The tempo run is one of the most important workouts in a cross country or really any distance runner’s arsenal. The goal of a tempo run is to run “comfortably hard” a difficult concept to explain but one that can be learned, likely after many attempts at getting the pace just right. Essentially, you are looking for the pace in between your 5k race pace and your easy run pace. While doing this workout, a full conversation should not be possible, but you should be able to speak a few words here and there. Here’s a little check-list to know if you’ve done a good tempo run:
-You finish feeling like you could run another few miles.
-You are able to converse briefly with the people you are running with during the race.
-You are not “red-lining” or killing yourself to hit the desired pace.
One of the challenges of a tempo run is finding the correct pace. To do this, the most accurate way that I’ve found is to take a recent race time and plug it into the McMillan Calculator. Clicking on “Training Paces” will give you a number of ideal workout paces, including your tempo pace.
Here is a link to everyone’s times; a word of warning, my handwriting is not great, to the point where even I sometimes struggle to read it. If your time is inaccurate, please let me know and we’ll try to get it fixed!