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This “comfortably hard” run is the key to racing your best, at any distance. Here’s how to add tempo runs to your weekly mix.


May 23, 2007

Robin Roberts runs like a Kenyan. Okay, she doesn’t run as fast as a Kenyan, but the 47-year-old New York City advertising executive–who trains far from Nairobi–has achieved personal records by using the same workout that has helped propel the likes of Paul Tergat and Lornah Kiplagat to greatness. The secret? A tempo run, that faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold, LT, or threshold run.

Roberts–who’d dabbled in faster-paced short efforts–learned to do a proper tempo run only when she began working with a coach, Toby Tanser. In 1995, when Tanser was an elite young track runner from Sweden, he trained with the Kenyan’s “A” team for seven months. They ran classic tempos–a slow 15-minute warmup, followed by at least 20 minutes at a challenging but manageable pace, then a 15-minute cooldown–as often as twice a week. “The foundation of Kenyan running is based almost exclusively on tempo training,” says Tanser. “It changed my view on training.”

Today, Tanser and many running experts believe that tempo runs are the single most important workout you can do to improve your speed for any race distance. “There’s no beating the long run for pure endurance,” says Tanser. “But tempo running is crucial to racing success because it trains your body to sustain speed over distance.” So crucial, in fact, that it trumps track sessions in the longer distances. “Tempo training is more important than speedwork for the half and full marathon,” says Loveland, Colorado, coach Gale Bernhardt, author of Training Plans for Multisport Athletes. “Everyone who does tempo runs diligently improves.” You also have to be diligent, as Roberts discovered, about doing them correctly.


Why the Tempo Works…

Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness. “Most runners have trained their cardiovascular system to deliver oxygen to the muscles,” says exercise scientist Bill Pierce, chair of the health and exercise science department at Furman University in South Carolina, “but they haven’t trained their bodies to use that oxygen once it arrives. Tempo runs do just that by teaching the body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently.”

How? By increasing your lactate threshold (LT), or the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace. During tempo runs, lactate and hydrogen ions–by-products of metabolism–are released into the muscles, says 2:46 marathoner Carwyn Sharp, Ph.D., an exercise scientist who works with NASA. The ions make the muscles acidic, eventually leading to fatigue. The better trained you become, the higher you push your “threshold,” meaning your muscles become better at using these byproducts. The result is less-acidic muscles (that is, muscles that haven’t reached their new “threshold”), so they keep on contracting, letting you run farther and faster.


…If Done Properly

But to garner this training effect, you’ve got to put in enough time at the right intensity–which is where Roberts went wrong. Her tempo runs, like those of many runners, were too short and too slow. “You need to get the hydrogen ions in the muscles for a sufficient length of time for the muscles to become adept at using them,” says Sharp. Typically, 20 minutes is sufficient, or two to three miles if your goal is general fitness or a 5-K. Runners tackling longer distances should do longer tempo runs during their peak training weeks: four to six miles for the 10-K, six to eight for the half-marathon, and eight to 10 for 26.2.

Because Roberts was focusing on the half-marathon, Tanser built up her tempo runs to eight miles (plus warmup and cooldown) at an eight-minute-per-mile pace. “The pace was uncomfortable,” she says. “But after a while I realized, ‘Oh, I can maintain this for a long time.’”

That’s exactly how tempo pace should feel. “It’s what I call ‘comfortably hard,’” says Pierce. “You know you’re working, but you’re not racing. At the same time, you’d be happy if you could slow down.”

You’ll be even happier if you make tempo running a part of your weekly training regimen, and get results that make you feel like a Kenyan–if not quite as fast.



A classic tempo or lactate-threshold run is a sustained, comfortably hard effort for two to four miles. The workouts below are geared toward experience levels and race goals.

GOAL: Get Started Coach Gale Bernhardt uses this four-week progression for tempo-newbies. Do a 10- to 15-minute warmup and cooldown.

Week 1: 5 x 3 minutes at tempo pace, 60-second easy jog in between each one (if you have to walk during the recovery, you’re going too hard).Week 2: 5 x 4 minutes at tempo pace, 60-second easy jog recovery Week 3: 4 x 5 minutes at tempo pace, 90-second easy jog recovery Week 4: 20 minutes steady tempo pace

GOAL: 5-K to 10-K Run three easy miles, followed by two repeats of two miles at 10-K pace or one mile at 5-K pace. Recover with one mile easy between repeats. Do a two-mile easy cooldown for a total of eight or 10 miles.

GOAL: Half to Full Marathon Do this challenging long run once or twice during your training. After a warmup, run three (half-marathoners) or six (marathoners) miles at the easier end of your tempo pace range (see “The Right Rhythm,” below). Jog for five minutes, then do another three or six miles. “Maintaining that comfortably hard pace for so many miles will whip you into shape for long distances,” says coach Toby Tanser.

The Right Rhythm

To ensure you’re doing tempo workouts at the right pace, use one of these four methods to gauge your intensity.


Recent Race: Add 30 to 40 seconds to your current 5-K pace or 15 to 20 seconds to your 10-K pace

Heart Rate: 85 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate

Perceived Exertion: An 8 on a 1-to-10 scale (a comfortable effort would be a 5; racing would be close to a 10)

Talk Test: A question like “Pace okay?” should be possible, but conversation won’t be.


Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Heart Disease.

Shocking report by ABC news on saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease.
Saturated fat and cholesterol has been accused for almost 60 years to be responsible of heart disease but unfortunately it is not science but marketing. Most of the studies on cholesterol and heart disease are funded by pharmaceutical companies. Unfortunately it is not doctors fault since all the research they receive comes from the sale rep of the pharmaceutical companies in most cases and do not have the time to digg into research and good science. However, most of us fear fat and cholesterol based on a theory which has never been proven by science. Feel free to share this.


Did You Know????

Did You Know?

  • Studies suggest that people with sleep apnea have a higher risk of cancer.
  • Drinking three or more cups of coffee per day is linked with a reduced risk of death.
  • Propecia, the baldness drug for men, causes sexual dysfunction.
  • In a study of women over age 65, those who ate the most monounsaturated fats (olive oil, nuts, avocados) had the brain power of women 6-7 years younger.
  • Dogs have been trained to detect oncoming seizures and to identify cancer in tissue samples.
  • People who sleep five hours or less a night are 32 percent more likely to gain weight than those who sleep seven hours.
  • Astronauts lose their sense of smell in space, most likely due to weightlessness causing fluid in the sinuses.
  • Knee replacement surgeries have doubled over the past decade, and more than tripled in women between the ages of 45 and 64.
  • Children who were breastfed for 6+ months are 51 percent less likely to be obese at age 9 than formula-fed kids.

Vitamin C Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Vitamin C Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Scientists at Johns Hopkins recently performed a meta-analysis of vitamin C studies relating to blood pressure going back to 1966. After analyzing data from 29 different clinical trials, they found that over an eight-week period, study participants who took around 500 mg of vitamin C per day experienced an average drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) of nearly 4 points, and diastolic pressure (the bottom number) of about 1.5 points. And the results were slightly better among participants who had high blood pressure to begin with-their systolic numbers dropped by nearly 5 points.

Given the multitude of benefits of vitamin C and the fact that roughly one in three US adults has high blood pressure, this inexpensive and utterly harmless intervention should be a mainstream recommendation. As one study author pointed out, “[I]f the entire US population lowered blood pressure by 3 [points], there would be a lot fewer strokes.” But don’t expect the Institute of Medicine to change its tune any time soon-that broken record is still advising women and men to get a paltry 75 mg and 90 mg of vitamin C per day, respectively. I stand by my longtime recommendation that everyone take a daily multinutrient that contains 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C.



The Wellness Program at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

Bal Harbour, Florida –

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, renowned as South Florida’s premier luxury hospitality experience, is once again changing the face of travel as the celebrated resort debuts their new Wellness Program. The Wellness Program at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort provides guests with the opportunity to recharge the mind and body, with unique and customizable programs focusing on exercising, eating healthfully and anti-stress modalities such as meditation and yoga. The resort experience was forever changed with the opening of The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, offering guests a new dimension of bespoke luxury all within minutes of the vibrant energy of South Beach; renowned as one of the world’s premier fashion and shopping destinations, the resort, with the debut of the new Wellness Program, is now emerging as the most coveted location for those seeking an experience that is at once luxurious and rejuvenating.

Developed in partnership with celebrated fitness trainers Tracie and Christopher Vlaun, the Wellness Program has been created to tailor to each guest’s needs, and the comprehensive programming includes not only fitness and exercise offerings, but also culinary, nutrition, spa and relaxation components as well. Whether guests wish to simply eat more healthfully during their vacation, maintain their normal work out while on the road, put a fresh spin on an exercise routine, or transform their bodies, the Wellness Program has something for everyone.


Fitness & Exercise


Taking advantage of the resort’s idyllic setting, Tracie and Christopher instruct several fitness classes on the beach, including early morning Beach Body Sculpt and Befit Beach Boot Camp. The Beach Boot Camp class consists of strength training and intermittent cardio drills to help guests blast calories and increase the use of muscles in ways that do not happen on a hard surface, all while overlooking the sparkling Atlantic ocean. Tracie and Christopher offer a full range of experiences, which includes meditation, nutrition counseling, Reiki, Pre/Post Natal Training and Yoga, Aquatic Classes and Myofascial Release. Through the Wellness Program guests can also receive personal training and 1-on-1 consultations.

The resort is also home to a fully equipped fitness center, with state-of-art fitness equipment and floor to ceiling windows that overlook the pool and ocean. The facilities feature a number of cardio and weight training machines all designed by Italian fitness experts, Technogym.

Guests can sign up for classes in the Spa or work-out site five minutes before the class, or can register in advance by e-mailing: contact@v-artofwellness.com or calling 786-423-7590. The work-out facilities are open 24 hours, allowing guests the freedom to work-out on their schedules.


Culinary & Nutrition


Nutritional and healthy culinary options can be enjoyed in any of the property’s restaurants as well as in-room with the Wellness Mini-bar. Guests won’t have to battle the temptation of candy or potato chips stocked in their hotel room, as mini-bars can be transformed into a wellness mini-bar, designed to reflect the tastes of the resort’s heart-healthy clientele. The wellness mini-bar can be personalized by dietary needs, and stocked with low sodium, low fat and high protein foods,

such as Go Raw Banana Bread flax bar and Orgain organic nutritional shakes. The Wellness Program menu also features a specialty fresh juice program and an extensive menu of healthy cocktails, featuring all fresh ingredients and organic wines and liquor. Additionally, the St. Regis Bal Harbour builds their menus based on the simple principle of always using the most fresh, in-season, natural, and organic ingredients possible. The resort looks at natural pairings from a seasonal perspective, and pays close attention to portion size, allowing guests to savor the flavors of the Grass Fed New York Strip or Tropical Fruit Vacherin, all in moderation. In preparing a dish, the resort chooses a cooking method that best preserves the essential flavor and nutritional components of the ingredients.


Spa & Relaxation


The Reméde Spa at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort offers a wide range of services which are the perfect complement to an invigorating workout. Health-conscious guests can seek relief for overexerted muscles, or simply let their mind and body escape with wellness inspired spa experiences where Remède Spa technicians deliver the most exclusive treatments in South Florida. Guests may enjoy luxurious services such as The Royal Muscle Rejuvenation, which provides a soothing reduction of stress while assisting in healing bruises, joint pain, sprains, or muscle pain; or the Remède Customized Wrap, which boosts a wide range of benefits ranging from combating cellulite, releasing muscle tension and improving skin condition. To book treatments guests can call 305-993-3300 (extension 3600).

For those that want the complete, holistic experience guests can book any of the below specialty packages:




Jump start your fitness with a program tailored to you. After a one-on-one consultation, you’ll be challenged by a certified personal trainer and enjoy your choice of group fitness classes. Relax your sore muscles with a specialized post-workout treatment at Remède spa. The package includes a1-on-1 consultation with V Art of Wellness, Choice of Group Fitness Class with V Art of Wellness, Private session with a certified Personal Trainer, Post-Training Treatment Remède spa and St. Regis Fitness Pack, which includes a stretch mat, water bottle, and resistance bands. In addition to the room rate, the wellness package will be an additional $243.




The Renew Package focuses on finding balance in one’s life. Clear your mind and work your body with a private beach yoga session tailored just for you, then relax and refresh with a customized post-workout treatment at Remède Spa. The package includes a1-on-1 consultation with V Art of Wellness, Private yoga practice catered to your specific individual needs, Post-Training Spa Treatment and a St. Regis Fitness Pack, which includes a stretch mat, water bottle, and resistance bands. In addition to the room rate, the wellness package will be an additional $225.

Both packages have a minimum of a two night stay and must be booked seven days in advance.

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort is located directly across from the celebrated Bal Harbour Shops and is minutes away from the energy of South Beach and Miami. Travelers discover a new dimension of bespoke luxury with the resort’s 243, ocean-view rooms and suites, including 70 one and two-bedroom suites in an all-glass tower rising 27 stories above an expansive stretch of beach on the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, the resort offers world-class dining including a restaurant inspired by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, wine vault, St. Regis bar, private poolside and beach cabanas and much more. Visit www.stregisbalharbour.com or call 305-993-3300 for more information.




About St. Regis Hotels & Resorts


Combining classic sophistication with a modern sensibility, St. Regis is committed to delivering exceptional experiences at 30 luxury hotels and resorts in the best addresses around the world. Since the opening of the first St. Regis Hotel in New York City over a century ago by John Jacob Astor IV, the brand has remained committed to an uncompromising level of bespoke and anticipatory service for all of its guests, delivered flawlessly by signature St. Regis Butler Service.

From Bal Harbour to Bangkok, Saadiyat Island to Shenzhen, the St. Regis brand caters to a new generation of luxury travelers and continues to thoughtfully build its portfolio in the most sought after destinations at the heart of today’s grand tour. Plans for the brand to expand its legacy include much-anticipated St. Regis Hotels & Resorts in the Riviera Maya and in Asia, where St. Regis has announced plans to open hotels in Changsha, Chengdu, Kuala Lumpur, Lijiang, Nanjing, New Delhi and Zhuhai. Additionally in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, St. Regis will continue to expand in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo and Dubai. For more information on St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, please visit www.stregis.com, to explore our recent debuts visit www.stregis.com/newgrandtour and for the privilege of residential ownership, please visit www.stregis.com/residences.