Progressions Runs: You NEED these in your toolbox!
Progression Runs: The Key to Getting Faster
If you're like most runners, at some point in your running life, you probably want to get faster. The good news is that there is a type of run that is specifically designed to help you get faster. It's called a progression run and I bloody love them!
So, what is a progression run?
It's simple: it's a run in which you start slower and then gradually pick up the pace as the run goes on.
For example, let's say you want to do a progression run of four miles. You would start by running the first mile at an easy pace, then pick up the pace for the second mile, and so on until you are running the fourth mile at your fastest pace. By the end of the run, you should be tired but not completely spent.
The reason progression runs are so effective is because they mimic what happens during a race (or at least what SHOULD happen during a race!). When you start a race, you don't want to go all-out from the gun; instead, you settle into a comfortable pace and then try to pick up the pace as the race goes on. This is exactly what happens during a progression run and they are designed to teach you to do exactly this during a race...start conservatively, build into it and finish strong!.
Of course, it's important to keep a few things in mind when doing progression runs.
First, make sure that you warm up properly before starting the main portion of the run. A good warm-up will help prevent injuries and will also help prepare your body for the workout ahead.
Second, be sure to listen to your body; if you're feeling tired or run down, it's okay to back off the pace or even call it quits early. Remember, progression runs should be tough but not impossible.
Cool down after you progression run
And finally, don't forget to cool down after the run; this will help your body recover and will also help prevent stiffness and soreness later on.
Here is one of my favourite structures to these runs:
Warm up jog for 10 mins
Then into marathon effort for 1km
Then build for the next 4-7km getting slightly faster each KM until you reach 5km effort
Cool down for 10 mins
If you're looking for a workout that will help you get faster, look no further than the progression run. By starting slow and gradually increasing the pace, progression runs mimic what happens during a race and can help your body adapt to running fast for extended periods of time. Just be sure to warm up properly beforehand and cool down afterwards, and always listen to your body—if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Other than that, happy running! Be sure to also check out our best marathon training plan by following the link.
Author: Nick Hancock is a UESCA Certified Ultrarunning coach and UK Athletics Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) and has coached many busy professionals and parents to achieve finishes, top-10s and podiums in events such as London Marathon, Manchester Marathon, Amsterdam Marathon, UTMB, UTS, Centurion events, Endure24, Backyards and many more. Host of the Maximum Mileage Running Podcast and author of the Ultimate Cookbook for Runners
He can be found on Instagram @runwithnick