Tips for a Better 20 Minute Tempo Run Workout

Sometimes we don't have time for a long run. Yes, you can still get significant benefits from even a twenty minute excursion.

The reality is that to prepare for your serious competitions, you are going to have a variety of workouts to help get yourself physically and mentally prepared for race day. The tempo run is one good, effective tool to keep in your training toolbox.

This particular run will give you the most fitness gains for the amount of time and effort invested.​

In this video, 2-time U.S. Olympic qualifier Sage Canady explains how to get the most out of your next tempo run.

Tip #1 - 20 Minute Run at 80-85% Effort

  • Get your heart rate up for a sustained period.
  • Keep going at a steady pace for about twenty minutes.

Because this is only about a ten minute run, you can do it when you don't have a lot of time.

Many people will pace themselves too fast. Work at keeping your pace where you can sustain it for the entire twenty minutes, which brings us to our next tip:

Tip #2 - Run at About 10K Pace

  • If you're not sure what that is, take what you've done in a 5K recently, double it, and add a couple of minutes.
  • Figure perhaps 6:45 per mile if you're not sure where to set your pace.

Tip #3 - Find a Flat Course

  • This will help you dial in the pace.
  • The weather will affect your speed, as will your overall fitness.

Tip #4 - Warm Up and Cool Down

  • Don't forget to stretch and run at a slower pace to warm up.
  • After your twenty minutes at 80-85%, follow a good cool down routine, including slower jogging for a mile or so.

Tip #5 - Advantages to the Twenty Minute Run

If you still need convincing, here are some of the benefits of the twenty minute run:

  • A great starting point for the beginning runner.
  • Will build your aerobic fitness and your strength at the same time.
  • May also be an effective springboard for more intensive runs, so it's also effective for the more experienced runner.