half marathon. They're advanced workouts so if you're a beginner, you should stick to easy runs, tempos and long runs. These training methods are designed to increase your endurance, speed and fitness, so you're well prepared for your half marathon.
Train smart, train hard, and set a new personal best.half marathon race.