A couple of weeks ago, during a Sunday morning run in the cold rain, I asked my friend Ryan (an accomplished rock climber, but fairly novice runner) if he regretted his decision to come running that morning. His response was that he preferred running in bad weather. I thought…well, I agree.
There is something about running outside that exposes you to extremes that we never experience anymore in this climate controlled world. Why does the weather matter when you go from your warm house, to your warm car, to the parking garage, to your warm office?! There is something about being human that makes us want to battle these extremes and challenge ourselves physically. Why else would we run marathons? Ironman races? The Iditarod? Climb Mountains? Or run the completely inane bad water ultra??
Well don’t let a little cold and snow stop you from coming out this Sunday for our first tempo run. Remember the first step is always the hardest!
What is a Tempo Run?
Long distance runners need to be able to run pretty hard for a long period of time. Sprinters, on the other hand, need to be able to run REALLY hard for an extremely short period of time.
So how do you train your body to run pretty hard, for a long period of time? Tempo Running. Tempo workouts are either long steady runs (3-10 miles), or longer intervals with a very short amount of rest (1 mile repeats with 1 minute rest between each one.) Tempo running improves your Lactate threshold, which is one of the most important physiological factors for endurance sports. (Your lactate threshold is the effort level where you start accumulating lactic acid. Studies have shown that untrained individuals hit this point as low as 50-60% reserve heart rate, where trained runners hit it at 80-90%. For you science junkies, read more here.)
If the science doesn’t convince you, take it from the best: The foundation of Kenyan running is based almost exclusively on tempo training. In fact an article in Runner’s World called it the most important workout.
How Fast? How Far?
Tempo running is done at a pace that is about 30 seconds slower per mile than your 5k pace. Which is why we did the 3 mile time trial last week! So take you pace from last week, add 30 seconds per mile, and that is the pace that you will run at this week. We will run for either 3 or 4 miles. (Add 2 miles for warm up and up to 2 miles for cool down.)
On Sunday mornings, we are going to do tempo runs exclusively (steady runs of 3-8 miles), where the Tuesday night speed sessions will be doing some tempo intervals (1 mile repeats with 1 minute rest).
See you out there this Sunday!