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First of all you don’t need to do this until you can run 45 minutes comfortably without stopping and still able to hold a conversation. That’s the starting point really before you step up your training to include intervals or tempo sessions.
A tempo run is a controlled comfortably hard run. The ideal tempo workout for a 5k is as follows
1. 15 minute slow warmup
2. 20 minutes at tempo pace – a comfortably hard & constant pace, slowerthan your race pace.
3. 15 minute cool down.
Such a temp run is supposedly the single most effective exercise you can do. I’m not so sure. I would say myself that long hard intervals at FASTER than race pace are more effective. But then I’m no expert.
If you are doing training for longer distances then the tempo element of your training will be longer and the speed necessarily slower.
If you are starting out you will have already spotted the problem. You don’t know how fast you are running and certainly when starting out it is very difficult to know if you are maintaining a certain speed/pace or not.
So you will need a gadget. It’s probably best to get a GPS running watch which tells you how fast you are going or you could fudge it with a heart rate monitor alone.
You have to run 5k as fast as you can with your gadget! At the end you need to know your maximum heart rate ie the maximum your heart was beating at as you sprinted AT LEAST for the last 100m.Not the average heart rate…the maximum for the second when you were trying the hardest.
Forget all the nonsense formulae that estimate your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is the fastest YOUR heart will beat at. Such a sprint finish at the end of a 5k will be pretty close to your maximum heart rate. A tempo run based on heart rate will train at about 85% of your maximum heart rate.
Or your gadget will tell you your average pace for the 5k let’s say it’s 5minutes per km pace. You’ll want to be training at about 5min30secs per Km pace in a tempo run. Maybe a bit faster for a 5k say 5:20.
Personally I think you should be doing 5x1k intervals at 4 min 50 sec pace OR 20 x 1 minute intervals at 4 min 40 pace – or slightly slower in both cases if you can’t manage it.
Anyway, now you know what a temp run is. Comfortably hard…