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Threshold, or T-pace, running is one of the most productive types of training that distance runners can do. Training at this pace helps runners avoid overtraining and yields more satisfying workouts and better consistency.

The two types of threshold training that I discuss in Daniels’ Running Formula are tempo runs and cruise intervals. Tempo runs—steady, moderately prolonged runs—have been around for some time, but runners and coaches define them differently. Cruise intervals are a series of repeated runs with a brief recovery between runs. In my book, I address the differences and similarities between tempo and cruise-interval workouts. Here, I’ll stick to tempo runs, including new information on extended tempo runs.

Some runners and coaches use tempo runs for the broader purpose of just going for a fairly prolonged, steady, solid run—often, more for the psychological benefits (which can be considerable) than the physiological. With threshold-intensity running, the physiological benefit is to improve endurance: the ability to endure a greater and greater intensity of effort for a longer and longer period of time. You might perform some (longer) tempo runs at an intensity slightly below threshold intensity, which offers a good opportunity to boost psychological endurance. Longer tempo runs that begin in the less intense area of the zone and progress to the higher end of the zone are accomplishing both the benefits of a longer tempo run and the benefits of true T-pace running.

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