What are Tempo Runs and Threshold Running?

What are Tempo Runs and Threshold Running?

The term tempo run and threshold run may be known to many of the people who have decided to get a bit more in depth with their run training. Tempo runs are also known as threshold runs. Both of these runs could be essential for the runners of any distance which can be ranged from 1500m to marathon. To understand tempo runs or threshold runs the following description is surely going to be beneficial for you.

What are tempo runs?

Tempo runs are prolonged and steady runs which can help the runner to fight off that lactate build up as they are racing. It can be easier for the runner to maintain the tempo runs for various times. For example you may do a session that is 2 x 2 mile threshold or a straight out 4 mile tempo session. The term tempo running and threshold running are being used interchangeably but there is little difference between the two.

What is the best way to find your tempo pace?

For the people who never had experienced a tempo run pace, this statement could seem very alien to you. However, if you have run even once at threshold pace then the feelings are going to be easier for you to recall.

The tempo run - also known as an anaerobic threshold or lactate-threshold run. Is a pace about 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than your current 5K race pace, according to running coach Jack Daniels, Ph.D., who popularised the tempo run in his book Daniels' Running Formula.

On the other hand, a tempo pace must hold for 20 to 30 minutes steadily and the result of this tempo pace must make you able to sustain the one hour of running without feeling a need of any break. However, at the starting of your tempo workout, you may feel like your breathing is is all over the place but once you get going and are adjusted to the tempo pace you will feel like you are running fast and getting into a rhythm.

So to put it technically so that you can understand the tempo run pace in an effective way. Your tempo pace is a pace you feel like you can sustain for around an hour of effort. For your body to get used to the lactate effects you have to train your body at this specific level in order for it to adapt. It effectively teaches your body to run with this burning sensation in your legs, adapts to it and moves that threshold point further along the scale.

Say your threshold hits at a heart rate of 182bpm, with 6 weeks of structured tempo runs, that heart rate may move a few beats upwards because your body is becoming more tolerable to the specific pace to which you then have to start thinking about running a little faster to reach the point in which your body is producing lactate.

Benefits of tempo runs


Tempo runs can be an excellent method for runners who want to build their speed endurance and strength in an effective way. These are actually being done at a steady effort of level which is commonly slower as compared to your 10k race pace. Read on for some benefits to adding a tempo run to your training!

1. Tempo runs can prevent the runner from muscle fatigue. Tempo runs are highly effective and can play a positive role in your lactate threshold which is highly essential for the ones who want to run faster. Lactate threshold is a point when the lactic acid of the body of the runner starts to accumulate in his or her muscles. This accumulation of lactic acid into the muscles can cause fatigue and soreness which most of the runners experience when they have to run hard. While if they are going to increase their lactate threshold running by exercising tempo runs on a regular basis, then to reduce the accumulation of lactic acid into muscles will reduce and you can run faster without suffering from any kind of fatigue or soreness.

2. Tempo and threshold runs can be the best for you to increase your speed. These are comfortably uncomfortable light runs which can build your slow twitch muscle fibers in an effective way. These can be effective in the process of developing capillary beds which can lead to the major gain in your speed.

3. These runs can make workout fun for you. Tackling the repeat miles can be hectic but tempo run has a beauty to run down the clock and you have to rely on time only instead of miles (depending on the session), it also trains your mental capacity to run comfortably hard, emulating what it is going to feel like on race day.

4. By doing tempo runs you can add a variety to your training. Incorporating tempo runs in your regular routine can help you to add some spice in your regular work routine in an effective way and this will increase your strength incredibly.

How to integrate tempo runs into your workout and training routine effectively?


When you are looking at the best activity to enhance your fitness level or trying to set a personal record then you must think about to make tempo runs an essential part of your workout routine. It is because these are highly effective to build your endurance and speed. How you can make these a part of your regular routine actually varies. Some of the runners would be recommended up to 9 miles between half or full marathon race pace. While some may be prescribed to do these for 6 miles at 15k to the pace of half marathon race.

The thing to remember is that the real recommendation of tempo runs is to stick to it and perform these steadily according to a specific and planned pace to reap the benefits and build upon them on a six weekly basis.

Marcus Sladden