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Try a cut-down tempo workout to prime your legs for race day

A cut-down tempo session will help you ace that finishing kick

morning runner on road

Tired of running the same intervals or hill repeats on speedwork days? A cut-down tempo run will add some zest to your routine while setting your body up to run hard on race day.  In a cut-down run, the longer, mentally tough sections of the workout are done first, with intervals getting shorter and faster as you continue.

This can be a great way to increase intensity in your speed workouts without adding risk of injury–your body is very warmed up and ready to roll by the time you hit the faster sections.

How do I run it?

The cut-down tempo run using distance or time, with the goal of increasing your speed as the intervals get shorter. It’s a great way to prime your legs and lungs to work hard when fatigued, helping you master that finishing kick on race day.

Rest is short in a cut-down run, so maintaining a smooth pace in the early intervals is important so that you’ll still be able to increase your speed at the end. In both these workouts, begin at around your half-marathon pace, picking up speed with each interval until you’re running at 5K race pace for the final push.

woman running by Jeremy Stewart
Photo: Unsplash/Jeremy Stewart

Cut-down workout by distance

Warm up with 2–3 kilometres of easy running

Run 1 km harder followed by 200m easy running for recovery, 800m hard followed by 200m easy, 400m, 200m, 100m (maintaining the 200m light jog in between each interval).

Cool down with 2–3 kilometres of easy running

Cut-down workout by time

Warm up with 10–15 minutes of easy running.

Run 5:00 minutes at goal pace, one minute of easy running for recovery, 4:00 minutes at goal pace (maintaining the minute of recovery in between each interval), 3:00, 2:00, 1:00.

Cool down with 10–15 minutes easy running

Make sure to follow your speedwork sessions with a recovery day or a day of easy running.

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