Tempo Training is NOT Speed Training Part 3

Tempo Running…Extensive Tempo


Tempo Running is NOT Speed Training Part 3


In Part 2 of Tempo Running, we discussed how Continuous Tempo running consists of steady-state running from anywhere between 20-50 minutes. Another way to do steady-state running for a length of time and to change the stimulus is through Fartlek runs where the pace changes from past to slow, run to jog, run to walk for a length of time. These runs are done between 40-60% of aerobic capacity and don’t involve a lot of lactate formation in the blood stream although all energy systems are always at work.


In the last post I also advised against allowing sprinters to do this type of Tempo work although I left the door open for 300/400 hurdlers and long sprinters (400m sprinters) as the Aerobic System is definitely part of their race and should be part of their training regimen as well. I advised that if long sprinters and hurdlers are allowed to do Continuous Tempo runs then they should be done once a week to help aid in recovery, mostly on recovery days to help the body to prepare for the remainder of the training week or adjust and get ready for the next training week.


In this post Extensive Tempo is the name of the game and this is the type of Tempo runs that nearly all runners do to build a solid foundation on which all other tempo runs will be based. Now, each type of tempo run has the capacity to build upon the other. The problem with Continuous Tempo runs for sprinters is the length of the run and the intensity. Too many tempo runs at 40% seems to disrupt the adaptation to speed in sprinters, plus when dealing with events that has very little aerobic components, then doing long steady-state runs seems to not apply to the event. Specificity is always key!


With Extensive Tempo, the runs are between 60-80%, although I can assure that many don’t go below 70-75%! At first, even in trained athletes, lactic formation will occur and that’s because of the intensity of the run coupled with the volume. The volume of Extensive tempo runs can range from 1000m to over 3000m. With this high of volume, as you can imagine, the intensity must be kept low and manageable for the athlete to be able to finish the workout. Now, they won’t always finish in a ‘comfortable’ manner but they should nonetheless finish! This is relaxed and smooth repetitious running at 60-80% to help in recovery. So making the athletes vomit isn’t helping you or them at all…TRUST ME!


Extensive Tempo runs are usually done in the preseason/early season phases of training because of the large quantity of volume of runs and the slower tempos. These runs are another great way to build an aerobic base without going for long steady-state runs and extensive tempo runs keep the athletes more active at a pace that’s more measurable and more closely related to their event areas and demands.


So here’s how examples of Extensive Tempo would look through the General Prep phase:


Monday: Acceleration/Speed Training/Plyo’s

Tuesday: Strength/Endurance Training (Extensive Tempo)

Wednesday: Active Recovery

Thursday: Acceleration/Speed/Plyo’s

Friday: Special Endurance (Maybe another Tempo day depending on the system of training)

Saturday – Sunday: Off


Now here are some examples of Extensive Tempo workouts:


-10x100m. Speed: B-16 sec, G-18 sec. Rest: 30 sec

-2x10x100m. Speed: B-15-16 sec, G-17-18 sec. Rest 30 sec b/w reps; 5 min b/w sets

-6x200m. Speed: B-30-32 sec, G-34-36 sec. Rest: 2 min

-8x200m. Speed: B-30-32 sec, G-34-36 sec. Rest: 2 min

-4-5x250m. Speed: B-30@200m, G-32@200m. Rest: 3-4 min

-3-4xBroken 400m. (300m/100m – 200m/200m – 200m/200m – 300m/100m). Rest: 6-8 min b/w sets

-3xBroken 500m. (300m/200m – 400m/100m – 250m/250m – or any combination you can think of, be creative). Rest: 8-10 min b/w sets


Now, if you notice, these sets, reps, rest times and intensity start from a very simplistic base and continue to get more creative and intense. Don’t just pull workouts out of a hat! Start with something simple and work your way towards more complex, yet still simple, workouts as the athlete continues to improve their fitness levels.


Continue in knowledge my friends!






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