Workout of the Week: 104 – Strides & Tempo #4

Ready to go long? Ready to prove to yourself that you can still run strong, fast and confident even on tired legs? This week’s workout is tough but massively rewarding and energising.



3x30s strides w/ 90s jogs
35mins @ lactate threshold (your 1-hour race pace)
3x30s strides w/ 90s jogs

Terrain: A flat and measurable pathway.

The strides at the start set the tone for the rest of the workout by allowing you to work on good speed and technique while 100% fresh.

Then we get into the rhythm and grind of a nice long tempo run. And, with pleasantly tired legs, we finish as we started exchanging the quantity back for the quality with the final set of short, fast, controlled bursts of running.


The strides and the tempo run each serve very different purposes. While the tempo run is there to tire you out and really test your body’s ability to go longer at a steady clip, the strides are all about the quality of the movement—not how hard you’re working.


Nice long recoveries are key for performing strides well—hence the 90-seconds after each 30-second effort. And you may like to take longer than 90 seconds after the tempo to fully reset before performing the final set of strides.

Also, if you are new to these longer sessions (the workout component, without warm up and warm down, is almost 50 minutes, so this is a big session) feel free to slow the tempo run down to half marathon or even marathon pace (or cut the tempo run short to 20 minutes). Likewise, if you’re new to strides, you could do just 3×10 seconds instead of 30-second efforts.



By Hayden Shearman

I’m bit of a geek when it comes to history and warfare. There’s something about examining the experience of humans in the most trying situations that I find revealing about the way us humans work. So, what has this to do with running? Well, I read recently that, in a war situation, frontline, gun-toting soldiers make up as little as 1 in 7 (and sometimes as low as 1 in 14) of the deployed military personnel. Medics, logistics, command HQ, communications … there are many vital roles in a military that don’t involve being Rambo up the front. And this ratio has a compelling parallel to running and fitness.

Many new runners think you need to be full on for every run; that you need to be the equivalent of Rambo confronting the enemy, guns blazing and grenades exploding. While we do want to train ourselves to get to that place in races and key workouts, the truth is that most of our running shouldn’t go that deep in the well and most of us could do with winding things back to just focus on a key session each week rather than hammering ourselves every day.

And that ratio of 1:7 up to 1:14 is, I think, appropriate in running as well. Once a week or maybe once a fortnight we should be pushing the envelope a little, going to a deeper place, confronting the beast. But, for the rest of the time, we should be accumulating time on feet, working on technique and pacing skills, building strength and resilience, improving mobility and athleticism.

These activities might seem like less-important supporting roles but the truth is that like an iceberg, it’s the unseen, less flashy stuff that supports the epic workouts and races. You’ve got to have enough cake to warrant the icing.

So, be encouraged to have a look at your training ratios. How often are you going to the well or confronting the best in workouts? More than weekly? Less the monthly? Most people will find that the ratio of 1:7 to 1:14 is helpful for finding the sweet spot for doing big sessions and races compared to easier, achievable workouts.