Workout of the Week: The 5-n-Go Tempo
There’s a lot of confusion around the tempo run but stripped down to its core, this workout simply boils down to maintaining a steady effort for a prolonged period of time. And while the definitions of steady and prolonged can vary depending on a variety of factors, for the sake of simplicity and ease of creating a common understanding, let’s call the “classic” tempo run 5 miles at half-marathon pace. This is a pretty standard workout you’ll see utilized by a wide range of athletes and coaches to build aerobic strength, improve efficiency, and/or practice running race pace. The 5-n-Go Tempo adds a slight twist to the classic tempo run by squeezing down the pace for a mile or two at the end. Here are the details:
What: 5 miles at half-marathon pace and and then “go” for a mile or two at 10K pace (or roughly 15-20 sec/mile faster than tempo pace).
Why: The “go” portion of this workout injects some fun into what is otherwise a pretty boring session, it will help keep you honest and prevent you from getting carried away for the first 5 miles, and it can help you develop the confidence to find another gear and finish strong at the end of a race.
Where: This workout is best done on the roads but it also works on a treadmill or track if those options are more preferable to you. You can also maintain the spirit of the workout on the trails, focusing on pure effort over a prescribed pace.
When: I like using this workout 10-14 days out from a goal half marathon to make sure we’ve got pacing dialed as well as the confidence to close hard.
Variations: As mentioned in the intro, the definitions of steady and prolonged can vary depending on a variety of factors. As such, you can manipulate this workout in a variety of ways depending on what you’re trying to get out of it. I wrote about one of my favorite variations of this workout for marathoners in this article for PodiumRunner a few years back.
Subscribe to The Morning Shakeout newsletter for informed commentary, smart curation, and engaging exchanges about running and other worthwhile topics. Written by me. Delivered to your inbox first thing every Tuesday morning.
Or listen to The Morning Shakeout podcast where I go deep in conversation with athletes, coaches, and personalities in the sport of running.