Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Progression Run

Progression runs are a staple of many training programs. The idea of a progression run is to start easy, then finish at a faster pace.

The great thing about progression runs is the ability to tailor them to your training needs and abilities. Many training plans use them to improve endurance for longer races like half marathons and marathons. Others use them to hit a variety of paces during the same run.

Whether you're using a training plan or not, a progression run can be a nice addition to your workout routine. Start a run at an easy pace, then slowly speed up to a harder pace. Depending on your goals and comfort level, you can make the harder portions longer or faster.

A few examples:

Four mile progression run:
  • 1 - 1.5 miles very easy pace
  • 1.5 - 2 miles moderate pace 
  • 1 mile hard

Six mile progression run:
  • 1 - 2 miles very easy 
  • 2 - 3 miles moderate
  • 1 - 2 miles moderate/hard
  • 1 mile hard

Long progression run:
  • This workout can be done numerous ways. One third to one half of the run can be completed at easy pace. Then, accelerate slowly to a moderate pace. 
  • How fast you progress to will depend on what type of race you're training for:
    • Half marathoners will want to progress down to about 10k pace, and marathoners to about half marathon pace. 
    • Runners training for shorter distances like 5k or 10k will want to run only a small portion of the end of this run at race pace.
I haven't given any specific paces for progression runs. Many training plans will specific paces such as: 3 miles at easy pace, 2 miles at marathon pace, and 2 miles at half marathon pace.

Doing a progression run with preset paces is fine, but I prefer to run more by feel. Learning to run by feel takes practice, and in a future post I'll give some ideas on how it can be done.

Back at It

This week marked my return to my regular job as a middle school language arts teacher. Posts will be less frequent for the foreseeable future as I'll be teaching a new grade level with a busier schedule than last year.


I did have some winners on the give away, so read the comments on Give Away to see the tough weekend workouts of some readers of this blog.

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