Basically, tempo runs are a way to train your body to run at a certain speed.
So if you have a half marathon run coming up, that you want to maintain a 10:00 minute pace throughout the whole event, then part of your training would be to start with a smaller distance and maintain that pace for the training distance, and increase your training distance each week. For example, as you are increasing mileage, you will hit a point in your training that you are starting to run some longer miles. One of those runs in a week, would be for a shorter distance, but maintaining a faster pace - usually a mile at a warmup pace, then three or four miles at a tempo pace, and then a mile for cooldown. Tempo runs start at smaller distances, because you are forcing your body to maintain a faster pace. As your weeks go by, both your long runs AND your tempo runs will get higher in distance.
Intervals are different, in that they train your body to run faster, by firing up different muscles, but for shorter periods of time. Intervals are run at a faster pace but then you recover with a slower pace, and then start the process all over again - for as many intervals as are in your plan that day. You do not maintain the faster pace over a longer distance. But intervals are still quite helpful, because as more muscles get trained, your body gets more efficient, and you will end up getting faster.
Both of these workouts are a form of speed training. Speed training isn't recommended in the first six months to a year. If you are a beginner runner, fartleks are the way to go!
Judi Saskatchewan, Canada
August Minutes: 0
Fitness Minutes: (10,515) Posts: 275 3/11/12 11:15 A
So I've been reading about tempo runs, but I still don't seem to understand them. Basically, if I WANT to be running a 10:00 mile pace, then I would need to do long distance runs at a 10:20 pace? Or do I miss up some intervals in there, i.e. 5 x 3 minutes at 10:20 pace, with 1 minute of recovery jogging in between? And then up it to 4, 5, 6 minutes, etc? I think tempo runs might be a better way to push myself than with intervals. Just wondering what all of you thought...
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