Progression Running

Workout – run. 6 miles. I’m going to go ahead and call this one a progression run, although I’m not entirely sure any of my runs can ever be put into a category, because I’m kind of a spastic all over the place with my pace kind of runner. which makes hitting certain paces difficult for me.  it wasn’t even really one full progression, more like two mini 3 mile progression runs. because as I mentioned, I have a pacing problem. not afraid to admit it.  I strapped on the garmin for this run and here’s how it went down per mile:
7:03, 6:56, 6:35 slow down a bit and start over 7:12, 6:49, 6:17

Heavenly. I was totally in my happy run place. A place I haven’t been since early march. I’ve been loving running, but have been feeling out of place with my pacing.  Those up there are the paces I LOVE. adore. can’t get enough of. The ones that get me injured and burnt out because I just want to run them all the time and not slow down.  I see that 6:45-7:05 on my watch and I just want to cruise. 7:30-45 is great on certain days, but it doesn’t feel like me.  this run brought me back to my running. and it was good.

What pace makes you feel like you are cruising, or floating on a cloud, or swimming in a pool of chocolate, or something like that?
The original run plan was to get 10 miles in this am, with about 7 of them revolving around running to and from the track and doing a little bit of speed work. Easy’ish speed work. Nothing crazy. In my perfect world, Luke was going to wake up at 5am, he did not disappoint.  I would then throw him in the stroller for 3 morning miles.  Then I would have a sitter for the day (hubby’s cousin that for some reason wanted to hang out with my kids all day) so that I could do my track run.  And then hit up a couple stores.  one that might look something like lululemon – so fun – and one that might look like the grocery store – necessary evil.  but I’m having a hard time coming up with delicious meals when the only ingredients I have are sunflower seeds and bagels. we need to restock.
Perfect world did not happen. I woke up to this. 
Lots of rain.  I definitely did not have my most shining moment of motherhood this morning engaging in a minor wardrobe battle getting my 5 year old ready for school, but I’m not such a terrible mom that I would take Luke in the rain for 3 miles. Although he probably would have loved it. 
And this is what happens to the hair with the rain..looks like it brings out the grease monster too.
And then, hubs cousin didn’t show up. that was a very unfortunate subtraction to my day.  being a stay at home mom, rarely going anywhere without at least 2 kids in tow, one of which is an unpredictable, man eating two year old, being told that you are going to have a few wonderful hours to yourself and then being told its not gonna happen is akin to taking Christmas away from a small child.  and then telling them santa isn’t real.  neither is the tooth fairy or the easter bunny.  cruel. 
I rallied. Pulled myself together and moved on to plan B as usual.  Lululemon out the window, along with the grocery store. Hubs knew I was in a precarious emotional state now, having my whole day turned upside down and my run plans looking grim and quickly offered to come home for me to get a quick run in.  what a stellar husband. and a quick and fabulous run it was.  
Where am I going with all this silliness?  I do not honestly know. But let me attempt to pull it together for you. 
1.  I had track work on the brain.  so when my run plans changed, I knew I wanted to inject some umph, some speed into whatever I ran.  I wasn’t sure how fast, but I did want the watch by my side to help me. I like help. All of my runs have been easy, and I want my legs to feel the quicker turnover every now and then. I want my body to feel a little push. push it did today. 
2.  Track wasn’t happening, but progression run sounded good, challenging enough and all around a fantastic option. 
3.  Progression runs require some sort of consistent pacing that gets progressively faster.  again, I do not know how to pace well.  When my first mile clocked in at 7:03 and I was feeling great, I knew I couldn’t do a 6 mile progression run where every mile got faster. So my mini progression runs came to be – in the form of two, 3 mile segments.  That worked for me. 
4. I was in a little funk from sending my 5 year old to school after a little ‘fight’ about what to wear. It has already begun. She was upset. I yelled. She yelled. I’m 30. She’s 5. I don’t want to have yelling matches with my 5 year old. Especially right before she goes to school. She was obviously having some sort of anxiety about what to wear and I didn’t help the situation. It’s my job as a mom to remain calm. I did not. Next time I will. I said a little prayer, told her I loved her and sent her off to school.  My mood often effects my run. It always starts a little rough if I’m pissy or upset.  And for some reason I want to bag the run when the situation isn’t perfect. I’ve learned to get over it, push through the pissy pants attitude and move on.  The run worked out.  It served a purpose. a purpose for my moodiness at the moment and a purpose in my confidence in getting back into the running groove. 
Every run has a purpose 

Every purpose has a run

Get out and run. find your happy pace.  find your pushing it pace.  find the purpose. 

This run’s purpose was a confidence building, I can run, this is my happy pace kind of purpose.
The purpose of this run was to go faster. accomplished.
Let’s end with a little education on progression running.  I think I am going to incorporate more of these kinds of runs into my daily training and race training.
I found this online and think it explains some great progression running
(read the whole thing HERE)
3 Types:
1. Fast – Finish run: 
Great for half and marathon training. They challenge you to run fast when you are tired. These can be easy or hard, depending on the duration of the slower first segment. An easy example would be 5 miles comfortably and 1 mile at 10k pace to finish.  This would allow you to still be fresh enough for another hard workout in that week. A harder fast finish run, great for half and marathon training, would be 13 miles comfortable followed by 3 miles at marathon pace. 

2. Threshold Progression:
Longer warmup followed by lactate threshold running for a few miles.  Lactate threshold would be the fastest pace you could hold for one hour in a race. This has a long warmup and virtually no cool down.  This challenges you to sustain a hard pace when you are already tired.  An example would be 5 comfortable miles followed by 4 at lactate threshold.  Also good for half and marathon training. 

3. Marathon pace progression:
The faster second segment is longer and slower than in the previous two methods. These are great to increase the challenge of long marathon training runs, instead of just running them all at moderate pace. This progression is also useful for any other race distance, just adjust your pacing accordingly. For 5 and 10k, these should happen earlier and then phased out in favor of even faster running as race approaches. For marathon, these are great 3-4 weeks before – example would be 2 miles moderate pace followed by 14 at marathon pace. 
Anyone can do this type of running. It gets you out of a comfortable, la dee da, running is fun and easy mode, into working towards getting faster and stronger. You have to push it, consistently, to see results.  This is one way to integrate some speed and some challenge into your running.  go pick up the pace and find some running greatness. 
What kind of run did you have today?
Do you do progression runs?
Does your mood effect your run?  In a good or bad way?
Do you get frizzy hair when it rains too?  unfortunate.

About msfitrunner

I am a 29 year old stay at home, hardworking mom to my three little loves! My oldest little darling is 5, little sis is 4 and baby brother is almost 2. I have been married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 7 years (ahhh!). My faith and my family is my rock, and I have a newfound LOVE for running. Maybe it's more of a necessity at this point - to maintain household peace and my own sanity, but whatever it is, it's working for me and I'm loving the racing. The vegan world has been calling my name, so I am testing out those waters as well! That's a tough one with three little picky eaters at home, but I am having fun coming up with new recipes and trying out new things. Follow along as I chronicle this crazy running life, and ALL the craziness that goes with it!

16 responses »

  1. I woke up this morning realizing I missed my alarm (or hit snooze?) 15 minutes ago, grabbed my running stuff, and headed to the bathroom only to find out it was raining. I threw my running stuff on the counter and headed back to bed, only to have the hubs literally push me out of bed saying “you know you want to run.” So I did. Then I remembered running in the rain really isn’t bad and I kind of like it. So that was my run today, just over a mile in the rain=happy! (I would have done more but didn’t have time) I get rainy frizzy hair too….even worse when you add running to the equation.

  2. I think I need to change my way of thinking. Marathon pace has always meant slower pace to me. If I am doing a short run then I will run fast. If I am doing a really long run then I slow down so I can make it without dying. If the run is over 10 miles then I don’t get competitive – I just try to survive. I would love to be super speedy like you someday. Its inspiring.

    • Well, marathon pace is slower than half marathon pace but should be faster than your easy run, it is kind of strange I guess. I think progression runs would be good to get you over the “10mile just survive” mentality – start comfortable, pick it up in the middle and you can cool down after if you want. It takes time, its a process, start testing out what works for you!:)

  3. I didn’t actually run today; I had cross and strength training instead- good fun. I usually do a lot of progression runs; they are awesome when I am not particularly motivated and and need a smack over the head.

  4. I had to force myself to not get up and go for a run this morning. I have picked up my mileage a lot over the last two weeks and my legs are screaming for a rest, but the rest of me wants the pleasure and enjoyment. I do speed intervals once a week, only do 8x400m at the moment, and have never tried progression runs, the sound of them scares me a bit. I worry that I will not be able to hang on to the faster paces, and then have to slow down and have to deal with the disappointment of failure. Did your mini progressions above end on the fastest pace you know you could maintain for 1 mile, or was it like an 80% pace for you? I did this workout this morning instead of my run, if you ever get bored with Jillian, give it a go, 10 rounds of 10 exercise = 1000reps, the nice thing is if you are pressed for time you just do 8 rounds(800) or 5 rounds(500):

  5. Last week I did my first night trail run. We are talking DARK. New headlamp on, we hit the trails but my mood was foul from a day filled with family stress and strife. I couldn’t shake it. My mind was solely on my day and my family and as hard as I tried to get focused and enjoy my time to myself, I couldn’t. And the darker it got and the more we had to stop to get our bearings and the louder the owls got, the pissier I got. Needless to say, the car was a welcome sight and I managed to hold it together. So yes, unfortunately my mood does effect my workout and while usually it helps me to shake my bad mood, this time it did not. I can say though, that after reading your post about your nightmare run in Naragansette (or some such place) in which you wanted to quit, I did feel that my night trail adventure/nightmare served a purpose. Not all runs or workouts are perfect and this one showed me that even though I hated it, I was so glad I pushed through because now I know that i CAN push through; leaving me with no more excuses. I am strong, both of body and mind, and I am slowly learning that. Thank you for posting about the bad runs. It truly does help.

  6. I had a great 7 mile tempo run. I’ve been reading your blog for a bit and wow, you are fast! Maybe some of that can rub off to me. I’ll keep reading with those hopes! I just started my own blog, would love for you to check it out if you get a chance.

    • Hi Beth!! Thanks for reading:) I will definitely head over to your blog. Tempo runs are great, and tough. I am going to be doing more of them too! Have a great night!:)

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