I’ll admit that when I first started running I had no idea what a tempo run was. However, as I trained for race after race, I came to realize just how important they are. This isn’t just because tempo runs (when done consistently) can help improve your speed and strength come race day. But, also, because its one hell of a way to release tension from the day!
So, what exactly is it? If you google the term “tempo run” you’ll find a common definition – comfortably hard running for a prolonged period of time. This means, you increase your speed for a set period of time or a specified distance. (The runs are obviously buffered by a 5-10 minute warm up run.) Incorporating this into your runs just once per week can have a big improvement come race day.
So, what does a busy day have to do with tempo runs? Plenty! If you’re the typical Type A person (present company included!), you tend to carry stress with you. A tempo run allows you to just RUN IT OUT! Say goodbye to the tension in your shoulders or the nagging headache from the day. That comfortably hard run forces you to concentrate on powering through your run. When you’re finished, you realize how good of a workout it was. You feel spent but accomplished. You’ve just released so much tension and let go the stresses of your day.
Many of us have been there. I work in an office with some highly passionate personalities. Every day brings some new fire that needs to be put out. Some days (like today) I just want to crawl under my desk and wish everyone would go away. It doesn’t happen every day and I genuinely love the people I work with, but stress happens to us all. I’ve learned to love tempo runs because they are helping me build both mental and physical toughness to push through my races and sometimes my day.