Progression runs are not only a great way to get a significant aerobic stimulus, they are also an indicator of your ability to run by feel. Let me explain.
Because a progression run has you running progressively faster throughout the run, you have to gauge your effort early in the workout. While you don’t want to run so slow to start this workout that you’re not being challenged, there is a tendency to run a bit too fast on the first segment of the progression run. You’ll have to speed up at three points in this run, so you have to make sure that in the first section you are being challenged, but running conservatively. If you are skilled at running by feel, this won’t be a problem, but if you’re still honing that skill then knowing what rhythm you can run and still be able to speed up three times will pose a challenge.
I really like a 50-minute progression run as the bread and butter version of this run. Do 20 minutes steady, 15 minutes a bit faster, 10 minutes a bit faster, 5 minutes fast but controlled. If you do a 10-minute warm-up and a 10-minute cool-down then you have 70 minutes of running. If you do LMLS before the run and SAM after the run then you’ll work out for 90 minutes, start to finish. This is a realistic amount of time to ask of even the busiest adult runner, let alone a high school or collegiate athlete training in the off-season. [Read more…]
Once you gain a solid foundation of fitness, there is a very good chance that this will be your favorite aerobic workout.
The workout is exactly as it sounds. You’ll be doing a fartlek that gets progressively faster, and the fartlek segments get progressively longer. Just like the fartlek workout I’ve described previously (click here) you will run two paces: “on” and “steady.” The difference in the progression fartlek is the the on portions will increase in length as the workout progresses. And you should be running faster as the workout progresses as well. Similar to the progression run, this is a great workout to get you mentally ready to run faster at the end of races (that is, running a negative split race).
The first progression fartlek is simply:
3/1, 3/1, 4/1, 4/1, 5/1, 5/1, 6/1, 8. So 3 minutes on, 1 minute steady, 3 minutes on, 1 minute steady, 4 minutes one, 1 minute steady, etc. The fastest running should come in the final 8 minutes of the workout. Most athletes run about the same pace for the first two 3-minute segments, speed up for the 4-minute segments, running this new pace for both 4-minute segments, etc.
Key point: Do not use your GPS and run pre-determined paces. This workout is designed to sharpen your skill of running by feel. You need to run this workout in such a way that the last segment has you running faster than all of the previous segments. And that will be a challenge as the 1-minute steady recovery will go quickly. Bottom line is that this is a killer workout and you’re going to be challenged. [Read more…]