The Secret of Tempo Training

Coach Paul Greer of the San Diego Track Club has been helping runners train for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & 1/2 for 20 years running! In this series, we’ll feature tips, workouts and programs, courtesy of Coach, that will help you conquer your first or 100th marathon!

Tempo runs are critical for developing your strength. They improve your stamina and help you develop both confidence and a sense of pace.

An example of a tempo run is to warm-up with an easy ten minute jog, stretch and then run for twenty to twenty-five minutes at tempo pace. Tempo pace is ten to fifteen seconds per mile slower than your 10K pace.

One may ask what’s the physiological secret behind tempo training. Tempo runs raise your lactate threshold velocity, the running speed above which fatigue sets in quickly. As your lactate threshold velocity increases, you’ll run at faster speeds without getting tired.

These runs are an excellent “bridge” to racing; they require you to run hard for relatively long periods. I suggest you run tempo runs weekly for three months leading up to your competitive season.

About Coach Paul Greer

Coach Paul Greer is Professor in Health and Exercise Science at San Diego City College and has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and 32 years coaching experience. Greer ran the mile in under four minutes (3:59.79) and was a 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier at 1500 meters with a 3:39.05. In addition to teaching at San Diego City, Greer also coaches for the San Diego Track Club; the largest running club in San Diego. He works with over 500 runners and is the Director for the Rockin N Runnin full and half marathon training program preparing athletes every year for San Diego’s Rock N Roll marathon/half marathon in June. Greer’s workouts cater for runners of all ages and abilities and he provides training schedules to his athletes on an individual basis.

Coach Paul Greer was featured in The Game Changer, the debut episode of Milestones, a video series that celebrates and commemorate the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series history.