Spring 2020 includes two marathons for me: One City Marathon, then the Boston Marathon. Periodized training is important when setting an ambitious goal. It’s about building a strong foundation in the gym and with base mileage, then adding different training elements to create a healthy, confident, injury-free running body.

December was a great time for me to add stamina workouts to my training plan. I had spent weeks running mostly easy-pace by RPE (rate of perceived effort). Gym time @ PESfit developed my strength endurance and cleaned up some minor muscle imbalances.

Stamina training is awesome. Workouts can range from faster steady-state efforts to tempo intervals to tempo runs, all with the goal of running faster for longer periods of time. It was time for me to start increasing leg turnover with faster-paced running. It was tempo run time.

Tempo runs are designed to increase lactate threshold – the point where lactic acid begins to build up -through medium-effort running. The tempo portion of the run can last up to sixty minutes and breathing is fast, but controlled.

What most runners don’t do, in addition to skipping a pre-run warm-up, is a five-minute segment of 15”/45” running between easy-pace warm-up running and the tempo portion of the workout. The 15” pick-up provides quick leg turnover while the 45” easy-pace running maintains the easy warm-up effort.

More benefits of adding 5 x 15” fast / 45” easy between the warm-up and tempo run:

✔️ They gradually increase respiration and heart rate.
✔️They increase your running economy be reinforcing proper running form, making you more efficient.
✔️ They develop skills utilized in races, the ability to pass other runners — before curves on a track or large group on a road/trail course — then get right back to race pace.
✔️ They reduce mile pace with minimal effort, up to 20-30 seconds per mile.
✔️ The five-minute transition period provides opportunity to get your mental game in order. Yes, the tempo run will be challenging. But going into the workout accepting a period of discomfort is empowering.
Check out the tempo run program I created using Garmin Connect, then view the results.

Still not programming workouts to your watch? Programming workouts is an invaluable tool for quality training. Learn how to program your Garmin GPS watch: click here.

Stephanie Harbor is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.

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