EPC Tips - Quality Run: Tempo+

May. 21, 2015

The "tempo run" is a staple in most run (and triathlon) training programs. The term "tempo" in running typically revolves around 10k pace for most runners and maybe up to 21k pace for faster elite level runners. Basically it's the pace that has you hovering right around (or just under) your lactate threshold; a sustainable hard pace/effort. There are many aerobic and muscular endurance benefits to tempo run sessions, which is why they are so popular in training programs, and important sessions for runners and triathletes of all distances.

As you near your goal races, particularly if your goal races are 5k-21k in length, another quality run session to include as a progression from tempo runs (and/or a bridge to Vo2 max sessions) is what I call the "tempo +" session.

This session targets a slightly faster pace than typical tempo runs, closer to 5k pace.

This helps to train the extra speed that can bring a nice boost of fitness before an key event. The paces are faster with the tempo+ session, but the intervals are shorter than typical tempo sessions. This example starts with 400m repeats as the main set. You can increase this interval distance to 800m, 1200m, 1600m, etc. over several weeks as you adapt to the faster running. As you lengthen the intervals, maintain the same 90 second recovery walk/jog between the reps. Most athletes should aim for 2-4 miles of 5k pace running (ex. 6x800m), while faster runners could consider 4-6 miles of total tempo+ pace running intervals (ex. 5x1600m).  This session can be done just about anywhere with a relatively flat surface: treadmill, track, road, trail.


  • 5:00 Dynamic Warm-Up
  • 10-15:00 easy run
  • 4:00 build to tempo pace
  • 2:00 walk
  • 4x[0:15 strides, 0:45 walk]


  • 8-12x[400m (or time equivalent) @ ~5k pace, 1:30 walk/jog]
  • 200m (or time equivalent) max effort


  • 2:00 walk
  • 5-10:00 easy run
  • 3:00 walk

(60-90 minutes total workout time)

Written by Cody Waite, professional endurance athlete, endurance sport coach and founder of Endurance Performance Coaching. Looking for help with your training for 2015? Check out EPC’s Personal CoachingGroup Coaching, and Custom Training Plan options created to fit your needs and budget.  Don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ the EPC Facebook Page and follow Cody on Instagram
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