Striders and Tempo Runs

Also known as “pickups,” striders are generally done following your warm-up jog prior to the beginning of an interval session or a road race to prepare your legs and cardiovascular system for the fast-paced running to immediately follow. The distance of striders is approximately 80 meters.

These are best run on a straightaway rather than around curves. Begin by gradually increasing your pace so that you're running with a full stride (but not at full speed) by the 30- to 40-meter mark. Hold the pace for the next 10 meters before gradually reducing your speed to a jog by the end of the 80 meters.

The purpose of the strider is to achieve a long, full-stride length at a comfortable speed. You do not want to sprint all out in a strider. Turn around and repeat this process four times (for a beginner) to ten times (for an advanced competitor). Time your striders so that your speed workout or race follows a couple of minutes later.

Tempo Runs

The primary purpose of including tempo runs in your regimen is to increase your anaerobic threshold to maintain a faster pace over longer periods of time. A secondary purpose of the tempo run is to simulate racing conditions by running at or near your race pace over a distance shorter than the race.

The pace of the tempo run should be about 10–15 seconds slower than your present 10K race pace. Depending on your race goals, the tempo segment of your run can be anywhere from 6 continuous minutes to 20 minutes or more.

Rather than doing a structured warm-up that includes stretching and striders, start out your tempo workout by running easily for at least 12 minutes or longer before cruising into the fast segment. An example of a tempo run workout is to run 12 minutes at tempo pace followed by a 6-minute recovery jog. You could then tack on another 12-minute segment at tempo pace before concluding the balance of your workout with easy running.

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