Many experts believe that tempo running is the most important workout to improve your overall ability at any race distance. While long distance runs are the best to work on your aerobic abilities. Nothing is better than tempo running to improve your ability to keep up a faster pace. It is also much more important than track workouts especially for longer races such as the half, and full marathon.
One reason it works is because tempo running is teaching our bodies something new. Many people have trained their bodies cardiovascular system to deliver oxygen. But few people have trained their bodies to use all the oxygen that is brought into the system. The more tempos running you do the more the body adapts to being able to use the oxygen that is brought into your system.
However, even when maybe people find the joys of tempo running they often do it incorrectly. Most people either run it much too hard, or not hard enough, and if either of these are being done you aren't gaining much from the workout. The distance of the tempo depends on what race you are training for. If you are training for a 5K then a tempo run between 3 and 4 miles is perfect. If it's the half marathon you are training for than 8 to 10 miles would be great. The best term that can be used to describe how a tempo run should feel is "comfortable hard".
To prepare for the workout you should warm up for at least 10 â 15 minutes. You should also go through you stretching routine and do a few strides to help warm up your body. You should also do at least a 10 to 15 minute cool down once you have completed the tempo run.
Now finding the right rhythm is what most people struggle with. When it comes to tempo running you should be running roughly 8% slower than your most recent race. For instance, my best 5k is right around 5:10 pace per mile. So my tempo runs should be completed roughly at 5:35 pace. Or if you have a heart rate monitor then keep your effort between 85% and 90%.
Begin doing tempo runs correctly and you will see great improvements in your races. There is no better feeling then being able to see your training pay off. If you have done tempos, and haven't seen any difference make sure that you are running them properly. If your running them to hard then you will be to tired from the workout, and to easy you will not carry out the main goal of tempo running.