I quite enjoy a good tempo run now, but that wasn’t always the case. I think I used to run tempos at a more flat out kind of pace which is why I hated them so much, now I’m much better at moderating that pace so it’s more sustainable and feels less like dying. But there are times when a continued sustained effort just seems like a whole lot of work and I like to change it up a bit. Here are some runs that you can do (with built in rest periods) which will do the same job that a tempo run does – increasing your speed and getting you nice and comfortable sitting on your anaerobic threshold.


This run is set up with periods of fast running, with 1 minute of recovery running in between.


These are the fast run intervals and in between each you would run 1 minute at a recovery pace.


400m Progression intervals have fast become my favourite.

400m Sprint, 400m Steady, 400m Fast, 400m Recovery x 5.

I love how this is set up because you get a recovery period between each hard effort


This is also a progression run and it looks like this:

5 x (jog 30 seconds, steady 20 seconds, sprint, 10 seconds), jog for 2 minutes, Repeat x 3

So each of the 30:20:10 makes up a minute, so you do that for five minutes, then you got for 2 minutes as a recovery and then you repeat three more times. It’s shown great results in improving a 5k time.


This is a really easy and effective one.

12 x (2:00 Walking, 30 second sprint)

Often when you start longer intervals can be hard to wrap your head around, so this is great to get you started.


The key to this one is that the 2 minute section is run at a steady pace, not at a recovery pace. So it looks like:

6 x (5:00 Fast, 2:00 Steady)

Great for endurance, because you aren’t getting a real recovery period in it. And making that transition from steady to fast can be quite challenging.

So there you have it! I’m a big fan of finding a type of run that you enjoy for the outcome you need rather than trying to stick out on a workout that you really don’t enjoy. Are you a tempo fan?

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Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. I'm really into pyramid runs at the moment. There are so many different types of speedwork sessions/intervals you can do too.