Last week we looked at basic tempo runs, and some variations of tempo pace training. This week, we’ll discuss faster intervals that remain in that “tempo” range.
Cruise pace is faster than tempo, around 15K or one hour race pace. Normally, we use cruise pace during longer intervals, either the first workout back after a race, or just as a regular aerobic stimulus throughout the base season, and during racing season in place of tempo runs. These would be longer intervals of three minutes-eight minutes with very short—one minute or less—recovery.
10K race pace
For runners who are not 10K specialists, running longer 10K pace intervals can also provide a great aerobic workout. For 10K runners, you’ll want to be running intervals like these to prepare yourself to run the pace you want to run in your goal race. These are pretty simple workouts: 10 x 1K at 10K pace with two or three minutes of recovery. You can change the recovery to vary the stimulus, with shorter rest being a more challenging race-pace type run, and more rest being more of a “tempo” type effort.
Fartlek and progression runs
As I mentioned above, we can play with these paces in any number of ways. Two examples are the 30-30-30 and the “Foxy Frog.” 30-30-30 is a good marathon or half-marathon workout. Run 30 minutes easy, then 30 minutes at your marathon pace, then 30 more minutes at tempo. This progression run gives you specific work at race pace, a longer aerobic run and really gets that feeling of the end of a longer race. The so-called “Foxy Frog”, named by a University of Guelph student-athlete, mixes cruise pace and 10K pace. In the fall we run these like a fartlek on a cross-country course. For example, three sets of three minutes, three minutes, three minutes. Three minutes at cruise pace, three minutes at 10K pace (so a little faster) and three minutes back at cruise pace, jog for an easy three minutes, then repeat it all a couple times. This can all also be done with two, four of five minutes intervals. The possibilities are endless!
The great thing about tempo running is that you can do a lot of it. Because the paces are not too intense, it helps you prepare specifically for longer and for shorter races, it improves both your lactate and anaerobic thresholds and it increases your VO2 max, as well!