Advantages of 3K of Tempo Vs a steady 3K run for 400m?


Just the other day I was thinking “are there any reasons why extensive tempo (split runs at 75% and below) are better than running the whole distance in one go?”

I have done a search and can’t find an answer so I am asking it here!

The main reason I can think of is that the shorter bursts of running allow you to stay focused and prevent form breakdown. It also allows you to better qualify intensity.

Why would 3K or tempo be more beneficial to a 400m runner than simply a 3K steady state run or a 15-20 minute jog?



Then main reason I think interval tempo is used is because it is the most efficient way to train. You can get the same benefits from running a lower volume of interval tempo as opposed to a long continuous run. I also notice that if I run continuously for a long time I will get stiffness in my hamstrings and calves.

The continuous run will either be performed at a much slower pace or be much more taxing on the metabolic systems. If it’s easy/slow it will be entirely aerobic, which is not what a sprinter needs. If it’s done quickly you will be training your lactic threshhold which is not what a sprinter needs. Think of tempo of as a recovery modality first and foremost. There’s really no comparison from this standpoint. Secondly tempo runs at 60-75% are done at such a pace that you develop the aerobic and muscular endurance (general qualities) without straying too far from the specific event. Any more intense, and you run into problems, any slower and you’re wasting your time as a sprinter.
Jogging is fine as a warmup, but it’s not going to do anything for your 400m, unless you’re drastically overweight.

I do not think metabolic parameters or efficiency “benefit” wise are the area where to look for the main adavantages for Tempo intervals versus continuous work.
Prolonging the duaration of any action brings along an element of increased fatigue. Is fatigue per se really something we’re looking for when planning a session whose objectives may be fulfilled by Tempo kind of activities?

Good point. In the UK, 400m runners are often given 15-25min runs on the same day as speed work (in the morning) or maybe 2x15-25min runs on non speed/track days. When I asked why this was I was told to “Increase fat metabolism and develop endurance”. I guess it stems back to our middle distance tradition because this sounds more in line with 1500m work as far as i’m concerned.


Try the "up to 3000 MedBall throws in one hour " Charlie talks about and see what happens to one’s fat metabolism…!

LOL, Pakewi!

15-20 min for increased fat metabolism? Really? Marathon runners must be mad!! It will first decrease you glycogen levels somewhat and nothing further; you won’t even touch your fats…