How’s your week been? I hope you’ve had a great one and that you’ve got some fun plans for the weekend ahead. Today’s post is a big one, so let’s not waste any time and just jump straight in!
Work It Out
Of all the different types of run workouts (fartlek, HIIT, long slow distance, etc) tempo runs are my favourite. For those that are unfamiliar, a tempo run means running with a sustained effort for a pre-determined distance or length of time. If you’re training for a race, tempos are great because you can make them very specific to the length of race you’re going to run. Half marathons seem to be my sweet spot, and when training for them, I typically work up to tempo runs that are about 8 miles long.
During a tempo run, the goal is to be able to run at or around the pace you want to hit in a race. A traditional tempo workout might have you running the same pace the whole time (with a warm up and cool down on either side), but you don’t have to do them that way. I like to throw in a bit of variety, just to keep my body guessing.
So why do I love these runs so much? Here’s 3 quick reasons:
- Physiologically, they help us to develop a more efficient aerobic system and greater V02max (that’s the body’s ability to shuttle oxygenated blood to the muscles for energy).
- While they’re certainly not easy, tempo runs take less of a toll on the body than all-out HIIT intervals or tabatas, which means you can recover faster.
- They’re really motivating and a great test of fitness – you might start out one week only being able to hit a tempo pace that’s 10s/mile slower than your target race pace, but over time and with more training, you’ll see that improve and (ideally) be able to hit that target.
So with all that said, let’s do a tempo run, shall we!?
The Tempo Test Run Workout
This tempo run totals 6 miles, with a 0.5 mile warm-up and cool-down on either side of the main effort. To help you figure out pace, here’s the simple pace calculator I use. To work out your half marathon pace, enter your half marathon time (or target time), select ‘half marathon’ from the event distance menu, and click ‘calculate pace’. Voila – that’s the pace you’ll be trying to maintain for most of the tempo run!
This shouldn’t feel like a sprint (because you wouldn’t actually sprint a half marathon, right?), but it should feel “comfortably hard” for the entire duration. Can’t hit your target paces? No worries. Start with 10s slower, then the next time you try the test, aim for only 5s slower and progress from there.
Example: Say I have target times of a 1:30 half marathon, a 40:00 10K, and a 19:00 5K. In the workout below, I’d do the 10 min portion @6:51/mi pace, 1 min @6:21/mi pace, and 1 min @6:06/mi pace.
[Tweet “Add this session to your half marathon training plan: The Tempo Test Run”]
Turn It Up
This week’s jam is Up by Olly Murs ft. Demi Lovato, and I’m liking this one because not only is it a good workout song, but it’s also a great pick for singing along to in the car or dancing around to in your house. If you’re looking for a remix that has a little bit more energy than the original version, try this one.
Have A Read: The new Asics fuzeX
One of the best bits about being a #TeamASICS Ambassador is having the opportunity to test drive some awesome and innovative new shoes. Asics just announced the launch of the fuzeX, a brand new lightweight model that’s just as good for running short as it is going long. The shoe has fuzeGEL™ in the midsole which helps to absorb shock in the back of the foot (hello, heel strikers!) and transfer it to the forefoot for a more powerful takeoff.
I’m a bit of an overpronator, which is why I typically stick to Asics’ GT-1000, GT-2000, GT-3000 and Gel Tri Noosa models. The fuzeX is a neutral shoe suited for underpronators to runners with neutral strides, and in the past I’ve been very careful with neutral shoes because I know I need some extra stability support. Much to my surprise though, I’ve had zero problems. In fact, my first few fuzeX runs have been some of the most comfortable and seemingly effortless runs ones in a while!
Even though the shoe is very lightweight, I felt like it offered plenty of support and cushioning. Another notable difference from other Asics models (and other running shoes in general) is a seamless upper. Because there are fewer layers of material, the fuzeX feels really flexible and seems to fit more closely and comfortably to my feet.
Of course, just like the other shoes in the Asics lineup, the fuzeX comes in all sorts of fun colours, and being matchy matchy with your running gear is of the utmost importance, right? 😉
The shoes are now available in stores, but if you live in the US and want to win a free pair (who wouldn’t?!) you can participate in the #fuzeXplore photo contest. You’ll also get a chance to win a trip to your dream running destination of choice. Just promise me that if you win, you’ll take me with you!
The catch? You’ve gotta act quick. Yes, I’ve been terribly slow in getting this up and the contest is open from February 1st to 15th (my bad!). At the time of publishing, this means you have just a couple of days! For all details on the #fuzeXplore photo contest, check out this video, then get your entries in.
For all of my Canadian readers, I apologize that this is only open to the US, but I’ve got a pretty great giveaway coming up for you very soon so stay tuned!
Phew – that was a big post. Before you go, tell me…
- If you’re training for a half marathon right now, what training sessions do you like best? Intervals? Tempo? Fartlek? Long runs?
- What shoes are you running in these days?