Tempo Pace Workout

Tempo pace is a term that is thrown around a lot but not often defined. In general terms a “tempo” effort is a workout to be performed at a specific “race” pace (depending on the race you are training for). For example if you are training for a Ironman your long rides should be ridden at “IM Tempo Pace.” The purpose of these rides (or runs) is to get you used to the pace you will be performing at while giving you a chance to practice with nutrition, cadence and comfort among other things. One could probably complete these assignments at a faster pace but that is not desirable. For one reason, a faster pace would then change the workout category to a “speed workout” which serves a different training purpose. Too many speed workouts could also lead injury or burnout. Plus you need to ingrain that race pace during training so it becomes second nature and “no big deal.”

Occasionally your coach may assign you a workout to be performed at a faster race pace. For example “mile repeats done at 5k race pace” What the what?? Try this as a starting point and fine tune it as you train:

Using your goal marathon pace as the benchmark:
Half Marathon pace = Marathon Pace minus 45 seconds/mile
10k pace = Half Marathon pace minus 20 seconds/miles
5k pace = 10k pace minus 10 seconds per mile

Now these are rough estimates and everyone varies but its a starting point. If you can run a Half Marathon at 8 min miles then you can fill in the rest:
Marathon 8:45
Half Marathon 8:00
10k 7:40
5k 7:30

Now you have some goals to shoot for and after a few times through, you will get familiar with your paces. Once comfortable with your specific paces, it makes racing much easier and predictable.

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