Tempo Run Build Endurance

Build Your Running Endurance

Have you ever felt a race slipping away from you after a strong start? Have you been passed, or run out of gas, just a mile or two from the finish line? Every runner can benefit from increased endurance. Tempo runs are just the thing to help you become better at running faster for longer periods of time.

The 2-Part Tempo Run is one of my favorite workouts. I’ve adapted it to my training needs for different race distances, but I first read about it in an article written by Pete Magill for the Running Times titled “Solving the 5K Puzzle.” I suggest you read the entire article for some excellent running advice from one the best masters runners in the world. You can apply his coaching advice to all distances, not just the 5K.

Magill says tempo runs are often misunderstood. They aren’t time trials or race pace efforts. Coaching legend Jack Daniels explains that “the intensity of effort associated with [tempo] running is comfortably hard. [Y]our effort should be one that you could maintain for about an hour in a race.” You can read more from Coach Jack Daniels, PhD in his highly acclaimed book, Daniel’s Running Formula.

 2-Part Tempo Run Workouts

5K Training:

  • 15 minute warm-up, 2 x 10 minutes at (5K race pace + 30 seconds) w/ 2 minute recovery jog, 15 minute cool-down
  • 15 minute warm-up, 2 x 15 minutes at (5K race pace + 30 seconds) w/ 3 minute recovery jog, 15 minute cool-down

Half Marathon Training:

  • 20 minute warm-up, 3 x 10 minutes at (Half Marathon race pace + 15 seconds) w/ 5 minute recovery jog, 20 minute cool-down
  • 20 minute warm-up, 3 x 15 minutes at (Half Marathon race pace + 15 seconds) w/ 6 minute recovery jog, 20 minute cool-down

Marathon Training:

  • 20 minute warm-up, 3 x 15 minutes at (Marathon race pace) w/ 5 minute recovery jog, 20 minute cool-down
  • 20 minute warm-up, 3 x 20 minutes at (Marathon race pace) w/ 6 minute recovery jog, 20 minute cool-down

If you decide to add these 2-Part Tempo runs to your week, they should take the place of another hard workout. For example, I might swap this out with intervals or a fartlek workout. These workouts are not easy. But, I guarantee that you’ll feel stronger and gain endurance if you make them a regular part of your training plan.

2 thoughts on “Build Your Running Endurance: The 2-Part Tempo Run

  1. Great workouts! I have a question, how do keep track of the times and paces if you are not on a treadmill. It seems like trying to program a GPS watch with all of this would be difficult since the paces are based on durations and not distances.

    1. Hey Michael,

      Great question. It’s not easy. I usually just take off at 15:00 minutes and run comfortably hard until 25:00 minutes with a glance at my pace every so often along the way. Then, I scale back for the rest period, and ramp up again from 29:00 to 39:00 or whatever the workout dictates.

      I don’t know my exact pace until I get back and upload the data from my watch. But, I’ve learned that effort is more important than numbers. If it feels tough, it is tough. Sometimes I run on hilly courses, sometimes the wind blows, sometimes I’m a little beat up from the week. You get the idea…

      Let me know how it goes. It’s a learning process, but it’s all good.

Thoughts?