The Progressive Long Run

>> Tuesday, September 4, 2012

October issue of Runner's World was waiting for us in the mail this afternoon. Interestingly enough, there's a bit about key workouts to finish races faster. One of these methods? The Progressive Long Run, which just happens to be what I did for this weekend's 10-miler.

Sort of . . .

Actually, I completed this type of workout by mistake. As I've written in the past, I don't normally run with a watch, but in order to meet my PR goal, I have been taking Stephen's Garmin along, just not looking at it. I set out to run the first part of the run very easy and then get faster as time went on by perceived effort.

Progressive Long Runs are much the same:

  • Run first quarter of total distance easy. Your goal pace plus 45 to 60 seconds. 
  • For each successive quarter, run goal pace plus 30 seconds, then 15 seconds. 
  • Gun the final mile close to race pace.
My goal is 1:45 for the Runner's World Half Marathon. Here's how that works out for pace:

My run is an example of a more conservative approach. (Surprise, surprise!) But since it was similar, I may just try to do it again -- with more attention to the specific paces -- sometime soon. If you'd like to be more aggressive, try Stephen's method.

Here's his latest long run:

Stephen notes that you likely won't want to try this approach every week. Just a few times a training cycle. In this run, with each mile, he made a conscious effort to increase his pace. His last mile before his cool down is just below goal half marathon pace (5:34/mile or a 1:13:10 finish).

Even if you don't run sub-6 minute miles on long runs, you can still benefit from this type of training. And if you're like me and don't love running with a watch, do it all by perceived effort. You might not be exactly on pace, but you'll still gain overall fitness and perhaps even get a PR out of the deal.

What workouts do you incorporate into training to help meet your goals?

I used to run lots of races as my speedwork because I have always been horrible at keeping disciplined to do it on my own. Now that we're on a stricter budget, I can't just spend money all the time. So, it's been hard, but I've been chipping away at workouts like these and I think I'm actually improving. Not only for this particular race, but as a runner in general.

And today on Writing Chapter Three you can see how Ada and I fared on our own now that Stephen is back at work for the school year.

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