tempo opinions

i’m not experienced with the tempo aspect of sprinting, so here’s another.

i was going to break my split down like this.

MON - Speed AM
Dynamic Upper PM

TUES - Tempo AM
Dynamic Lower PM

WED - Tempo or OFF

THURS - Speed AM
Max Effort Upper PM

FRI - Tempo AM
Max Effort Lower PM

Would i do better using wednesday as another tempo day or using it as a rest day?

Also i figure tempo should come after my weight session. I don’t want to fatigue my legs for strength workouts.
Thoughts and opinions???

Can you say what does the dynamic lower and upper and max effort upper and lower consist of? Then i can help you reconstruct your plan.

dynamic upper
hang clean or version of
speed bench press

dynamic lower
power clean
box squats
posterior chain work

max upper
clean/ or version of
max effort bench working up to 1 rep on a variation of the bench
back/ tris/shoulders/bis

max lower
olympic lift variation
squats - normal rep scheme
posterior chain

Westside program or dave tate if your familiar with either.

ok champs21,
ill be the first to comment but your going to have a real problem with your setup. You are a sprinter and that program is if you a powerlifter.

All those lifts youve mentioned are hard on the Cnetral Nervous System.
The whole point in tempo is to recover (CNS and muscle) from the high demand of the speedwork. If you are doing olympic lifts or any other heavy lifting for that matter not only are you not allowing musckle recovery but you are not allowing you CNS to recover.
A typical setup would look like this…

Olympic lift

Triceps (optional)


Olympic lift


There are numerous other ways to do it but keep the heavy lifting and especially the heavy lifting with maximum velocity on the same days as your speed days on the track otherwise you will overtrain, get injured, and or just suck.

What are some thoughts on how/when to use different lengths of reps during tempo sessions?

Typically the session volume would be as follows:

 100 specialists - 2000 meters per session - 3 times/week
 400 specialists - 3000 meters per session - 3 times/week
 800 specialists - 4000 meters per session - 3 times/week

Charlie’s new ebook lists 75% effort levels over distances of 100-400 meters per repetition. Although the volume of each session would adhere to the above guidelines, the length of each rep would result in different training effects.

First thing that would come to mind, is the accumulation of lactate. Even at speeds of no greater than 75%, these paces are faster than the athletes lactate threshold. So therefore, wouldn’t 5 x 400 @ 75% be a different training stimulus with the added time for increasing lactate than 20 x 100 @ 75% with little time to generate lactate within each rep?

One thing you need to take into account as you put up those tempo guidelines is training age. I thought that 3000m was a good number, too, for tempo, but it was too much. I only had a training age of 2 years when I went into this summer (and that includes this year) and 3000m was too much. In fact, I think my highest session was around 2700m and that was killer because the next day I was flat and ran crappy.

Another thing you should take into account is the phase, or training season. In GPP the Ext. Tempo should be at its highest since speed and everything else are at its lowest. Tempo helps decrease recovery times and prepare the body mentally and physically for longer workouts later on during training. To do 3000m of tempo after 400m of speed work is killer.

This is all in my opinion, but tempo should follow a long-to-short type pattern where CNS work should follow a short-to-long pattern this way they complement each other. If you go short-to-long or vice versa with both the results will be disastrous as the body will be overworked, either way you go. CNS workouts should be THE main focus during SPP/Pre-Comp. and Competition phases. Tempo is simply a recovery mechanism that isn’t a true workout as it doesn’t help any true sprinter in any real way during the competition season.

Just my 2 pesos.

400stud… you really got the hang of things. great post!


OHSTF, regarding tempo used on recovery days, above 200m distances could produce too much lactic for sprinters of early training age or trained inapropriately to handle. I think we have to gradually build up the distances and intensities so that lactic is not a problem along the way. Tempo used on recovery days needs to be intense enough to povide the training effects but not so intense that we are not recovered enough by the next day. If lactic accumulates, the recovery before next session will take longer. I have recently started tempo on recovery days and tried 10x300 at 70%. I only managed 8, so I am going to use 65% for 10 and then increase the intensity each time. However, at certain times in the year, I also use tempo at higher intensity to accumulate lactic ie. intensive tempo, before moving to spec end and speed end, but this may not be needed for everyone, and of course Charlie is not keen on it.

People’s problems with tempo must be errors with their GPP…I don’t understand what is going on here.

Originally posted by Clemson
People’s problems with tempo must be errors with their GPP…I don’t understand what is going on here.

Or maybe errors in applying a percentage to PB?

That is a good point…
Im sure alot of people are going by there personal best the previous year and they may not even be near that level yet.

The reason I have recently had a problem with tempo is that I have not used it since before christmas due to injury, and my group does not use tempo apart from intensive tempo earlier in the year. I have recently decided to incorporate tempo into my personal programme all year round and hence I need to adapt.

I don’t have a problem with the volumes or the distance of the reps.

Just that you have to be getting a different training effect doing reps at 400m verses 100m even if the session volume is the same.

Sure, but for low intense tempo, the distance per rep used and intensity should not result in lactic accumulation. Higher distances may be more suitable for 400 sprinters until 100/200 sprinters are conditioned enough.

The idea behind Int. Tempo is to create lactic acid capacity. So yes if it’s done properly there will be LA build-up. I think is why the value of such work is so dubious for 100-200m athletes, though it may in fact be necessary for 400m runners, especially men.

Soviet coaching articles from the 1970’s + 80’s advocated doing Int. Tempo sessions in conjunction with the strength building phase. The later were a combination of weights (primarily 70-80% range) + jumps. This always seemed wrong to me. Charlie could this be why Borzov’s coaches wouldn’t let him near the Soviet national coaches?

I’m Clemson regarding people having difficuly with Ext. Tempo work. In my experience it has always had the most increadible combination of benefit without the danger of injury, either during the session or at anytime during it’s phase of emphasis. I think that the key is being honest about a.) the calculation of your 100% pace for a given distance and b.) your conditioning level. It’s always better to underwork than overwork, and volume can be added very quickly once the athlete gets the hang of how to run the sessions.

I think tempo is one of the best things that’s happened to me and my coaching program. We were basically overtrainers at the 85 to 99% range. We were also scared to death of more than 2 300’s in a session. Now it is easy to run 4 300’s @ a 47 to 52 pace with a hundred meter walk recovery, 3 200’s cut across the field recovery, and 4 100’s with a 50 meter walk recovery. I’m 45 and have run 10.87 and 22.4 (two slow on the turn) this year simply by adding tempo and focusing on accelerating properly. The past 8 years have been 11.25 and 22.99. You can’t tell me it doesn’t help my competition, my whole group is improving.

I 100% agree because I was in the same situation. My coaches like to go at least 90% everyday possible because they feel it is the best way to go. You have to train fast to run fast, right? I was running poor times, declining in times, and even got seriously injured with their training methods. Then, I trained on my own for 5 weeks, ran in 2 meets during that time, and saw more improvement in that 5 weeks than I did in 2 years under my coaches. Why? Because I included tempo every other day for recovery purposes making my CNS days better quality and more exciting.

Conclusion…Tempo is very key in a program and pays great dividends if done correctly.

This might have been asked before, but what is the maximum race distance that tempo will work for?
The reason i ask is that tempo appears to be especially useful for milers and possibly longer (done at the right distances). With this in mind, would it be possible to create a distance-runners program without traditional continous runs?

An example cycle of this approach (for an XC runner)
Mon: repeat hills or fast intervals
Tue: Tempo
Wed: 600 repeats
Thu: tempo
Fri: 400 repeats
Sat: tempo

The repeats and hill stuff would be at a faster pace than the tempo work. The tempo volume would also be quite high, considering the race distance.

I appologize in advance for bringing distance running stuff to a sprinting forum, but it is nearing XC season for a lot of my friends and this idea has crossed my mind before.

Good thouhts here and interesting. Quikazhell, I saw your example for a week (good one)and was just wondering about puting bench, shoulders on tempo days, does that meen that it should be done in less intensie and less heavy than the olymp,squat on the speed days?