whats tempo

what is tempo work and what are some examples of tempo workouts, and how is it usually scheduled into a program?

If you use the search function, your question will be answered and a whole lot more. Happy hunting. :slight_smile:

I just did a search with the words tempo and tempo work and all that came up was peoples workout plans and things like that. I don’t feel like taking 2 hours to sort through 20,000 posts, can someone please explain to me what tempo is? It can’t be that complicated

its runs at 75% over 100-400m with walking in between. Buy the Charlie Francis Training System from the store it has everything you need in it. Then come back and ask questions about stuff you are unsure of.


There is more than one type of tempo tc0710!

Tempo is used to increase the capabilities of the aerobic energy system and are split up by there intensity and duration.

Continuous Tempo: Longer, slower runs performed at 50-70% of maximum heart rate or 55-75% of maximal effort. Continuous tempo runs enhance muscle and liver glycogen storage capacities and aerobic capacity. Continuous tempo runs should be a staple for runners competing in the 800m or higher. An example of continuous tempo would be a 5km run @ 60% maximal heart rate.

Extensive Tempo: Repeated running bouts performed at 60-80% of maximum heart rate or 65-85% of maximal effort. Extensive tempo runs enhance the ability to cope with lactate. Extensive tempo is often used as a form of recovery among sprinters. Because of this fact, it is often useful to perform extensive tempo on grass or other soft surfaces. An example of extensive tempo would be 10 x 200m @ 70% maximum heart rate with 45 seconds recovery.

Intensive tempo: Repeated running bouts performed at 80-90% of maximum heart rate or 85-95% maximal effort. Intensive tempo runs produce high levels of lactate and lay the foundation for development of anaerobic energy systems. Intensive tempo is often used as a gateway to speed endurance and special endurance. An example of intensive tempo would be 8 x 150m @ 85% maximum heart rate with 2 minutes recovery.

When is intensive tempo introduce into training? During GPP or in the beginning of SPP?

GPP (ten characters)

In Charlie’s training system it isn’t. That is why I only refer to extensive tempo, since we are mainly discussing his methods on this board. But thanks for pointing out the other methods they will serve as a good reference point for other newbies.


My fault, I have yet to read the CFTS! :eek:

Question: Does the majority of 400m training fall under the Intensive Tempo category?

Only if you train that way with short recoveries. This is where there is much controversy. Some think that you should do SPE2 at 95-100% others think it should be more intermediate intensity. At present both systems have produced good runners. Check the ‘Lactate Threshold’ thread for more info or the posts by KitKat.

The reason intensive tempo is avoided between speed sessions is because it’s too intense to facilitate recovery from speed work yet too slow to make you faster. Therefore, it’s in a sort of middle no man’s land.

Charlie’s approach (which I agree with) is to avoid intensities between 75% and 95% of best performance, which essentially covers intensive tempo. This was his major innovation over Gerard Mach’s methods.

The 75% number is the upper limit and it is a comparison to your best performance over that distance. For example, if your best 100m time is 11.00, your tempo runs should never be faster than about 14.5 seconds, and that’s assuming the same conditions under which the PB was set (on the track in spikes). Since tempo should be done in flats, and ideally on grass, the tempo times should be revised up even more, e.g. 18 sec. Again, that’s the fastest you should go. Never be afraid to go slower. Your last run should be just as fast as your first. If it’s not, you ran the early tempos runs too quickly.

After you figure out your tempo pace, how much time is added when doing the tempo on grass?

I guess grass might add a second or two. Don’t get hung up on time. It’s recovery work, not a performance test. Just make sure you’re not going too fast.

The subjective cue that Charlie uses is that you should be able to talk to someone running next to you while doing tempo. If you’re sucking wind too much to talk, slow it down.

Be more worried about going too fast than too slow.

So technically you could do tempo workouts in the pool to the same effect plus adding water’s rehabilitative qualities. That’s the way i’m going to do all my tempo stuff in the future. Look up deep water running on google you’ll find tons of workouts.

Before i say anything i want to say that i have done a search and it didnt give me what i was looking for…Could someone please fill me in on exactly when tempo runs should be done? I usually do my speedwork 2-3 times a week with at least a day in between the sessions. When should the tempo work be done and how long should the tempo work last? I just discovered this website and i do plan on purchasing Training for Speed very soon. Please help me out with my question. Thanks for any help.

This is the most asked AND answered question I think! Search harder for more info, it IS there.

Tempo goes inbetween high intensity days (which would include speed days).

How long? Depends on what you are doing and the time of the season. It is not a strictly “time” based sort of activity.