Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What is a tempo run?

To the untrained eye this may appear to be a blurry photograph.  For those who run or follow my blog will realise this was taken during a recent tempo run.

So, what is a tempo run?
It is part of a training schedule and sits alongside long runs and interval runs.  It is a brisk, fast run that puts you out of breath and is too fast to keep up for one or two  hours' continuous running.

The purpose?
It helps our muscles deal with Lactic acid.  This starts to build up as the muscles are worked moderately hard and is a natural bi-product of our natural metabolism.  It is the presence of Lactic acid that makes our muscles hurt and feel tired.  The more we do, the more efficient our muscles become in dealing with this.

What does a tempo run consist of?
Last night my tempo run was 5 miles on a treadmill and this is probably the minimum distance for this kind of run.  It starts off with a gentle warm-up of about 5 to 10 minutes at jogging pace or a slow paced run - maybe around 5mph.  Last night this translated into just over 1 mile on a treadmill with no gradient.  You should be able to talk normally at this pace.

Next came the tempo bit.  That was 3 miles at a brisk pace ranging around 7.5 to 8.5mph and enough to raise my heart rate to my maximum and where conversation would be more limited.

At 4 mile stage, I brought the speed right back down to 6.5mph and lower still for the last 2 minutes for cooling down.  This is where the benefit can be felt.

How often should I do a tempo run?
I run about 3 or 4 times a week and always include such a run.  As the marathon gets closer, I'll tempo train for a little longer but still just once a week.

How do I feel afterwards?
Sweaty and tired: I always sleep deeply after a tempo run.  After the run and before bedtime I always feel a bit tired alongside the feeling of satisfaction and the elation of the Runner's High.

1 comment:

  1. Or it could just be a blurry photo ...