Of all the long-distance workouts progression runs can be one of the most irksome. From my personal expereince I start out slow, work to gradually speed up but by the time I get half-way I’m slower than I was at the beginning, thus defeating the purpose of the workout.
Progression runs are meant to test race endurance as well as help runners improve their speed “gears”. Speed “gears” refers to a runner’s ability to speed up or slow down throughout the course of the race. Being able to “shift” your speed gears determines a race, especially on hilly and/or long courses.
The solution is to decrease the duration of the run and try the workout on a treadmill where speed can be monitered better.
30 Minute Progression
5 min at 6.5 mph
5 min of gradually increasing min by min to 7 mph
10 min of working up to 8 mph
5 min at 8 mph
5 min working up to 8.5 mph or 9 mph
This is just a simple example of how a progression run should look, the idea is to adjust it to your current speeds. The longer part of the run should be gearing from your casual training pace to your race pace and then finally your goal race pace. Treadmills are great for this purpose because you will be consistent.
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After Aerobic runs add cool-down sprints to part of your post-run recovery. Sprints are helpful for conditioning yourself for race finishes, increase endurance, and shorten recovery times which is beneficial between interval or repeat sets.
"Six sessions of 30 second, all-out sprints over a two week period resulted in a doubling of endurance time to exhaustion and an impressive increase in muscle oxidative potential."