How To Do a Tempo Run

We’ve started a weekly running group as part of Bombshell Bootcamp and each week we post a new running workout for the group to complete on their own. Last week we focused on the Tempo Run. As a marathon runner – I’m very familiar with this training run but many people are not. It’s one of the best runs you can do to really increase your stamina. How fast do you go? Well, it depends on how fast you are NOW – not how fast you want to be ; ) As you get faster – your training runs will get faster. But, for now…you need to rely on either your heart rate or Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and use current 10k pace (not your goal pace in 3 months).


Sample Tempo Run

Tempo Run is a run that is “Comfortably Hard”. A classic tempo or lactate-threshold run is a sustained, comfortably hard effort for two to four miles. Not as fast as say, a 5k pace – but pretty fast. More like a 10k or half marathon race pace. Do the below tempo run for 2-3 miles if you are a beginner or slightly longer (3-4 miles) for more advanced. Temp runs should not be run much longer than that because the whole point is to run at a pace you can’t sustain for long!


Workout Details:

  • Warmup walk/jog for 10 minutes.
  • Then do 5 sets x 3 minutes at tempo pace, 60-second easy jog in between each one (if you have to walk during the recovery, you’re going too hard). So, your running portion will be approximately 20 minutes (not including warmup and cooldown).
  • Cooldown walk 5-10min.

Tips for Tempo Run:

Heart Rate: During the tempo pace, you should be at 85 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.
Perceived Exertion: An 8 on a 1-to-10 scale (a comfortable effort would be a 5; racing would be close to a 10).
Talk Test: A question like “Pace okay?” should be possible, but conversation won’t be.

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