5 Best Tempo Run Workout to Run a Faster 5K

tempo run
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Tempo run is a type of run whereby you are running comfortably hard without exerting yourself too much. You are basically running at a pace below your anaerobic threshold.

Anaerobic threshold is also known as the point your body remove lactic acid at the same rate it is producing.

When you go beyond this threshold, this is when you start to have burning sensation in your legs and this threshold point is usually about 80% of your maximum heart rate.

Tempo running is to improve your anaerobic threshold to sustain the quicker running pace for a longer period of time. Eventually, you will run a faster 5K.

Tempo runs is also a great workout if you want to lose weight and burn fat instead.

Note: The pace to do a tempo run should be tough and challenging, but you can complete it. You should finish your workout tired, not dead-tired.

Follow these 5 best tempo run workout to run a faster 5K:

1. Long Tempo Runs

Long tempo runs requires you to run a longer duration (up to 15 minutes) at a pace that’s quicker than your usual pace. Try to maintain 5-10 seconds faster than your usual 5K pace.

If you don’t have a GPS watch to guide you, then you gotta use your “feeling” to guide you instead. To do that, you can try to run faster to the point it feels tougher but bearable until 15 minutes.

tempo run

Don’t run the first and second tempo too quick, otherwise, you will not be able to finish the whole workout.

During the rest time, try to jog as slow as possible, but don’t walk. You’d want to maintain the tiredness and not allow your body full recovery by walking or stopping.

A long tempo runs sample workout routine:

  • 10 mins tempo, 1 min jogging, repeat 5 times.
  • 12 mins tempo, 1 min jogging, repeat 4 times.
  • 15 mins tempo, 1.5 mins jogging, repeat 3 times.
  • 20 mins tempo, 2 mins jogging, repeat 3 times.

2. Comfortable Hard Tempo Runs

You need to be running at least 15 seconds faster than your current 5K pace for this workout. Do this workout once you are familiar with tempo runs and you are confident you can sustain until the end.

This workout is tough and challenging, but at the same time it is comfortable and rewarding.

Note: Don’t push yourself until your legs are burning or you are panting for air. Try slowing down a little to remain in the “comfortable hard” zone.

A comfortable hard tempo runs sample workout routine:

  • 8 mins tempo, 2 mins jogging, repeat 4 times.
  • 10 mins tempo, 2 mins jogging, repeat 3 times.
  • 12 mins tempo, 2.5 mins jogging, repeat 3 times.
  • 14 mins tempo, 3 mins jogging, repeat 3 times.

The workout looks similar to long tempo runs, but it isn’t the same. The main difference is the speed you are running during the tempo bout, i.e., much quicker.

3. Hardcore Tempo Runs

This workout is extremely effective to improve your 5K running speed, but it maybe too tough and challenging for you. You may not be able to finish the workout the first time you try.

The main goal of this workout is to maintain the fast speed – at least 30 seconds quicker than your 5K current best time – throughout the tempo bout.

A hardcore tempo runs sample workout routine:

  • 3 mins tempo, 2 mins jogging, repeat 8 times.
  • 4 mins tempo, 3 mins jogging, repeat 6 times.
  • 5 mins tempo, 4 mins jogging, repeat 4 times.
  • 6 mins tempo, 5 mins jogging, repeat 4 times.
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4. Hilly Terrain Tempo Runs

This kind of hilly terrain refers to a lot of ups and downs kind of terrain. It is more challenging than tempo runs on flat ground.

hilly tempo run

It may get too tough while doing this workout, reduce your speed to the point it is comfortable hard.

Your muscles maybe the one that’s burning instead of your lungs.

A hill terrain tempo runs sample workout routine:

  • 2 mins tempo, 1 mins jogging, repeat 5 times.
  • 3 mins tempo, 2 mins jogging, repeat 4 times.
  • 4 mins tempo, 3 mins jogging, repeat 4 times.
  • 5 mins tempo, 4 mins jogging, repeat 3 times.

5. Interval Tempo Runs

Interval tempo runs is a type of tempo run which is broken up into smaller tempos. This kind of tempo usually last less than 30 mins.

It is usually a medium-ish effort at the start and progressively increase to hard by the last few repeats.

Gotta try it to know how it feels! It feels great though…

An interval tempo runs sample workout routine:

  • 1 min tempo, 30 seconds jogging, repeat 15 times.
  • 1.5 mins tempo, 1 min jogging, repeat 12 times.
  • 2 mins tempo, 1.5 mins jogging, repeat 8 times.
  • 2.5 mins tempo, 2mins jogging, repeat 6 times.

Remember to always run at the speed you can manage until the end of the tempo duration and jog for recovery prior to the next tempo repeat.

Which tempo run workout is your favourite? Leave a comment below!

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Subscribe to receive a free 8-weeks training plan for you to go from couch to running 5K.
Includes email updates. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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2 Comments

  1. Tempo running is immensely effective in cutting fat and dropping weight, like you said, so it’s important to have the right approach. These are great tips that will help people tempo run more effectively.

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