Tempo Runs Are Killing Me!

by Lyn

Hi Dominique, I recently got some advice from you via e-mail, which I found helpful. I recently ran a 10k. I did it in 60 minutes, which I was not pleased with as I had aimed for 55 minutes or so.
I have been running for 4 years now, but I find it hard to improve my speed, I have done a few tempo runs but find it nearly kills me.

Can you give me tips on improving my speed, I am thinking it is just more hard work that I need. Should I focus on perhaps a week of tempo running?

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Lyn,
Thx for your running training question.
Tempo runs can be quite enjoyable.
I would advise you though that when you start off doing them after a period of easy running you first do tempo intervals.
So these are 1k-2k efforts at tempo pace.
Do a number of these with a few minutes of jogging in between.

Start off with a few 1k-ers (e.g. 4-6 in one session), then build it up gradually over a number of weeks until you reach a sort of sweet spot with 2 x 20 mins of tempo running with 5 mins jogging in between (that's my preferred tempo session).

You are right, in the beginning they are killing, but they definitely work. You get oh so strong by doing a weekly tempo run. I wouldn't recommend a week of tempo running.

Another ingredient for a successful 10k is mileage, especially long runs. The 10k is underestimated, it does not have the glamour of the marathon, but it is one of the toughest distances because you run that fast that you are basically, from beginning to end, in some
kind of pain.
Very regular long runs well over 10k could possibly help bring your time down a bit further.

Keep in mind also that, if I am not mistaken, you are training for a marathon (Lyn had asked me a question earlier about her marathon preparation) which is taking its toll on you. If you'd have the luxury of focusing on your 10k race solely, you would probably also do better in that race.

It is quite normal for runners to be disappointed with their race times during marathon training.

Hope all of this helps.
For more information about tempo running check out this page.


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