Workout of the Week: 046 – Tempo + Strides

You’ve gotta love a good old tempo run! This week we’re doing 25 minutes with some technique-targeting strides at the start.


Tempo Run + Strides
4x20sec strides (100sec recovery jogs)
25mins @ lactate threshold pace

Terrain: Flat-ish, measurable pathway.

Feels: Armed and ready.

Use the 4x20sec strides at the start to practice some technique elements that you’ll use in the second half of the tempo run when things get tough. Technique cues are perfect for combating those voices inside that tell you to slow down and that you can’t do it. Stand tall, because you can!


When we run fast and focus on good technique our bodies fight to find more efficient and effective movement patterns. So today’s strides are designed to give you the opportunity to learn and engrain some good movement patterns before you confront the beast in the back of half of the tempo run.


For technique, let’s focus on these three cues:

  • Stand Tall: Imagine a string tied to your head elongating your spine.
  • Quick Feet: Avoid the temptation to pound that pavement. Instead, turn your legs into wheels with good quick turnover that avoids the braking moments of a slower, pounding stride rate.
  • Relaxed but Effective Arms: Keep your hands relaxed by picturing a potato chip resting in your palms. And make your arm drive powerful by focusing on a strong back swing of your elbow, as though you’re elbowing someone behind you in the guts!


The worldwide Garmin outage last week was like the end of the world for many gadget-fixated runners, but also a good reminder of the traps of always running with a GPS watch.

I love my GPS watch. It gives me amazing data and feedback on my fitness. But I only run with it about once a week, and sometimes won’t touch it for a month or more! Why? Because I’m aware of the dangers it poses to my running. These are:

  • Running Too Fast: If you’re anything like me, whenever your run is measured, you end up running a little faster. This is great in a key workout or race situation, but terrible on a recovery run day that is supposed to be genuinely “easy”. I see so many runners on Strava turning their easy run days into moderate runs, which can lead to injury and reduce your capacity to run fast when it actually matters.
  • Making Every Run a Race: We just simply can’t race at our best every day. We need recovery and rest days, we need foundation-laying days, and we need to address weaknesses. If you’ve constantly got your watch on telling you how quick you did a particular segment, you’re losing many opportunities to maximise your running training.
  • Comparison: There’s nothing worse than doing what for you was a good run and then that deflation when you open up Strava to see Joe or Jenny Runner has run 30 seconds faster per KM and has 5 PRs to your 1. Competition can be great for lifting your performance, but it’s definitely not helpful in every training run.
  • Lack of Freedom: Call me a hippy when it comes to running technology, but I’m a massive believer in “naked running”. Doing most of your runs absolutely gadget free and allowing your mind to tune into your body, your breathing and the scenery around you is just so freeing and it allows you to build fitness almost without noticing that it’s happening. Yes, it’s important to keep a rough gauge on how many minutes or KMs you run each week to avoid injury, but, outside of this, make a commitment to run free more often. Let me know how you get on!