Saturday, 1 December 2012

Tempo / Threshold Running

For the first blog on this page I will bring up the topic of Continuous Tempo/Threshold Running (CTTR).   This term is usually mentioned at running club sessions.  However the person using the term usually has no idea what it actually relates to, other than “running a bit faster than usual”.

A CTTR session is a run of around 20 minutes at around 90% of your maximum effort (slightly slower than race pace). It is the effort level just below which the body has the ability to clear lactate, which is a by-product of carbohydrate metabolism caused when the body can no longer keep up with lactate production.

This type of session should ideally make up at least two of your training sessions every three weeks and be around 10 - 20% of your total amount of training.

By adding CTTR to your training you can increase your Lactate Threshold (the point at which lactate starts to accumulate in the bloodstream) and slowly increase your ability to run for longer at a faster pace. CTTR is also a good time to work on your running form, especially near to the end of the run when you start to feel tired.

Below I have worked out average tempo running paces linked to an athlete’s 5k race pace. I hope this will be useful.

5K RACE TIME       I       TEMPO PACE MIN/KM     
15min                                    3.15 pace

17.30min                              3.45 pace
20min                                    4.15 pace
22.30min                              4.45 pace  
25min                                    5.15 pace 
27.30min                              5.45 pace
30min                                    6.15 pace
32.30min                              6.45 pace

35min                                    7.15 pace
37.30min                              7.45 pace


Tempo/Threshold Running can also be linked in with long interval sessions of short recovery; however this will be explained in a later blog.


  1. This pacing is really accurate. I've been trying it out with some of the other runners from my club. And it is about our maximum tempo pace.