Tempo Run

author : AskMrsBT
comments : 0

"On a six-mile tempo run is the warm up and cool down miles"

Welcome to AskMrsBeginnerTriathlete.  I’m glad that you’re here!


AskMrsBeginnerTriathlete is here to provide answers to questions you have as a newcomer to the world of triathlon. Younger than Dear Abby, more athletic than Ann Landers, each month I will post, what I hope to be helpful, responses to questions that have been submitted.


I encourage you to ask any question that is on your mind related to training and/or racing triathlons.  I specialize in and welcome the “dumb question”!  We can learn as we make the journey together.


Our next question is from Confused in Itasca:



Hey Mrs B.T.,


On a six-mile tempo run is the warm up and cool down miles

included in the six miles or does it actually become an eight-mile work-out?


Confused in Itasca


Dear Confused in Itasca,

To answer your question I asked my pal Amanda Musacchio who’s written an article on this very subject. Hope it helps!


Good luck and happy training!



The Tempo Run - Amanda Musacchio


A temp run is generally defined as including a warm up, cool down and a gradually faster pace in the middle. When discussing the miles of a tempo run you probably want to run anywhere from two to six miles “at tempo pace,” or fast enough to average about your 10K pace. So the “tempo,” part of the tempo run does not include the warm up and cool down.


Tempo By the Numbers

  If you want to run a three-mile tempo run, then you would actually be running five miles — three miles faster with a one-mile warm up and a one-mile cool down. As for the pace, the warm up and cool down should feel like an easy slow job. As you transition from the slow running to the tempo run, gradually pick up the pace. Do not go from a slow job to your 10K pace in 20 yards.


Breaking It Down

If you have three miles planned at tempo, then the first faster mile should be about half way between the slow running and the fastest pace you aim to reach for this workout. The second mile should be a little faster still, almost top speed (10K pace) but not quite. The third mile should be the fastest. Again gradually work up to a pace that feels quite fast, but that you know you could maintain for at least a mile. If you have recently run a 10K race, then aim for this mile to be at that pace. After that, do a one-mile cool down at the same pace as you warm up.


I am excited to make AskMrsBeginnerTriathlete an informative forum for our members and guests.  As we develop our site I welcome your comments and suggestions for improvements.


Enjoy the journey.

- AskMrsBT


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date: September 1, 2004