Tempo Workout and Playlist to Run Faster



Hey! Today you’ll learn how to do a tempo workout. This is a step by step guide on how to do a tempo run AND a new playlist you can use to help get excited and have fun with it. (It’s tip number 3 on the February Calendar for Runners free printable)

Tempo Run – What is it?

A Tempo Run is a running workout to get faster and more comfortable running at a higher pace for long distances. It’s often measured in miles or minutes that are longer sections compared to track workouts.

It can be considered one of the best speed workouts for half marathon and full marathon runners who want to get faster. The sections of speed work are longer than sprints. It teaches you how to run faster for longer periods of time – so your body is challenged to hold an uncomfortable pace.

And that builds confidence! Which is something very very important when you’re running a long distance race like a half or full marathon!


Tempo Speed Run

The easy pace section isn’t an official running warm up. Do your own warm up before starting this run.

The tempo pace should be challenging but sustainable. Many running coaches say your tempo run pace should be a ‘comfortably hard’ pace.

You should be using the Effort Level Scale during your runs and workouts on a regular basis before doing speed workouts for a while. This will help you know your body and what different effort levels feel like so you can assess your tempo pace.

Learn about the Effort Level Scale for Running here –
How to Measure your Running Effort Level Podcast episode 9

Here’s the step by step on how to do a tempo run. The blank space ‘_____’ is the amount of time or number of miles you should run. I left it blank because it varies based on your body and fitness.

How to do a Tempo Run:

  1. Warm up. Do a thorough warm up to start.
  2. Run at an easy pace for _____. Effort level 2-4, easy, conversational pace.
  3. Run at tempo pace for _____ . Effort level between 7 to 8.5 – challenging, hard, but able to maintain for the entire tempo section.
  4. Take it back down to your easy pace for _____ .

Example of a Tempo Workout

This run is 30 minutes total – 10 easy / 10 tempo / 10 easy. But you can adjust it as needed. Listen to your body.

30 Minute Tempo Run: 

  • 10 minutes easy pace
  • 10 minutes tempo pace
  • 10 minutes easy pace

30 Minute Running Playlist for Tempo Workout

Here is a list of great songs for a 30 Minute Running Workout. You can get this playlist on Spotify below. Or add the songs to your playlist and get running.

Note: The playlist is planned for a tempo workout that’s approximately 30 minutes long but it can work for any workout.

The running playlist is broken down to correspond to the tempo workout.

  • 10 minutes easy pace –  songs are fun
  • 10 minutes tempo pace – songs are SUPER FUN and make you wanna go fast
  • 10 minutes easy pace – songs are fun and help wind down

Tempo Run Playlist

Easy Running Songs: (10 minute easy pace to help get fully warmed up and ready to push your pace)

  • What a Man Gotta Do – Jonas Brothers [3:00]
  • You Should Be Sad – Halsey [3:25]
  • Lover (Remix) – Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes [3:41]

Tempo Songs: (10 minutes – effort level = comfortably hard / 8 on a 1-10 scale)

  • Good As Hell (Remix) – Lizzo, Ariana Grande [2:39]
  • Bad Guy – billie eilish [3:14]
  • Me! – Taylor Swift, Brendon Urie [3:13]
  • Dance Monkey – Tones and I [3:29]

Cool Down: (10 minutes easy running)

  • Me Gusta – Shakira, Anual AA [3:10]
  • You Need to Calm Down – Taylor Swift [2:51}
  • Beautiful People – Ed Sheeran, Khalid [3:17]
* Click here to listen on Spotify – 30 Minute Running Playlist for Tempo Workout *


More Running Resources & Tips: 

How to do Strides – Running Workout Tutorial

5 Easy Tips for Stretching After a Run

Running Gear Hack – Grab & Go Tip!

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