Workout of the Week: Tempo Run

Tempo runs aren’t the most glamorous of hard runs, but they’re critical to helping you run faster and stronger.

Woman in workout gear running.

The weekly tempo run is the backbone of any endurance runner or triathlete’s training plan. However, they’re not the easiest to complete because in order to be effective, the intervals need to be longer or even be done at the end of a long run.  

Tempo runs give you strength endurance. It is this quality that helps you run strong throughout your race. It gives you the grit and confidence to push through discomfort, knowing you can.  

RELATED: The Power of Ratings of Perceived Exertion 

Tempos should be a part of your training in the early pre-race season and race season. They can also be done in various forms year-round. You can do your tempo runs by time or by distance. Find a relatively flat course, track, or treadmill to help with steady pacing. Though gentle rolling hills or a gradual uphill/downhill can work great; keep in mind your pace will vary more. 

The biggest question is, what pace to run for these intervals? If going by RPE, keep it around a 6 out of 10—strong, sustainable, but still uncomfortable. You can also run at your half-marathon pace or effort. To help guide your pacing, use the McMillan Running Calculator or Jack Daniels’ VDOT Running Calculator. 

Workout of the Week: Tempo Run 

3 × 10 min. run/2 min. jog 

1 × 20 min. long run with tempo finish