Tempo or Pace Training

2 min read
Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Last post, we covered steady state training and progression.  This post will focus on tempo or pace training. We will also cover the fitness principle of periodization. To get optimum results from this post, invest in an accurate chest strap like the MZ-3

Once you have established a solid aerobic base, you can start to add in more variety and challenge yourself to hold higher intensities for longer periods of time.  When you engage in tempo or pace training, you will hold an intensity in the yellow or red zone for a few minutes (work phase) and then recover back down into the green zone for a few minutes (recovery phase), then repeat.  Typically, you will hold your work phase for a bit longer than your recovery phase.  The term pace training refers to holding yourself at a “race” pace for the work phase, and then recovering at a slightly slower pace during the recovery phase.  For example, if one of your movement goals is to run a 5k at a seven minute mile pace, you would hold yourself at (or slightly faster than) seven minute mile pace for a few minutes, and then recover at an eight or nine minute mile pace.  Over time, you would progress to holding the seven minute mile pace for a longer duration, and/or holding a faster pace for the same duration. 

Here are a few tempo and pace workouts (organized from least to most challenging in each category).  You can complete these workouts using a modality of your choice (running, cycling, rowing, circuit training, elliptical).  Give yourself a day of recovery in between these types of workouts.  You could use a steady state day for active recovery.


  • Work in Yellow or Red: 3 minutes; Recover in Green: 2 minutes -Repeat x 4
  • Work in Yellow or Red: 4 minutes; Recover in Green: 1 minute -Repeat x 4
  • Work in Yellow or Red: 5 minutes; Recover in Green: 2 minutes -Repeat x 3
  • Work in Yellow or Red: 8 minutes; Recover in Green: 2 minutes -Repeat x 2


  • Work at or slightly faster than race pace (Race Pace +): 3 minutes; Recover slightly slower than race pace (Recover): 2 minutes -Repeat x 4
  • Race Pace+: 5 minutes; Recover: 3 minutes -Repeat x 3
  • Race Pace+: 3 minutes; Recover: 1 minute -Repeat x 5
  • Race Pace+: 8 minutes; Recover: 3 minutes -Repeat x 2-3

Periodization, by definition, is the organization of your training into periods or phases.  Periodization provides variety as you progress your fitness level.  We must progress our training to challenge our body to adapt, and we must use recovery to allow our body to repair.  For example, once you have built your aerobic base using steady state training, you are ready to progress to tempo/pace training; however, you will want to plan rest days into your schedule.  You can periodize your training program in many different ways.  We will provide a more extensive overview of periodization and provide examples after we explain a few more types of training (threshold, interval).  For now, make your moves using the tempo and pace programs provided!

We would like to follow your progress!  When you complete a move while wearing your MZ-3 chest strap, post it to Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtags: #myzonemoves #tempo #pace #periodization.  Next post, threshold training is the topic.  Keep moving forward!

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