The second key run you should be doing each week if you want to run faster is a tempo workout. While intervals are done at an almost all-out effort, tempo runs are typically done at your 10K pace (that is how fast you would run while racing 6.21 miles), or slightly slower.
This workout is going to be about 3 to 5 miles, and if you’re training for a marathon, it will increase to anywhere from 8 to 10 miles at your goal marathon pace.
You’ll begin this workout with easy running for 1 to 2 miles before beginning the tempo phase. Just like with strides, your pace will gradually increase during these first few miles. By the end of the warm-up, you’ll be close to your tempo pace.
I know you’re busy! The temptation will be to skip the warm-up, thinking the tempo portion is the only part you really need to worry about. I hear ya. I’ve been guilty of jumping right into tempo pace, but then I burn out and can’t keep up the pace. The warm-up really helps acclimate your body so you can actually complete the tempo portion without having to slow down.
After the tempo portion of your run, run a mile or so at an easy pace. Feels so good!
Here’s an example of a tempo run:
1 mile easy warmup, gradually getting faster, then run 4 miles at your short-tempo pace, then slow down and run an easy cooldown mile. The whole workout is 6 miles, but only 4 of those miles are done at tempo.
Try it out, and let me know how it goes! I love hearing from you!
I love using a running log (get a free one here), so I can see my progress from one week to the next. It may not always seem like much, but after consistently doing these quality workouts each week, you’ll notice a huge difference! The intense workouts may never feel easier, but your ability to do them will get better and better.
What are your running goals? Let me know in the comments!
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