Development runs as an alternative of tempo runs
As we continue the conversation about how to become stronger runners, many things can be considered. A progression run is very easy to explain. They start slowly and end quickly! While there are many ways to move through a progression run, the endgame is the same. They are working to get faster!
Are progression runs good?
Of course, progression runs are good for your running! While it may seem tempting to run at a constant pace, and sometimes it is okay to do so, you will need to challenge yourself differently in some runs. A progression run puts less stress on your body than a tempo run and helps you get the wheels moving without having to maintain the same sustained pace for long.
A progression run can also help you achieve this mental patience as a runner. Let me explain. You may be tempted to go out too fast in a racing atmosphere. This happens to the best of us. In a progression run where you want to set a specific pace for each part of the run, you need to sit back for the first part of the run.
In racing, you can find someone next to you who is on the rise. This is where this mental patience comes in. Sure, in a 5k race, you can benefit from running alongside someone else who challenges you to push harder for a faster time. However, in a longer race like a marathon, running out too early can be too devastating.
Another benefit is the ability to build stamina. Often times, a runner can run further in a progression run than in a tempo run. You can hold this simpler effort over a longer distance for an extended period of time.
Progression is running require less recovery time than some other endeavors. For example, track work can put a lot of strain on an athlete's body and would require a recovery run the next day. A progression run is not that strenuous.
Using a progression run over a longer distance (or period of time) has two very specific advantages. First, your body will take longer to warm up. This is helpful in injury prevention. The prolonged warm-up may mean that you run on tired legs as the run progresses. I'm not talking about "super tired," but any time on your feet (TOF) will help you grow as a stronger runner. This means that acceleration, also gradually over time, shows growth.
Types of progression runs
A popular type of progression run is called one-third. In this type of progression run, you simply split the run into three parts. The goal is to get faster and faster with every third of the run. According to McMillian Running, it should be divided into equal thirds.
If you've never done a progression run before, focus on something that doesn't seem too challenging for an initial effort. If you run for 60 minutes or more regularly, this might be a good place to start.
Your first 20 minutes should be very easy for you. Then, for the second 20 minutes, press the speed button just enough to increase the pace a little. This should by no means be quick, but you will start flirting when you feel the exertion. After all, you should be able to get a solid pace for yourself in the last 20 minutes.
Please note that you are not trying to run at a super fast pace for the last 20 minutes. This is just a solid effort of only being able to speak in fragments.
Another great way to try out progression running is to have an easy exertion day. If you want to run for 40 minutes, just run super easy the first half and accelerate the pace a little for the second half. By “just a little”, we mean just that. When you do this type of progression, you are really working on keeping your efforts constant for a period of time. These simple effort progress helps you learn the pace at different speeds.
The Start easy finish hard distance Progression running is perfect if you are marathon training. This type of run can be very challenging. You could have a 10 mile run on tap and run the first 8.5 miles at a half marathon pace. The last 1.5? They push it up to a 10K pace.
This will teach you to walk hard on tired legs and will really challenge you!
What is a Tempo Run?
Runners use tempo runs to learn to maintain a challenging pace during "training". At one pace, you typically surround the “meat” of the run, the challenging exertion, with a simple warm-up and cool-down. A 5 mile pace run can be a 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 10 km pace, and a 1 mile cool down.
Another way of pacing would be to divide a certain time and look at it that way. A 30-minute exertion can include 10 minutes of warm-up, 10 minutes of 5K exertion, and 10 minutes of cool-down.
The thing about a tempo run is that you can work at any pace you want to improve. If you're training for a fast half marathon, your pace miles will be at this pace.
The benefits of tempo running include improving speed, distance, or both. You learn to control when you find that pace, then select and hold one. You will also need to find your mental toughness if you stay at a pace that challenges you.
How do you progress step by step?
Figuring out how to gradually move on is actually pretty easy. You add a few miles to your longest distance every week! Depending on your general fitness, most exercise plans recommend adding a half to two miles to your longest run of the week.
If you train for your first 3 miles, you can only add half a mile to your longest run each week. Half marathon training will typically add a full mile to your cross-country skiing. During marathon training, you can add 2 miles to a long run.
In addition to working on increasing weekly long-term performance, you should also monitor your total weekly mileage. Most coaches recommend that you only increase your weekly mileage by around 10% per week.
The slow and easy approach to increasing mileage will keep you running healthy and happy! And is that not the point?