Fitness · Just my Thoughts

Tempo? Pace?

I have always used a training plan for my marathons that involved five days a week of running, one rest day and one cross-training day. This next marathon in October I wanted to try something different. Mainly for personal reasons – my youngest is having his last summer at home as he leaves for college this year, I wanted to only run three or four days a week, not five. I have always used, or at least started with as my base as I tend to modify plans to fit me, Hal Higdon plans for my training so I took a good, hard look at his Marathon 3 training plan.

Now comes the hard part. What the heck is the difference between a tempo run and a pace run? I am loving trying to find out new information so thought I would share my confusion and a bit of my answers found with you.

Almost everything I read indicates pace runs are run at your race pace. Now, I don’t know about the rest of the world but my marathon pace is totally different from my 5K or even my 10K pace. How do I know which pace to take? I am deciding on a medium pace. I am trying to keep my half marathons to under 2:30 now that I have finally broken that threshold. I am calling, although I hold no delusions that my marathon pace is this, pace runs a 11:30 minute/mile run.

Now onto tempo runs. My previous attempts at speed work have consisted of Fartleks – I swear I like them just because saying or typing that name elicits a giggle from those of us who have the IQ of a teenager – done along my normal run routes using utility poles as my gauge of when to speed up and when to recover. This time around, as I prepare for the Amica Marathon in Rhode Island in October, I am going to try some tempo runs. Again, this involved looking at what a tempo run is. Most likely, I will resort back to my Fartleks once my legs have recovered from Two Marathon May. A tempo run starts out with five to ten minutes of easy running followed by at least five minutes – building up to more time as training goes on – of running at 10K pace, there’s that P word again, followed by five to ten minutes of easy running to cool down. Not totally different from Fartleks but more time spent at the race pace than when running an interval.

Now, do you use tempo or pace runs in your training?


One thought on “Tempo? Pace?

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