Along with hill workouts, I’ve also added in tempo runs starting last week. You may or may not have them in your running plans, but they are an awesome way to start building up your speed. I wouldn’t suggest them every week, but once every couple of weeks (especially during your peak weeks) would be great.
How it works: You do a five to ten minute warmup, followed by a certain amount of miles (I’ll explain this below) at a pace that is uncomfortable but manageable. Then you do a cool-down for another 5-10 minutes.
What it does: You’ll force your body to know how to maintain speed for a long period of time. Who doesn’t want to improve their PR?
Now I mentioned above the “certain amount of miles.” It really depends what you’re training for how much you’ll need to get done.
For a 5K: 20-25 minutes (2-3 miles)
For a 10K: 4-6 miles
For the marathoner (half or full): 6-8 miles
Some recommend splitting up the tempo times for the longer distances. Example for marathoners: run six miles at tempo speed, jog for five minutes, then do another six miles at tempo speed.
Runners World suggests the below ways to determine your tempo speed:
Recent Race: Add 30 to 40 seconds to your current 5-K pace or 15 to 20 seconds to your 10-K pace
Heart Rate: 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.
I prefer to do tempo runs on a treadmill because it’s the only way I can hold the speed for such a long period of time. Any advice from those who are disciplined enough to do tempo runs outdoors?