Progression Run: “How To” and Benefits

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Progression runs are one of my favorite types of run. The idea of a progression run is simple: you start out at a slow/easy pace and finish fast. If you are training for a race, or want to increase your running speed and stamina this is a great workout to add into your running schedule. 

There are many benefits to progression runs, including increased endurance, improved lactic threshold, increased mental fortitude, and practicing speed work without wearing down your body too much. It is an easy way to add more speed work to your schedule, while also allowing your body to acclimate to working hard even at the end of a run when you are more likely to be tired. 

There are many different ways to complete a progression run. You can do it based on time or distance. 

For example, for a 30 Minute run: Complete the first 20 minutes at an easy pace, and the last 10 minutes at a moderate or hard pace. Moderate should be slightly slower than your race pace, hard should be at your 5K race pace. VO2 Max workouts should be done faster than race pace, but that is typically reserved for faster, shorter workouts. 

You can also do a progression run based on distance. On Sunday, Jesse and I did an 8 mile progression run. We did the first 6 miles at an easy pace, and the last two miles at a moderate pace (I should say moderate pace for me, the entire run was easy for Jesse, he was pacing me). I was exhausted during this run, so my easy pace was much slower than it was a week ago, and my moderate pace was 7:30 min/mile which I held for the last two miles of the run. 

You can build your progression runs, for example starting out going hard for the last 5 minutes, then increasing that to 10 minutes. Eventually you can break your workout into thirds completing the first third at an easy pace, the middle section at a moderate pace, and the third section at a hard pace. 

I really like the versatility of progression runs. You can modify them to fit your schedule, running style, and needs. A progression run can be done outside, on a track, or on a treadmill. They are great training, and you will feel like you got in a great workout by the end of your run. Plus, you will know you are improving your stamina and overall level of fitness and athleticism. 

In the comments section below let me know if you already use progression runs, or if you will be adding them to your workout list. 🙂

Have a great night,

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