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Speedwork: the cut-down tempo

Break up your usual tempo run to get stronger and faster

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your running routine, the cut-down tempo may be just what you need. This is a fun workout that helps you develop strength and speed, and since the intervals get shorter throughout the workout, you get the more mentally challenging, longer sections out of the way first.

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The cut-down tempo can be run by distance or time, with the goal of increasing your speed as the intervals get shorter. This teaches you to run fast on tired legs, which will help you with your finishing kick on race day. The rest is short, so it’s important to manage your pace in the early intervals so you’re able to increase your speed. Here is an example of a cut-down tempo workout by time:

Warmup: 10-15 minutes easy jog, followed by drills and strides

Workout: 5:00, 4:00, 3:00, 2:00, 1:00; with one minute of light jogging recovery between each interval

Cooldown: 10-15 minutes easy jog followed by light stretching

The idea here is to start at about half-marathon pace, and gradually pick up speed as the intervals get shorter so that you’re running approximately 5K pace by the last one. If you’re training for a longer race, you can easily add mileage to this workout by tacking on a few longer intervals to the beginning. For example, you could make your first interval eight minutes long and work your way down from there.

Here is an example of a cut-down tempo by distance:

Warmup: 2-3 kilometre easy jog followed by drills and strides

Workout: 1Km, 800m, 400m, 200m, 100m; 200m light jog in between each interval.

Cooldown: 2-3 kilometres easy jog followed by light stretching

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