Friday, December 14, 2007

Progression Run

A good way to build strength and endurance without any lasting fatigue is the progression run. Progression runs basically start out at a slow, easy pace, and finish at a relatively fast pace.

There are a few ways you can do a progression run. For example purposes, a 16:30 5k runner will be used. A 16:30 5k runner races at 5:20 per mile pace. Therefore, their steady state runs should be around 6:35 to 7:20 pace. Seeing that you want to start your run slow and easy, 7:40 pace is a good place to start. Using the 10 seconds progression run, your workout should look like this:

Mile 1 - 7:40
Mile 2 - 7:30
Mile 3 - 7:20
Mile 4 - 7:10
Mile 5 - 7:00
Mile 6 - 6:50
Mile 7 - 6:40
Mile 8 - 6:30

You can also break your run into a four part progression:

Mile 1 - 2 - 7:35
Mile 3 - 4 - 7:15
Mile 5 - 6 - 6:55
Mile 7 - 8 - 6:35

A third way you can do your progression run is with a fast finish.

Miles 1 - 7 - 7:20 pace
Mile 8 - 6:30 pace

Notice that each of these progressions do not go below the fast end of the steady state pace. You do not want to go into an anaerobic state during a progression run. Progression runs can be for any distance and the paces can be varied to your liking. These are just examples. The ideal way to do a progression run is by feel. That is, going out slow, without a watch, and gradually building your pace until you are running fast, but controlled.

Progression is also a racing style that is effective for many runners. Some runners have the patience and discipline to go out slower in their races and pick up the pace as they go. Using the 16:30 5k example, most high school runners will race like this;

Mile 1 - 5:00
Mile 2 - 5:25
Mile 3 - 5:35

A progression racer will look like this;

Mile 1 - 5:30
Mile 2 - 5:20
Mile 3 - 5:10

Going out that much slower is hard at the beginning of a race because you are that much further behind everyone. The advantage is that while you are picking up the pace, your competition is slowing down. Who do you think will have the better kick at the end?

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