THE BLOG

Workout of the Week: The Two-Part Tempo Run

04/16/2015 01:28 pm ET | Updated Jun 16, 2015
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Have you ever felt a race slipping away from you after a strong start? Have you been passed, or run out of gas, just a mile or two from the finish line? Every runner can benefit from increased endurance. Tempo runs are just the thing to help you become better at running faster for longer periods of time.

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The Two-Part Tempo Run is one of my favorite workouts. I've adapted it to my training needs for different race distances, but I first read about it in an article written by Pete Magill for Running Times titled "Solving the 5K Puzzle." I suggest you read the entire article for some excellent running advice from one the best masters runners in the world. You can apply his coaching advice to all distances, not just the 5K.

Magill says tempo runs are often misunderstood. They aren't time trials or race pace efforts. Coaching legend Jack Daniels explains that "the intensity of effort associated with [tempo] running is comfortably hard. [Y]our effort should be one that you could maintain for about an hour in a race." You can read more from Coach Jack Daniels, PhD in his highly acclaimed book, Daniel's Running Formula.

2-Part Tempo Run Workouts

5K Training:

  • 15 minute warm-up, 2 x 10 minutes at (5K race pace + 30 seconds) w/ 2 minute recovery jog, 15 minute cool-down
  • 15 minute warm-up, 2 x 15 minutes at (5K race pace + 30 seconds) w/ 3 minute recovery jog, 15 minute cool-down

Half Marathon Training:

  • 20 minute warm-up, 3 x 10 minutes at (Half Marathon race pace + 15 seconds) w/ 5 minute recovery jog, 20 minute cool-down
  • 20 minute warm-up, 3 x 15 minutes at (Half Marathon race pace + 15 seconds) w/ 6 minute recovery jog, 20 minute cool-down

Marathon Training:

  • 20 minute warm-up, 3 x 15 minutes at (Marathon race pace) w/ 5 minute recovery jog, 20 minute cool-down
  • 20 minute warm-up, 3 x 20 minutes at (Marathon race pace) w/ 6 minute recovery jog, 20 minute cool-down

If you decide to add these 2-Part Tempo runs to your week, they should take the place of another hard workout. For example, I might swap this out with intervals or a fartlek workout. These workouts are not easy. But, I guarantee that you'll feel stronger and gain endurance if you make them a regular part of your training plan.

Learn more at SaltmarshRunning.com