What To Know About Tempo Runs And How They Can Upgrade Your Workout

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Running provides us with so many benefits for our bodies and our minds. It allows us to keep our body physically fit, while we work to overcome the mental battle of persevering through a workout that can be uncomfortable. The Better Health Channel credits routine running with strengthening our muscles, burning calories, and improving our cardio fitness. If you are a runner, you know the exhilaration you feel after finishing a long run with a personal best. Overcoming the mental and physical challenges of half a marathon or a full marathon is an incredible feeling, but even marathon runners can hit a plateau.


Many athletes look for new and interesting ways to elevate their workouts and challenge themselves physically. Runners are no different. If you're looking for a way to intensify your routine runs and improve your running time, you may want to try to implement tempo runs. Many seasoned runners are adding this type of training into their workout routines and they are reaping the countless benefits that tempo runs provide.

What are tempo runs?

Tempo runs are intense and extremely beneficial for your running game. They demand that you exert yourself at a high level for a longer period of time during your run (via Shape).  Marathon Handbook explains that these runs are designed to make runners stronger and faster by focusing on a high-intensity run for 20 to 40 minutes. This type of running challenges you in the best way. It's ideal if you build up to a longer period of time for the tempo run, but you can start in small spurts at first.


In order to find out where your heart rate should be during your tempo run period, Healthline suggests that you subtract your age from 220. Since you want to keep your heart rate at 85% of your maximum, simply multiply this number by .85 to get your tempo heart rate goal. Runners should not try for this heart rate level for an extended period of time until their stamina is built. Being able to maintain 85% of your maximum heart rate for a longer period of time each workout is a great tempo run goal.

Benefits of tempo running

When you implement tempo running into your routine, remember that the point is to push yourself beyond comfort. Nike emphasizes that tempo running is a different style of training from interval running. In tempo running, you'll be running faster for a shorter amount of time instead of alternating your pace throughout. This longer time of intensity helps to clear out lactic acid more efficiently. Without lactic acid build-up, you'll be able to run at a high level for a longer period of time. In addition, if you're a runner who struggles with the mental challenge of longer runs, tempo running will give you the confidence and the practice to power through on race day (via The Run Experience).


Tempo runs are a great way to amplify your running game. When you implement tempo running into your routine, start slowly and build up to 20 to 40 minutes of running at 85 to 90% of your maximum heart rate. You'll reap the mental and physical benefits immediately and bust through any plateaus that have emerged in your training.