What is Tempo Run and How to Use It to Improve Endurance

Tempo running training or “run tempo” are sessions in which we already notice a clear effort, but which we can maintain consistently for a significant period of time (between 30-60 minutesEasily, on the scale of perceived effort, we would place TEMPO RUN type sessions in a scale of 8.This type of training is located in a intensity near lactate threshold (LT)according to the scientific literature.

The author of the book “The Daniels Formula for Runners”, (Jack Daniels), explains that Threshold pace (T-pace = threshold pace) is one of the most productive types of training for endurance runners.

Describe how it helps runners avoid overtraining, produce more satisfying workouts and better physical consistency.

The purpose of including this type of training in the weekly plan is to train at competitive paces without involving excessively high intensity, and to also work From a psychological point of view, the effort at rhythms and intensities close to competition, and improve resistance and speed.

Benefits of Tempo Run

A clear benefit is that we work at a moderately high intensity, which allows us to Do an intense workout but don’t end up exhausted.

By working in close and/or competitive rhythms, it allows us learn to adjust our perceived effort and read the signals from our body and brain to be able to better interpret it on the day of the test.

It allows us to put ourselves in a situation.

They are trainings that Help improve endurance and aerobic powerwhile allowing you to improve rhythms and be able to maintain them.

The major purpose of this type of training is to allow the body improves its ability to eliminate lactate in the blood and keep it below a manageable level.

On the other hand, improve the speed at which the runner is able to maintain for a relatively long time.

How to introduce Tempo Run into your training

Whether you are a recreational runner or an experienced runner looking to improve your rhythms and sensations, These types of sessions should be part of your training program, once you have completed the weeks of adaptation and base work.

You can start by introducing this type of Tempo Run sessions over long intervals of timewith small recoveries at softer rhythms, in order to add a volume of tempo intensity at the end of the 20-30min sessionuntil you can create the necessary adaptations to be able to do a continuous work session at a TEMPO pace.

Also, far from the competitive period and once the first mesocycle has passedlonger series sessions can be performed at this pace.

Medium and long distance runners and triathletes usually implement this type of sessions in their long runs, up to twice a week.

Already in the weeks leading up to the week before the competition, the ideal is to include 1 TEMPO RUN session per week.

Particularly, I find this type of training really interesting for the mental work of preparation for a test or competition.since it requires you to be focused, maintaining a rhythm and getting into the role of the test.

Example of sessions

we leave you 3 models of TEMPO RUN sessions depending on your current level so you can start implementing it into your weekly training plan.

LevelHeatingTempo RunBack to the calmBeginner 10-15 min at a very comfortable pace in training zones 1-2, ending with a slight progression. 2 repetitions:

7 min in zone 3-4, recovering 4 min at an easy pace in zone 2

8min easy jogging in zones 1-2Intermediate15 min at a very comfortable pace in training zones 1-2, ending with 5 min light progression.30 minutes8min easy jogging in zones 1-2Advanced (long distance runners)15 min at a very comfortable pace in zones training 1-2, ending with 5 min slight progression. 6 repetitions:

8 min at marathon pace, recovering 3 min at easy pace in zone 1-2

10min easy jog in zone 1

Common mistakes when performing a Tempo Run and how to avoid them

These types of sessions, without reaching a high intensity, require concentration and effort, so It is not advisable, especially for untrained runners, to perform more than one session a week to avoid overload, excess fatigue and lack of recovery.

A common mistake is to perform this type of sessions without having rested enough.which will lead you to not be able to maintain the pace in a sustained manner and the perception of effort will be much greater.

Another very common mistake is that, since they are strong rhythms but can be controlled and maintained, without reaching the demands of maximum intensity series, many times the target intensity is not really respected, it being higher.

This accumulates volume of work at very high intensity with consequent fatigue.

The important thing about this type of sessions is that the pace must remain constant, so it is not worth doing just the last kilometers at that pace, but rather the main block of the session or the long intervals.

Recommendations to enjoy sessions at TEMPO rhythm

Duration: If you are a beginner runner, start by introducing a 10-20 minute block at this tempo pace once a week into your longer sessions.Sensations: Listen to your body and learn to work by sensation, running at a “comfortably hard” pace that you can maintain for a relatively long time (between 20-40 minutes depending on experience and time of season).Breathing: Use it as a tool to work on this rhythm, at a respiratory rate of 2 steps when inhaling and 1 step when exhaling.Heart rate: If you train following this criterion, a good indicator for this type of sessions is to work at approximately 85% of your maximum heart rate.Hydration: Don’t forget to stay well hydrated during the session. Also, if you are a long-distance runner who does long sessions at tempo Run, maintain an HCO intake during the session. Not only to be able to maintain said intensity of work, but to be able to recover well after it.


Like runners, the training program must be varied and incorporate different types of sessions with differentiated objectives to work on different capacities and improve certain parameters.

Given the objective intensity of this type of sessions, it will help us to improve not only endurance but also speed and, of course, mentally learn to maintain competitive rhythms.

On the other hand, being less demanding and intense than series work at second threshold intensitiesclose to or higher than VO2MAX, are more bearable and the volume of kilometers in the total session is greater.

As you will see, these types of sessions are “intensely fun” and will provide a new physical and mental challenge to continue progressing as a runner.


Daniels, Jack “The Daniels Formula for Runners”, 2014, Tutor Editions.

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2024-04-12 11:04:16
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