Tempo Runs

Not the way to do a tempoWhat is a tempo run?

Running guru Jack Daniels calls it the ‘comfortably hard’ workout, running at a hard but manageable steady pace for at least 20 minutes, at about 20 seconds per kilometer slower than
your 5K* race pace. West Toronto Pacers tempo runs are approximately 10K, including warm up and cool down.
*The 5K race pace is one suggestion. See the heading ‘How fast should I run’ below.


How do I benefit from a tempo run?

The simple answer: The tempo run trains your body to go faster over longer distances, with less fatigue resulting from lactic acid build up in your muscles. In addition to the physical benefit, there is a psychological benefit: You begin to accept that you can run your race at a faster, steady pace, boosting your confidence and race potential. Simply put: Tempo runs teach your body to run faster before fatiguing. Need to know the science behind the benefit and why the tempo run improves aerobic efficiency? Search online for articles and research on ‘tempo runs’ or ‘lactate threshold training.’


How fast should I run?

If unsure of your 5K pace then use your pace from another race distance you recently completed. Don’t choose your personal best race from 10 years ago if you no longer run at that pace. Training with a heart rate monitor? Aim for 85-90% of your maximum heart rate. ‘Comfortably hard’ means you can muster up a few words here and there, but aren’t having conversations. Always train smart and within your limits to avoid injury. Still not sure how fast to run? Click here for a quick guide to pacing (also handy for those business trips when the treadmill is the only option).


Are you new to tempo training?

If you’ve never done tempo runs before, start slowly and build your strength and endurance over a few sessions. Run a longer warm up and cool down, and do only 20 minutes at tempo pace. Once your body is used to working ‘comfortably hard’ you can increase the time at tempo pace.