Tempo duration

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Gull

Tempo duration

Post by Gull » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:37 am

Is there some way to calculate the optimal duration of tempo runs?
I was thinking about 40 minutes at 84-86% of HF max intensity. But I am not sure if this is too long?
I have a 36.47 10k pb.
I run the 800m.

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:06 pm

Gull -

You first have to decide the event (distance/duration) you intend to target as you main event of the season.  If you goal is the marathon, for example, your tempos will extend much further than if you train for the 10k and much, much further than if you are training for a 5km event.

If you are training for the 5k, aim for about 30-40 minute tempos. If you are targeting a 10k, aim for 40-50 minute tempos. If your goal is the half-marathon, then target 1 hour  or a little longer tempos. If you goal is the marathon, run over 1-hour tempos, in the last 2-months before your marathon race.

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by jad83 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:12 am

Tinman,

Even on these extended tempo runs, near or greater than 60 min, do you suggest following the tempo pace from your calculator?  Also, what are your thoughts on occasionally splitting up a tempo run into two parts, say 2 x 30 min? 

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Jeff_D » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:11 am

I agree with you that slower, longer tempo runs are highly valuable and not a waste of time for 5k runners. I consider any pace within the 2.5-4 mmol range effective at producing threshold and endurance changes. I believe that some persons who lack stamina (ability to hold pace) need to do more work at the longer tempo pace or the medium-lenth tempo pace) Doing faster training doesn't necessarily equate to faster racing. Just the opposite occurs for some persons. Renato Canova can verify the importance of moderately paced longer runs at the tempos I have suggested. The tempos are not new. Many great marathoners and 10k runners have used them in decades past. Frank Shorter ran his 20 miler every Sunday with the second 10 miles at marathon race pace (2.5 mmol pace). Kanouchi runs many faster long runs in the 2.5-3 mmol range). Many Italian runners, both marathoners and 10k-5k runners do faster long runs at marathon pace or half marathon pace and find wonderful carryover to shorter racing stamina. It does virtually no good to run fast intervals if your stamina is sub-par. And, running a lot of easy miles per week (even if it is 100 or more) doesn't mean that your stamina is good enough to race at your best. You may run a 120 easy miles per week and run 20 fast 400s or 10 half mile reps at a good speed yet still fail to race to your potential in the 5k and 10k. Stamina from longer tempo and medium tempo runs can bridge the gap. Lydiard recognized the gap 50 years ago and had his runners, even half milers, do 10k tempo runs at 7/8th effort (about 10 seconds per mile slower than race pace).

The mathematical correlates I used to derive the lactic acid levels (measured in mmols) I wrote about were as follows:

5k pace divided by .93 = Lactate Threshold (4 mmol)
5k pace divided by .90 = 3 mmol (half marathon pace, app.)
5k pace divided by .87 = 2.5 mmol (marathon race pace)
5k pace divided by .75 = 1 mmol (aerobic maintenance pace)

Shorter-Length Tempo Runs = 20-30 minutes
Medium-Length Tempo Runs = 40-60 minutes
Longer-Length Tempo Runs = 70-80 minutes
This is older and from letsrun in 2003 (!!) but I imagine tinman would still consider these valid. For those interested in the discussion that accompanies it: http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read. ... 888&page=0

tempo's are a great thing to discuss in my mind because they really do form a foundation upon which to get fit and I'm not so sure you need anything more than tempo's, hills, strides, long runs, slow mileage and racing to get into your top form. Even before there was such a thing as tempo's, runners went out and ran medium-hard or 3/4 effort or did runs at a feel good intensity, an intensity that probably panned out to be somewhere around slow tempo pace!

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:31 pm

It's important to understand the reason for running tempos and the intended purpose. Tempos raise endurance and stamina. Endurance is long-term running, stamina is middle-term running performance.

The purpose can be one of two things: (1) Raise muscle fiber capacity to process oxygen; (2) extend capacity to run at a high intensity for a medium to long duration.

Finally, remember that you must focus on your goal race in the closing weeks before that race. If your goal race in the marathon, then use longer, slower tempos in the 8 weeks before the goal race. If you goal race is the 5km distance, then use shorter but faster tempos in the weeks just prior to your 5km goal race.

However, a blend of short, medium, and longer tempos may work best for you. You should experiment and find out what is helpful to your performance.  For example, with Jim Mason, from trial and error, we found that he responds well to 5km progressive tempos. It helps him race well in the shorter distances (like 800 and 1500m) and medium distances (like 5km and 10km) too.

As a general rule, shorter but faster tempos work better for runners who are naturally more speedy, and longer but slower tempos tend to work best for runners who are not good sprinters, naturally.

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by XPherior » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:47 pm

Tinman,

Is it correct to say that #2 is a consequence of #1? Or are they disparate effects? Also, is there any hard definition for how much slower a "slow" tempo run is in comparison to a "normal" tempo run? (IE percentage of Tinman tempo pace, perhaps?)

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:34 pm

Indeed, it is my contention that changes in any capacity to run further at a given intensity is related mostly to morphological changes in working cells/fibers that contribute to specific force production.

Why is it that long distance running, even at paces that are not fast, can extend the capacity of middle distance runners (let's say 800m to 2000m)?  It's because the target fibers (muscle cells) change morphologically. A number of changes occur, due to the long runs, including biogenisis (increasing the number of mitochondria that process oxygen to create ATP - energy), enzyme number increases, and some other enzymes that process lactate. Also, angiogesis occurs - increasing the number of capillaries that supply blood to working cells/fibers. During a long run at a modest pace, slow twitch fibers tire-out. As they do, intermediate fibers must help keep the force production at the required level. Thus, the intermediate fibers are stressed (these are Type IIa - fast oxidative fibers) become stressed and when recovery occurs, following exercise, changes in those fibers occur too (mitochondria, and so on). Therefore, even though the pace is not fast for long runs, faster fibers are trained and change morphologically in the days that follow.

If you run faster, say at half-marathon to 15km pace, you train those intermediate fibers right away, and they must generate force all the while, not just when the type I (slow twitch) fibers tire.  If you run even faster, let's say 10k to 8k pace (about CV pace for most people), you train those intermediate fibers to the highest degree possible, and as the workout goes longer even some of the Type X (fastest fibers) must contribute to the force requirement.

The point of the above is this: You don't have to run all-out to train your fibers, especially those that process oxygen to generate force production. You can run at slower than all-out speeds and stress those muscle fibers a lot. Because stimulus for change is related to both quality and quantity of repeated stimuli, the effect of running just fast enough but running for a long time generates a huge training impulse/effect.

You can run at 5k pace, if you want, and you'd stress those same intermediate fibers to a high degree, but you wouldn't be able to run very far at that pace. Thus, the product of quality times quantity is limited, relative to say, CV, slower paced interval or tempo running training.

Example: Tim runs 5 x 1km at 5k pace (jogging a minute btw reps). His stimulus rate is 9.3. He runs for 16 minutes. The product is 148.8 (16*9.3 stress units = 148.8 total stress units) on his intermediate (Type IIa) fibers.  Four days later, he runs 8 x 1km at CV/10k pace. The stress units per minute is 7. He runs 26 minutes at that stress level. His total stress units on his intermediate fibers is 182 (26 minutes times 7 stress units per minute). Both workouts produced about the same amount of total fatigue. The first workout was more intense and had to be run for a shorter duration before a medium-high (appropriate) level of fatigue occurred.

The above shows the CV/10k pace was a much better total stimulus for changes of intermediate muscle fibers than the faster (5k paced) workout. 

However, note that the 10k/CV workout was a fast enough workout to stress Tim's cardiac output, too. That means his heart chambers were stressed enough that in the following days, once adaptation occurs, his heart will increase its capacity to pump blood to working muscle fibers in the peripheral appendages.  In essence, Tim not only stressed is central circulatory capacity for many minutes at a good level, he stressed his intermediate muscle fibers for a long time at a good level. In about 10-14 days, Tim will be able to hold the same 5k pace longer in a race, or he can speed up a little bit because he can hold a faster pace without getting tired.  In the case of using 10k or CV training, he extended his capacity to hold a quick pace by perhaps 2-3%. However, using the 5k paced workout, he would probably cut the total improvement by a third. And, the difference in cardiac (heart) chamber changes are nearly identical between the 5k paced workout at the CV workout. So, which is going to improve Tim's performance more?

Some people might argue that Tim won't get enough practice at 5k pace, and therefore he will miss something in his training if he only runs CV paced work. However, I argue that most of the major changes occur using CV training, and it only takes a small amount of racing or fast rep work to get the last little bit of power that a 5k pace workout would stimulate. Even 4-6 x 200m at a quick speed, at the end of a CV workout, is enough to get nearly all, perhaps more, of the power that the 5k paced interval workout would stimulate.

Regarding slower tempos, yes there is, but it's complex and I keep it close to me. However, you can use rules of thumb that are quite good. Take the normal tempo pace that my online calculator generates and add or subtract 15 seconds on either side of it for longer or shorter tempos. If you want to run an hour or more, you might run 15 seconds a mile slower than the tempo pace shown on my calculator. If you want to perform a short tempo, let's say 15-20 minutes long, subtract 15 seconds a mile from the tempo pace shown on my calculator.

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Last edited by Tinman on Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by XPherior » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:19 pm

Thanks Tom! This post is packed with great knowledge and answered my question. Just to clarify, the stimulus rate numbers you used were fictitious? I presume stimulus rate isn't an easy number to calculate?

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:14 pm

It's actually close. It depends upon your 5km time as to the points per minute that you achieve. A 13 minute 5km runner will be at 9.3 and 7.0 for those two. I would have to dig through my files, which I am not motivated to do right now, to find my formulas for those. Off the top of my head the typical 18:30 5k runner is about 8 and  6 for those two variables.
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by XPherior » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:32 pm

Interesting. No need to go finding the formula, was just curious. Thanks Tom!

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Re: Tempo duration and stimulus

Post by runkona » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:36 pm

[quote="XPherior"]
Thanks Tom! This post is packed with great knowledge and answered my question. Just to clarify, the stimulus rate numbers you used were fictitious?
[/quote]

Tom in regards to "I presume stimulus rate isn't an easy number to calculate?"
Do you have a link in the forum that defines this.

The closest  I can relate this to is the definition as a Training Stress Score (TSS) and intensity factor (IF) used by TrainingPeaks, Andrew R. Coggan, Ph.D as quoted on
http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/ ... score.aspx

(sorry not sure how the use link works)

I'm not going into quoting, so readers can use the link to read more; does sound similar to what you describe as stimulus rate. In this case the using training peaks one can read the data gathered from running, cycling and other sports via a gps Through some smart math to determine the level of workouts and their intensity for the short term and longer term, this then gives the user the ability to read ones response to training workload. Make sense? Any how back to your definition for stimulus
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:58 pm

I think Dr. Coggan's TSS is similar to my method, though his uses Normalized Power as the basis for TSS, along with IF (an intensity factor). I'm not sure how his IF is derived, though I'm guessing it might have to do with percentages of a test power.
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by tcl » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:34 am

Tinman, I wonder if you could compare these workouts:

8 x 2:15 @ 5K
8 x 3:15 @ CV (your example, given that the total amounted to 26 minutes)
8 x 4:30 @ threshold
4 x 4:30 @ threshold plus 4 x 2:15 @ 5K

I realize we could dream these up endlessly, and that other variables (such as recovery time) will also come into play. So please take this up only if it seems fun or enlightening to you. My reasoning is that kilometers @ 10K effort are not ideally comparable to repeat kilometers @ 5K effort, since the latter involve a significantly higher exertion for each rep (particularly at the end of each rep, and especially for the last few reps of the workout). That's why Tim gets tired out before achieving optimal stimulus, or so it seems to me. Am I off base here?

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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:05 pm

Cannot in the shorter term due to travel.
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Re: Tempo duration

Post by Tinman » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:54 pm

tcl -

To answer your question, I need more information. What is the reference 5km time? Is this a 20:00 (5km) runner? A 16:00 runner?

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