As a beginner in terms of distance running and running as a sport, I’ve found myself being interested in a variety of training methods. I was one of these "oh I'm not good at running" guys. Then I started getting into 5ks and falling in love with the post run high. This is something I have to get better at.
Sure, you can go ahead and just outright go for a run. That's a fine way to train and you’ll see improvement in your times and in your conditioning but when you really break it down, running is very technical. It's a process.
(Here's our article on the best pre run supplements and best pre run breakfast)
I’ve realized that once I get past the effort part of running, just running, I need to start establishing baselines and actual training. What can I do to get better? This is where tempo runs come in as a way to increase your endurance and stamina.
Basically a tempo run or threshold workout, is where you run relatively hard but slower than your 5 k pace. The general advice is to run 25-30 seconds slower overall.
So how does this get me faster? How is a tempo run going to help improve 5k times?
Every half mile you’re going to have an all out effort sprint. It helps to have an app that can audibly tell you your time and distance. Every half a mile you’re going to sprint for upwards of 60 seconds.
This is actually a lot to ask. If you’re like me, you have EarPods in and your running app tells you’re distance. Well how are you going to know the time to sprint? You’re not.
Assess the terrain around you. Pick a lamp post, a tree, a stop sign or anything that serves as an end point and sprint as hard as possible to that end point in the near distance.
Once the sprint is over you’re going right back into your slow running pace. You’re not stopping for anything. Just keep moving.
While these tempo runs don't seem like much to the average runner, as you increase your out put on a more consistent basis you'll notice your regular runs become easier. Slow and steady improvements. Post workout drink some coconut water and Physique Formula BCAAS for recovery.