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Marathon Pace from Tempo Pace

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “I have been doing tempo work and was wondering how I gauge my race day pace off of tempo pace? (e.g., 30k and Marathon)”


As I mentioned in the Tempo Time article, usually tempo pace will be about 20 seconds slower per mile than 10k race pace and 30 seconds slower than 5k race pace. As you try to gauge race day pace off of your tempo runs it can become quite tricky. Again, the faster the runner you are, usually the less time between your marathon race pace and your tempo pace. For example, my marathon best is 2:10:59 which is slightly under 5:00 mile pace. I usually ran my tempo runs at about 4:50 per mile, so my tempo pace was usually about 10 seconds faster per mile than my marathon race pace. However, slower runners will usually need to run relatively faster to hit their tempo zone. Jack Daniels agrees and he places tempo paces at approximately the following relative to marathon pace:

2:30 marathon 5:45 pace=tempo pace will be about 17 seconds faster or about 5:28 tempo pace
3:00 marathon 6:55 pace=tempo pace will be about 23 seconds faster or about 6:32 tempo pace
4:00 marathon 9:08 pace=tempo pace will be about 30 seconds faster or about 8:38 tempo pace
5:00 marathon 11:30 pace=tempo pace will be about 40 seconds faster or about 10:50 tempo pace

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High Altitude Running Camp

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “Paul and Ed, do you still host an altitude training camp in the summer for high school age elite athletes? I have a sophomore that has aspirations of running D1 like her sister that is looking for an elite camp in July at altitude… ”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)


Paul Pilkington and I (Ed Eyestone), along with Paul Cummings enjoyed doing our high altitude high school running camp for over 15 years. The camp was in Park City, Utah most years but we also enjoyed doing the camp at Wolf Creek in the upper Ogden Valley near Pineview Reservoir. It was a two to three week period every summer that our families enjoyed as they stayed with us in Park City and helped with the camp. After Paul Cummings tragically passed away in 2001 we continued the camp for several years. However, as our responsibilities expanded with our coaching assignments at BYU and Weber, as well as traveling with athletes and broadcasting during the summer, it was difficult to continue the camp. Paul Cummings and his wonderful family had always done much of the preparation for the camp and without their time and talents it was also difficult to maintain.

Currently, I do the BYU running camp open to athletes from the age of 12-18. While not at the high altitudes of Park City we are still at about 4600 feet which can be a great introduction to training at altitude. The dates of the camp this year at BYU are July 12-15 or July 19-24. Registration can be done online at www.byusportscamps.com. The runners who come to the BYU camp have a great time and get to associate with kids from all over the country. I think your daughter would enjoy the camp!


Ed Eyestone – Brigham Young University Head Distance Coach | Olympic Distance Runner

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by on May.03, 2010, under Expert Answers, Training

Tempo Time

Someone once asked me if I could only do one hard workout for the rest of my life what would it be? In the first place that’s an unfair question, kind of like asking if you could only eat one thing what would it be (my wife’s lasagna), but I digress. The fact is that there is a plethora of workouts that we can do on a rotating basis to help us avoid getting stale or bored and keep us fit and in the position of being able to afford to eat more of my wife’s lasagna. But if pressed for the all time single workout that by itself would do more to positively impact your race day performance I would answer with a clean conscience, the tempo run.

Tempo runs are those runs done at a steady pace at or slightly beyond your lactate threshold. Your lactate threshold is the point at which your ability to buffer lactic acid begins to be surpassed by lactic acid production. Studies have shown that running speed at lactate threshold is the best predictor of distance running performance. By running at least once a week at our lactate threshold we can gradually “push the envelope” outward as we physiologically adapt. The big question for many of us then is how to determine what our tempo run pace should be? Fortunately, there are a few ways to access your tempo time.

Comfortably Hard: I know it’s an oxymoron, kind of like “good grief”. How can something be “comfortable” and at the same time “hard”? Yet that is exactly what tempo run pace should feel like. You are running fast enough to feel like you are working hard, but if you had to, you could keep it going for an hour. If running with a training partner, conversation is limited to a few words here and there but no lengthy diatribes can be tolerated. For that reason I suggest a tempo run with your boss.

80% of VO2 max pace: Odds are you don’t know your VO2 max pace and you don’t have a handy treadmill with a team of crack exercise physiologists to figure it out for you. The speed that you can run a 3000-meter race would be a close estimation of 100% of your VO2max pace. Take 80% of that speed (20% slower) and you know how fast to run your tempo run. I work with a young man who has run 3000 meters in 7:52 which is 63 seconds every 400 meters (the dude is fast). 20% of 63 seconds is 12.6 seconds. Adding 12.6 seconds to 63 gives you 75.6 seconds for 400 meters x 4 equals about 5:02 per mile. 5-minute miles are typically what he will maintain for a 5-mile tempo run (I told you he was fast).

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Ed Eyestone – Utah Running Expert

Ed Eyestone, a two-time Olympian, is currently the head men’s distance coach at Brigham Young University. Since his arrival in 2000, Eyestone has formed a BYU team that is regarded as one of the best distance programs in the nation. Under Eyestone, the Cougars have won 8 Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championships and have finished in the nation’s top 25 every year, including a 5th place finish in 2004. His distance teams have helped win the Mountain West Conference Indoor and Outdoor titles 9 times each. He has been awarded the MWC Coach of the year 6 times. Eyestone, who was a 10-time All-American as an athlete at BYU, has coached BYU athletes to 36 All-American awards.

In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Eyestone was the head distance analyst for NBC at the Beijing Olympics. He has also served as a commentator for ESPN and Fox Sport’s “Elite Racing” since 1994 and has been a monthly columnist for Runner’s World magazine since 1999.

Accomplishments as a Runner:

  • Won every collegiate cross country race he entered his senior year at BYU
  • 1984-1985 season National Champion in Cross Country, 10,000 meters, and 5,000 meters (only the 3rd athlete to win this rare triple crown of national titles)
  • 1985 he set an NCAA record in the 10,000 meters with a time of 27:41.05
  • Was a professional distance runner for 15 years
  • Member of the U.S. Marathon Olympic team, first in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, and then in 1992 in Barcelona, Spain
  • Named U.S. Road Racer of the Year five times
  • Career-best marathon time of 2:10.59

Earned a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology and a master’s in exercise science from BYU.

Eyestone is married to Lynn and they are the parents of six daughters.

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by on Jan.01, 2010, under Utah Running Experts

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