Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tempo Runs and Speedwork

Ben, running blogger at The Audacity of Marathoning, asked about how I do tempo runs. I'm not an expert runner by any stretch of the imagination but perhaps what I've learned will be helpful for someone else. I've used Runner's World Smart Coach to train for my last 3 races (half-marathon and 2 10K's) and that plan had me do the following for a "tempo run" -- my goal pace for the 10K was 7:25 mpm:
1 mile warm-up -- I ran at an easy run pace, about 90 seconds per mile slower than my goal 10K pace or about 8:55 mpm.

3-5 miles tempo -- about 10 seconds per mile slower than my goal 10K pace or about 7:35 mpm.

1 mile cool-down -- again, I aimed to run about 8:55 mpm but it was usually closer to 8:15 mpm.

Tempo Run distances for an 11 week 10K training program:
Weeks 1 and 3 were 3 miles @ 7:36
Weeks 4 and 7 were 4 miles @ 7:40 & 7:35
Weeks 8 and 10 were 5 miles @ 7:40 & 7:35

Weeks 2, 5 and 9 were speedwork -- 800 meter repeats on a local high school track at about 45 seconds per mile faster than my goal 10K pace, about 1 mile warm-up and 1 mile cool-down, and 400 meter easy jogs between repeats:
Week 2 (3x800 meters @ 3:24 min)
Week 5 (4x800 meters @ 3:22 min)
Week 9 (5x800 meters @ 3:20 min)

Weeks 6 and 11 were easy weeks so no tempo runs or speedwork runs.

I normally end up running the tempo runs a bit faster than the suggested goal. They are hard but satisfying. The speedwork repeats were usually right on target. The repeats are real killers and I hate doing them, but they do seem to help.

Run well, y'all,
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