The Tempo Run to work on your anaerobic threshold

The Tempo Run to work on your anaerobic threshold

Today we talk about training technique with the notions of tempo run and anaerobic threshold in running tips. The tempo run training is really interesting for all runners, from the middle distance to the ultra-trail. It is indeed a mixed training that works both speed and endurance to be more effective overall.
It remains to be seen what a tempo run is all about! Because it is a very effective training, but only if you do it at the right speed. This look is the one that approaches your lactic anaerobic threshold. But we'll look at it in detail.

The basics of tempo run training

Running in Tempo Run is a session of intermediate rhythm, continuous or split. The intermediate rhythm of the Tempo Run roughly corresponds to a pace between the 10 km pace and the half-marathon pace. In fact, we could consider the Tempo Run as a rhythm that we could keep for about an hour. It is always quite subjective but difficult to specify more without using more technical terms. Tempo Run is indeed really associated with a major physiological value: the lactic anaerobic threshold.
Short paragraph on this lactic anaerobic threshold: "the lactic anaerobic threshold is the rate at which the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles is faster than the body's ability to eliminate it". Once we pass this anaerobic threshold, we "burn" our cartridges in a way. Because the only way to recover and eliminate this muscular acidity is to run in fundamental endurance. Typically, exceeding the anaerobic threshold in the middle of a half-marathon promises difficult times to finish the race.

Why run a tempo run session?

The goal of the Tempo Run is therefore to run a little below this lactic anaerobic threshold in order to "push it back". By flirting with this physiological limit, our body adapts and improves its ability to eliminate lactic acid. This type of session therefore makes it possible to gradually push back our lactic anaerobic threshold and thus go faster without generating significant fatigue.
And for those who run with a heart rate watch, the Tempo Run's pace is often around 90% FCM. This means starting the session around 85% and trying to stabilize around 88% in the middle of the session. It's a pace where you're out of breath but you're not really into it. We must have the impression that we can continue the effort during 45′ At 1H if we gave our best!

Typical Tempo Run sessions

The Tempo Run is an intermediate pace so at an intensity that could be sustained for a long time. However, as with any training session, just because you have the ability to do so does not necessarily mean you have to do it. I practice these trainings in various forms. But the two sessions below are the ones I find most appropriate.
Session 1: 20′ of continuous tempo run
No rest but a duration that does not tire the body too much. Be careful not to start too hard, this is a session where the beginning seems easy. We have to run to the train. Because if we exceed the anaerobic lactic threshold, the session will quickly be compromised since there is no recovery time!
Session 2: 2 to 3 x 10′ en tempo run recup 3′
As often the interest of the split is to be able to hold the effort longer in total (more details here). Making fractions of 10′ means being able to cut your 20′ in half at the beginning of the season for example. But it also means going further than 20′ continuously with 30′ in total by making 3 fractions.

When to practice the Tempo Run?

The Tempo Run is one of those sessions that is beneficial to practice all year round. Indeed, if we are careful to respect these current speeds and the intensity related to our training period, it is all beneficial!
It is very important to integrate this notion of period/intensity/form to practice these sessions.
Anything to remember? It is good to practice the tempo run all year round, respecting a pace that does not exceed 90% FCM. For the rest... Feel free to comment if you want us to discuss the subject or if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them!

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