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.
You should finish this workout saying you had another 5-minute on segment in you, but only if you had 2-3 minutes of steady recovery. So that means you’ll be running hard at the end of the workout. This is the fourth aerobic workout I’ve shared and it’s the most challenging. And that’s why fit athletes love it – there is a such a sense of accomplishment when you’ve done this workout. You know you’re fit when you execute a progression fartlek workout and nail the last repetition.
4/1, 4/1, 5/1, 5/1, 6/1, 6/1, 7/1, 10 is 54 minutes of running and a reasonable workout for a fit athlete.
4/1, 4/1, 5/1, 6/1, 7/1, 8/1, 9/1, 10 is 60 minutes of running and a great workout to test yourself with once you’ve done the first two versions of this workout. That said, you may not advance to this version of the workout in a given block of training as it might not make sense in your progression of fitness. Be patient and know that if you stay injury free that there is more training to come in the future and you will eventually have the chance to tackle this workout.
Make sure you’ve done Fartlek workouts, Aerobic Repeats and Progression Runs before you do this workout. That’s the sequence of workouts and you need to be patient and follow the sequence for this physically demanding and mentally challenging workout.
..but once you get to the time in your training where this workout makes sense, you’re going to love it!