Tempo Tuesdays

With more qualified run leaders; we are now able to do a wider variety of training session. Shane Grace tells us about Tempo Tuesdays.

By popular demand, STAC will be adding Tempo Tuesday’s to our current training offering. These are excellent sessions that will dovetail well with the Thursday speed/hill sessions, and together (if run correctly) will definitely improve your race times (and overall fitness).

The Plan

This week (13th July) we start off relatively easy with 45mins of running, 25mins of which at tempo pace. This will be preceded by a dynamic warm up. The intention being to run as a group around a quick one mile loop of the springs.

There will be two pace groups this week but in future weeks we hope to offer more offering wider pace ranges. Exact paces will be calculated prior to the session by the Run Leader to best meet the needs of those who have signed up.

What is my ‘tempo’ pace, I hear you ask?

Tempos are run close to your lactate threshold pace. General rule of thumb is this is equivalent to the pace you can RACE at for an hour. For some people that might be their 10mile race pace, for others their 10k race pace. For elites it is closer to their half marathon pace.

If you are unsure of your 10 mile race pace, the below provides an indication of what pace you should be aiming for based upon your 10k race time.

40min 10k = 6.37min/mile for 10mile
45min 10k = 7.27min/mile for 10mile
50min 10k = 8.17min/mile for 10mile
55min 10k = 9.06min/mile for 10mile

What is lactate threshold?

In short, as you run your body produces lactic acid (or lactate). When you run easy your body converts this into energy and disposes of the waste products. The faster you run the harder your body finds it to dispose of the waste products.

Lactate threshold is the tipping point where you reach a pace at which your body can no longer dispose of the lactic acid and therefore lactic begins to build, your legs get heavy, and that burning sensation (which we have all felt) floods your quads. It is then all downhill from there!

What are the benefits of this type of training?

Running just below your lactate threshold pace, trains your body to become more efficient, creating less lactic acid at that pace, enabling you to gradually run faster with less effort and therefore improving tempo pace. This is particularly beneficial in longer races, such as half marathon and marathons as you burn fuel more efficiently.

So what makes up a tempo run?

These are generally continuous runs of up to an hour, of which a designated portion of it at ‘tempo pace’, usually 20-30mins. Adaptations of this would be 2 or 3 x 15min intervals, or a continuous session including 60s speed bursts. Either side of the tempo pace element is run easy as a warm up / cool down.

The key is to run just below your lactate threshold pace. Going a little bit slower is fine, but too slow and you don’t see the benefits. Likewise, getting carried away and running faster defeats the objective of the run and you will not achieve the adaptations required.

Leave the faster stuff for short interval and hill sessions (on Thursdays)!These sessions are meant to be comfortably hard but you shouldn’t be on all fours at the end.

Leave a comment