Since I started running again after the half marathon I’ve been doing a lot of progression runs – where you start out slow and progressively build up to a faster pace.
When I was training for my first half I had positive splits on almost every single run (my first mile was the fastest and then I got progressively slower). My coach was constantly telling me to START SLOW so I could at least keep a consistent pace, but I just couldn’t seem to do it. It didn’t feel natural.
This training cycle I knew I really wanted to make progression runs a focus.
When I first started doing them a few weeks ago, I had to do them on the treadmill because my body just had no idea how to regulate the pace on its own.
Now that I’ve been doing treadmill progression runs at least one or two days a week for about three or four weeks I have noticed an improvement in my outdoor runs!
On Sunday I ran seven miles outdoors and I was incredibly surprised and excited that when I got home and looked at my Garmin I had naturally started slow and progressively gotten faster so that my last mile was my fastest mile.
This has NEVER happened for me before on any run over four miles and I’m pretty excited about it!
Sunday’s seven miles wasn’t my best run (I didn’t go out until after 10pm) but I did finish feeling strong. My legs felt good the whole time. I am sure a lot of this has to do with the progression run.
When you start out too fast you end up slowing down because your legs are like “WTF stop stop stop,” but when you start out slow they have time to ease into the run and build up momentum. This way you can avoid hitting the wall or building up too much lactic acid since both occur from going too fast.
I have been doing progression runs in addition to my one day a week speed workout and have not noticed any problems because only part of your progression run is a tough workout.
Greg McMillan says progression runs are great because they increase the volume of fast-paced miles without the added fatigue of full-length speed workouts.
I start out at a very easy pace and then progressively increase my pace by about 20-30 seconds each mile and this format seems to be working for me.
Here are a few different types of progression workouts from Runner’s World you can do or modify:
I’m excited about the small improvements I’ve already made this training cycle between running faster and also running more efficiently.
I know everyone says to not expect to PR at the Princess Half Marathon because it is so crowded and you have to dodge a lot of walkers – but I am feeling pretty good about my chances right now!
Do you do include progression runs in your training?
Do you try to hit negative splits on your long runs?
– I try not to look at my pace too much on long runs since my coach says to just go easy, but it is cool to hit negative splits without trying!