Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Figuring out the Tempo

After running two races in two weekends and having two new PRs, I sat down yesterday morning and typed in my results to see what my new paces for interval and tempo/threshold were going to be for my Tuesday night workout.

Since I joined my running club last year, I began to use the VDOT system to find my paces based on a current PR.  It is very similar to a lot of the other calculators out there but since my whole running team uses it, I thought I should use it too.

First I plugged in my half marathon PR of 1:41:05 and this is what popped up...


The paces that my VDOT showed were similar to what I had been running before the half marathon.


Then I plugged in my 5k PR of 21:12 and this is what popped up...


A new threshold pace of 7:16 (which equates to 4:31 for 1000m)!! That was quite a jump from the 7:30 pace I had been using before.

So which pace to use?  Last night at running club, we kind of winged it and just let our legs decide the pace.  Since it was just two days after the 5k, I didn't want to over do it but my legs seemed to respond well to the new threshold pace.

Workout - 
1 mile at threshold w/ 3 min recovery
4x1000m at threshold w/ 3 min recovery

Results - 
1 mile at 7:10
1000s at 4:27 (7:11 pace), 4:18 (6:56 pace), 4:23 (7:04 pace), 4:14 (6:50 pace)

Turns out the pace was a bit too fast for this workout. So I looked up some info about what exactly the tempo was and the benefits of doing it the right way. 

  • A tempo/threshold run should be run at about your 10k pace OR should equate to the pace you can hold for 50-60 minutes
  • A tempo/threshold run should last about 3-6 miles depending on your training
  • A tempo/threshold run should be comfortably hard running and you should be able to carry on a conversation
  • The goal of a tempo/threshold run is to maintain a steady intensity of effort for a prolonged period of time and resist the urge to go faster.

The benefits of running a tempo run correctly greatly outweigh those of going too fast and becoming injured. 

Happy Wednesday!  I'll hopefully be posting later on about my "current excitement" which is a surprise!

16 comments:

Lacey Nicole said...

nice! thanks J. i love looking at numbers and thinking about what paces i could/should be running for different workouts. this is really helpful! "smart" running :) and great workout , too!

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing this tool! I'm heading out for a tempo run today.

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

Thanks for this info! I'm always unsure of which paces I should be aiming for and end up guesstimating a little bit.
:)

trifitmom said...

going to have to check that site out

tink said...

this inspires me to remember that speedwork as well as other exercises that i tend to negelect can be so important. thanks.
http://beboldrunwild.blogspot.com/

misszippy said...

That's a great site and you're getting really good info there.

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I really like tempo runs! They make me feel SUPER accomplished when I hit all my paces!

Monika C. said...

Thanks for the info! I'll definitely check it out, even though it looks intimidating haha.

Laura Frey said...

good info. tempo is my hardest workout. Kinda stressful too! You're doing great!

Bethany + Ryan said...

yeah, i need to get charts and figure out what paces i should be running. I'm way too laid back (lazy?) when it comes to this sort of thing. Looks like it is really paying off for you tho, nice work!!

marathonmaiden said...

i effing hate tempos. for real. i don't think i'll ever be able to execute them properly!

but i still do them. begrudgingly.

Aron said...

I think maybe it depends on what you are training for? If you are doing something short, maybe go for the faster times (since it's from a short race) and longer go off the longer race (but know you are capable of the faster times). I would probably start my tempo runs at or just below the slower end (730) and then increase as I went.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am going to train for a 1/2 this fall and I def want to use more quality work outs, like speed work and tempo runs. i am joining a running group in July and I think that will really helpP!

Jamie said...

Aron said everything I was going to! Be smart with the tempos and be sure to finish the tempo portion feeling like you could do a bit more as they aren't a full out effort run. Enjoy your faster paces!

Nicole said...

Your quite the speedy speedster!!!!! :-)

Marlene said...

I am nervous to see what the calculators will give me for a tempo pace in my next training cycle!

I have always used something closer to HM pace than 10K pace... interesting to see these guidelines.