The Progressive Run

The Progressive Run – A tough but extremely effective workout.

A Progressive Run sounds just like what it means. The run gets progressively faster each mile. If you are having problems closing out a race or holding onto your pace in the later stages, I strongly recommend this workout.

Progressive Run

Use this run as an effective way to train for longer races like a 5k or a 10k. Below is an example how to execute this workout for 5k.

1. Get in a good warm up. This workout is tough, so be loose and ready to roll. The pace may start out slow, but it will pick up real quick.

2. Pick the distance of your run. I usually do a five mile run with the last mile at my race pace for a 5k. No matter what distance of a run you pick, make sure the last mile is at or faster than your goal race pace for the 5k or longer races such as the half marathon or marathon.

3. Start slower than your race pace, but run each mile either 15 to 30 seconds faster. My race pace in high school for a 5k was around 5:20. My workout would look like this. Mile 1 – 7:15. Mile 2 – 6:45. Mile 3 – 6:15. Mile 4 – 5:45. Mile 5 – 5:15. Adjust your progressive run to your race pace. You can adjust the distance of your run if this example is too long or too short, or you can adjust the time drop each mile to be more or less time for each mile.

4. Make it so your first and last mile is on the track. I run the first mile on the track. Then I go out and run a 3 mile loop where I know the mile markers. When I arrived back on the track, I can monitor each lap to see if I am hitting my splits.

5. Go for a cool down jog or walk. I hate to admit it, but sometimes on a cool down, I really don’t have anything left in the tank. I do what is called the old man shuffle. I bob my head up and down, but I probably could walk faster. Either way, a cool down walk/jog is necessary for the recovery process.

Here is an example of a longer progressive run if you are training for a 1/2 marathon or a marathon. To make things easy, let’s say you are shooting for running at 8 minute mile pace for your race. This roughly equals a goal time of 1:45 for the half marathon, or 3:30 for the marathon. That means, you want the end of your progressive run to be at this pace or even a little faster.

Total Mileage For this Long Progressive Run – 10 miles

Miles 1&2 – 10:00 per mile. Total Running Time – 20:00
Miles 3&4 – 9:30 per mile. Total Running Time – 39:00
Miles 5&6 – 9:00 per mile. Total Running Time – 57:00
Miles 7&8 – 8:30 per mile. Total Running Time – 1:14:00
Miles 1&2 – 8:00 per mile. Total Running Time – 1:30:00

The whole point of a progressive run is understanding how you will feel running at your race pace when you are tired. It’s real easy to hold onto your goal pace at the start of a run, but that isn’t what it’s really like out there during a race. The true “racing” doesn’t happen until you don’t feel great anymore. You need to prepare for the fatigue levels you will encounter. This is what this workout is all about.

There you have it. The Progressive Run is no joke. You really have to be mentally prepared to keep pushing the pace. If you can hang in there, your confidence will soar and I guarantee some great results towards the end of your next race.

– Written by David Tiefenthaler

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