Success! I dominated my tempo run this morning!
Are you wondering what a tempo run is all about? I received a bunch of questions when I posted my half marathon training plan for the Run to Remember the other day, so here’s a quick explanation:
Tempo runs are an excellent way for runners to build speed and strength. They’re runs that are done at a steady effort level, usually just a little slower than your 10K race pace. Tempo runs help you develop your anaerobic or lactate threshold, which is critical for running faster. [source]
There’s obviously a lot of science behind tempo runs, but, basically, you’re running at a faster pace (“comfortably hard”) to improve your metabolic fitness. Tempo runs teach your body how to use oxygen more efficiently (by increasing your lactate threshold), which helps you get stronger and become a faster runner.
I wasn’t sure what “comfortably hard” meant exactly for pace, so I did a little Google searching, and I found these four methods from Runner’s World to help gauge intensity and ensure you’re doing tempo workouts at the right pace:
- Recent Race: Add 30 to 40 seconds to your current 5-K pace or 15 to 20 seconds to your 10-K pace
- Heart Rate: 85 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate
- Perceived Exertion: An 8 on a 1-to-10 scale (a comfortable effort would be a 5; racing would be close to a 10)
- Talk Test: A question like “Pace okay?” should be possible, but conversation won’t be.
My current 5K pace is 8:10 and my current 10K pace is 8:30, so I started with an 8:45 pace for today’s workout (35 min tempo run), which translated to:
- 10 minutes easy running (warm up)
- 20 minutes gradually increasing pace
- 5 minutes easy running (cool down)
Hal Higdon recommends that the pace buildup is gradual, not sudden, with the peak speed coming about two-thirds into the workout, which you should only hold for a minute or two. My pace for today’s workout started at 8:45 and finished around an 8:00 pace. Including warm up and cool down, I covered almost 4 miles in 35 minutes. It felt great to get out there and run today!
Want more info about tempo runs? I found these two articles to be really helpful:
I also drank a glass of iced coffee with almond milk.
After my run, I showered up and then made lunch, which was a chicken salad sandwich.
With sweet potato wedges and a glob of peanut butter on top.
My afternoon snack was a Sweet Potato-Kale-Peanut Butter Smoothie, which was inspired by the 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge. Katherine and Jen are challenging readers to add one green smoothie to their daily eats for seven days, so I’m going to try to get in my greens all week long!
In the mix:
- 1/4 cup mashed sweet potato
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped kale
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
The only thing I could taste in this smoothie was peanut butter, and it was awesome.