Progression Run

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What is a progression run?

This is a very popular training tactic for marathon runners. The speed gradually increases in this workout. It is characterized by a slow start but the pace builds up to a quicker pace in the last mile. 

We recommend progressive runs to individuals who are keen on improving their physical fitness. It prepares a runner’s body to maintain enough energy to finish fast after running for a longer period of time. 

Implementing progression runs in our workout program is key if we are determined to increase our speed. This workout though difficult to master is a key determinant in increasing your endurance base while placing less stress on the body. 

Progression runs provide great stimuli when running. We will share a few pointers on the progression run in this article for growing and improving and improving on our overall fitness. 

How should you do a progressive run? 

No matter the distance we choose to run, listed below are tips on how we should do a progressive run workout

1. Warm up

It is critical that we warm up our muscles and get ready for this tough workout. Though the pace at the beginning is slow, it is good that we remember that the speed quickens as we go. 

2. Decide on your running distance 

When we have settled on the distance, we should be keen in ensuring that the final third is faster than our goal race pace. This is especially important for longer races such as marathons and half marathons. 

3. Start slow 

We should begin the progressive run at a slow pace but ensure that each   kilometer run is at least 15 seconds faster.  

We should adjust our progressive run to our race pace. This can be achieved by either changing the distance or time for each third. 

4. Splits tracking 

Tracking splits help us in ensuring that we stay on top of our fitness goals and helps increase efficiency in our progressive run workout.  

We are able to do this by running the first and last third on the track and covering the same distance on a loop with markers and see what we can improve on. 

5. Recovery process 

To ease the recovery process, we should jog or walk in order to slow down and cool down our bodies. 

6. Fitness trackers 

It is also important that we use fitness trackers during our progression runs to help us track our vitals. Trackers help us to know when to slow down and avoid injury

Progression Tempo Run
Source: Pexels.com / Andrea Piacquadio

How often should you do progression runs? 

The frequency is dependent on how often we run. If we run at least three times a week, we should incorporate at least one progressive run workout in a week. Progression runs are flexible and can easily be integrated into long runs

The most important thing to remember is to ensure that we have enough recovery time in between sessions as it is key for improved fitness and also helps us avoid injuries by preventing overworking ourselves.. 

How to structure progression runs? 

The ways we structure our progression highly determines the efficiency of our workouts. Time is the simplest way to master a progression run. It is important that whatever time we allocate is divided in to equal parts. 

We should run the first part at a slow pace, the second part should be characterized by a steady speed which should progressively improve from the first. We should run the last part in a more fast but sustainable speed. 

When we choose to use distance as a basis for our progression run , our effort and speed will still call for us to progress our speed but it will be determined by distance markers. 

We can change the distance according to our ability and fitness level. A 15km progression will require that we increase our speed every 5km from easy to fast at the end. 

Progression Run Workout
Source: Pexels.com / Ketut Subiyanto

Types of progression runs 

There are various types of progressive runs that we can include in our training program. 

1. Fast final quarter 

This run calls for a comfortable and steady pace for the beginning three-quarters of the race. We are to then pick up speed in the last quarter and end the race by jogging slowly for an additional 15 minutes to help our bodies slow down. 

2. Super fast finish 

This type of progression run was especially made famous by marathoner Paul Tergat when training for the berlin marathon in 2003. 

We are required to maintain a steady pace but run at our highest speed in the

last 3-6 minutes. This run does not require a lengthy recovery period but significantly increases our sprinting ability. 

It is important to however note that we should be fast runners before trying to include this progression run in our training programs. 

3. Thirds 

This run is typically divided into three; the start, middle and end. We train ourselves to start the race slowly, gradually grow our speed to a steady but comfortable speed and run at a tempo pace on the last third. 

The tempo pace is usually in between a marathon race pace and a half marathon fast pace. The goal for this progression run is not for us to run faster at the final third. We are bound to suffer from excess fatigue which is not ideal for a workout if we do so. 

4. Multi-progression runs 

This run involves doing several short progressive runs within one training session. We should be able to split our total workout time or running distance into at least 4 runs inclusive of recovery windows in between. 

5. Negative split progression 

For long distance running, we should divide the races into halves and then determine your pace. the first half should be slow and steady but much quicker in the last half. 

The benefits of progression runs 

1. Minimize chances of injury 

Progressive runs help to increase our endurance and stamina against fatigue while offering equal benefits as a standard marathon run. We are able to ensure that we do not overwork our leg muscles. Placing too much stress on our leg muscles is the leading cause of injury for athletes. 

2. Improve overall fitness 

Progression runs provide the chance for us to work on our overall wellness as it improves both our aerobic system and physical fitness. We are able to improve our racing speed and lessen our recovery period. 

3. Increase mental fortitude 

Progression runs help us to nurture and maintain mental discipline for runners.

We have to build self-control to ensure that we do not start increasing our speed too soon because it may cause us to suffer from early fatigue. 

4. Build momentum and warm your muscles 

We push our muscles hard at the beginning of a race which causes stress on our muscles  and encourage build up of lactic acid which hinders growth of our aerobic fitness. Progressive runs start slow ensuring that we are able to improve our aerobic fitness. 

5. Improved strength training 

Progression runs help when we are trying to get back to running after suffering an injury. It achieves this by warming up the muscles and prepare the joints for more intense workouts It will also help us to realize if the injuries require more healing time. 

6. Increases flexibility 

Progressive runs have a positive impact on both our aerobic and physical fitness. It assists us to break monotony in our workout programs. 

7. Overcome fatigue 

The goal of progression runs is to help us to continue to run even when fatigued. Even elite athletes finish running with tired legs and it is important that we train ourselves to push through the fatigue. Progression runs help us to overcome this issue when running. 

Final thoughts

Including progression runs in your workouts will bring variety and fun into your program while improving your overall fitness. Progression runs teach us how to keep us running even when we feel fatigued. 

Progression runs vary. It is important that we have fun as we challenge ourselves the duration of the sessions. Progression runs improve our flexibility and help us to avoid injury when exercising. 

Progression runs like every other training requires us to start moderately and listen to our body. It ensures that you are able to handle fatigue levels that we may encounter in a race. If we follow this workout, we are guaranteed outstanding results on our next race. 

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