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Tempo Run

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Updated May 16, 2014

A female jogging in the bank near the river in Kyoto, Japan.Women in early 20s
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Definition: 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.

To get started with tempo runs, start your run with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running to warm up, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes of running about 10 seconds slower than your 10K pace. Finish with 5 to 10 minutes of cooling down. If you're not sure what your 10K pace is, run at a pace that feels "comfortably hard." You can also use your breathing as your guide. For an easy-paced runs, most runners take three footstrikes while breathing in and two footstrikes while breathing out. For tempo runs, you should be at two footstrikes while breathing in and one footstrike while breathing out. If you're breathing faster than that, your pace is too fast.

Even a weekly 15 to 20-minute tempo pace run is enough to get benefits from it, but some more advanced runners will do longer weekly tempo runs of 40 minutes or more.

Also see: 8 Rules for Speed Training

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