effect of threshold

Why You Need to Master the Tempo Run

Why You Need to Master the Tempo Run


A session called “tempo” is included in many training plans, so I would like to comment something on this routine for those who do not know or have not put it into practice.

What is tempo training?

The term Tempo Run or “Continuous Race”  was popularized by Jack Daniels to refer to a type of training in which one runs at a “strong but controlled” pace. According to Lewis Moses, the British 1500m indoor champion in 2012 and now a running coach, the tempo race is also known by the names of “LT1,” threshold training, or lactate training.

It can consist of a continuous run of up to 10 kilometers or also long intervals with short recovery times. Tempo training is a great way to prepare for 10K, half marathon, and marathon races. Moses explains that trying to keep up with the tempo while running is often more difficult for less experienced athletes. One way to lessen the difficulty would be to use what Daniels calls “cruise intervals” (also known as “tempo repeats”).

 The intervals tempo requires a career break in non – continuous sections with short recoveries (Moses recommended 20-30 seconds). Over time, it is suggested to reduce the intervals and increasingly make more continuous races at the tempo. Another way is to increase the distance of the race and thus spend more time in the tempo zone.

Moses explains that in physiological terms, a tempo race takes place at the level where the body has the ability to eliminate as much lactate as it produces, that is, it is basically running at the fastest pace at which it can be running aerobically. It involves a prolonged duration of activity at 80-85% of your maximum effort.

Moses suggests that even if runners use a stopwatch, work their tempo rhythm through the sensations they experience from the race as well as their heart rate.

Racing expert and coach Kevin Beck offers the analogy that tempo is similar to “holding your hand just above the flame.” It’s fast, but not super fast.

Hills or slopes can also be used for tempo. This is the preferred method of Ryan Hall, the US half-marathon record holder. However, it is noted that your pace will be considerably slower than when performed on flat ground, although the perception of intensity will be similar.

Why would it be worth working at “threshold” intensity?

effect of threshold

Lactate threshold pace (LT pace) is a very good physiological predictor of distance running performance. Simply put, it could be said that the LT pace is a reflection of how fast you can run before the lactate level begins to rise rapidly. TRs are performed in a range of intensity close to the point where lactate is beginning to accumulate, which precisely provides a stimulus to improve LT pace.

In the words of Pfitzinger (2006), “By running at your current LT pace, you improve your LT pace, which leads to improved running performance. There is also a psychological benefit because the concentration required to hold the LT pace develops mental toughness to compete. “

One of the main effects of lactate threshold training can be seen in an improvement in the lactate profile. Graph 1 shows the effect of training on lactate threshold (6). After a period of lactate threshold training, there is a marked improvement in lactate levels at all speeds. In particular, the speed at which the lactate threshold occurs (basically the point at which there is an acceleration in lactate production) has improved by approximately 0.5 km / h which translates into significant improvements in running performance. resistance.Curvilinear-increase-in-blood-lactate-in-relation-to-running-speed

Three tempo routines 

1. Continuous running at tempo Step

 Run 3 to 8 kilometers at a tempo pace (15 to 20 seconds slower than your 5k pace). Choose a distance that you can keep up with during the exercise. A local 5-kilometer race can be a good setting for this training but you must control yourself and not look for your best mark in that session.

2. Intervals at a tempo step

 One of my favorite routines is to perform two or three sets of 10 minutes each at a tempo step, recovering between 60 and 90 minutes. This routine allows you to get the benefits of a tempo workout but is usually less tedious than continuous running.

3. Tempo races at marathon pace

 This modality is a little slower than the conventional tempo step but it must be maintained for a greater distance, which can reach approximately 21 kilometers at marathon pace.

Remember to always warm-up before each training session and stretch appropriately at the end.

How to estimate running paces for tempo training?

According to Daniels, this pace is for many people about 15 to 20 seconds per kilometer slower than the equivalent pace of a 5-kilometer run. For example, if we run 5 kilometers in 20 minutes, we would be running every kilometer in 5 minutes. In this case, the tempo would be about 15-20 seconds above this step, that is, about 5: 15-5: 20.

If you want to perform some simple calculations to estimate your training steps (including Tempo) from a recent result of a 5 or 10-kilometer run, we recommend using a  step calculator.



Training Pace Calculator



What are the benefits of tempo training?

When the body metabolizes glucose, lactic acid is produced as a by-product. A tempo run raises the lactate threshold, which to better explain this is essentially the point at which lactic acid begins to build up significantly in the muscles. In simple terms, this will help you run faster for longer, which is why Moses believes that “jogging should be a basic part of the year-round running ‘diet’.”

How often should we do tempo training?

Regarding the frequency of tempo practice, some data that we have found is that experts recommend not doing more than one weekly session and that this does not exceed 10 to 15% of the total training for that week. Moses agrees on this, pointing out that “a race on pace doesn’t have to be done every week. You can readjust your training microcycle accordingly. “

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