Race rehearsal (Up-Tempo)

The Race Rehearsal run is a sustained run over a relatively short distance (usually 800m to 2 miles) to sharpen your tempo for the upcoming race:


  1. Do your race warm-up
  2. Run at or just faster than race pace staying within a comfortably fast intensity (for 10k and shorter events, use 5 km effort)
  3. Stop at any sign of tiredness
  4. Cool-down well

Important points: 

  • This run is usually done during the taper towards your big race and is a final tune-up.
  • Imagine this is the final portion of your race and visualise yourself crossing the finish line victoriously as you finish. If you can practice this on the race course all the better.

Rate of perceived effort:

5-7 (75-90% VO2Max)

Experienced competitors/elites: 

Experienced competitors and elites can adopt this workout exactly as it is. Amending it for longer distance or harder intensity should not be attempted but the distance can be changed to something more intuitive for the target distance (a 3k runner may prefer a 1000m up-tempo rather than 800m or 1 mile, for instance).


  • Aerobic dipping into anaerobic at the end.


  • Visualisation
  • Pacing
  • Cultivating positive expectation

Biggest mistakes:

  • Getting carried away and running too hard.
  • Make sure you run just hard enough to sharpen the pencil and not break the tip! You will probably feel fresh but save it for the race. If necessary take along a buddy who will remind you to temper your ambition.


A uniform flat course with good traction is preferable for up-tempo runs so you can precisely gauge whether your pace increases or decreases towards the end as a result of your fitness level rather than changes in terrain.  Athletics tracks are particularly suitable and will help you get very accurate readings of how your pace develops throughout the workout.

Also published on Medium.

2 Responses to Race rehearsal (Up-Tempo)

Leave a reply