There comes a time when every runner starts to chase their PB. We often (rightly) start our running journey with no pressure, entering races with echoes of “oh, I’m not worried about my time, I just want to finish”.
The thing is, increasing mileage teaches our body endurance, the only way we can become faster is by running faster. By introducing tempo – or lactate threshold – runs in to your training, you can increase your body’s lactate threshold – that is the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace. In other words, your muscles can carry on contracting for longer before becoming fatigued by lactic acid levels, meaning you can run faster for longer.
How do you do it?
Aim for one tempo session a week. Start with a 10-minute easy jog then up to your tempo pace. This should be a ‘comfortably hard’ pace, one at which you’re not running flat out but still can’t manage a conversation. Stick at this pace for 20 minutes then cool down with another 5-10 min easy jog.
Build up to the 20-minute tempo block using intervals over a few weeks. Start with 5 x 3 mins at temp with a 1 min jog in between then add a minute onto your tempo time each week until you can maintain 5 mins.
If you’re training for a half marathon, run 3 miles at tempo (after a warm-up), easy jog for 5 minutes then a further 3 miles at tempo.
Using these techniques will make your training more efficient and help your muscles work better to carry you all the way to that PB.