Progression Runs.

In case you haven’t figured it out already, I love schedules and planning. The past couple months I have had a training plan for my half marathon and that meant every day I knew what my workout was going to be and I never had to think about it. I really liked not having to decide what length of run I was going to do or what days I would cross train but it also came with disadvantages. I am a perfectionist and when the schedule said “9 miles” I was going to be doing 9 miles no matter what. Even if my quads were sore from a tough spin class or if my calves were still tight from my last run – what was on the training schedule was what I was doing. Now that I am not training to race I have no workout schedule and have just been running and exercising based on how my body feels and I have to say I kind of like it right now. I can go for a long run when I want to and then take it easy or train arms or something the next day. Deciding my workout the day of is about as spontaneous as I get… I know, pretty crazy up in here. Without a training schedule I can also decide when I want to push myself on my runs and do some more intense running and running drills. 

Yesterday and today I stepped up my running game with progression runs. Not as fun as they sound but totally worth it. Progression running means that each mile is faster than the last. Essentially you just keep running faster and faster as you go. Not easy but I definitely think they will make me a better runner. 

I did yesterday’s progression run on my favourite five mile route out in the country. It is tricky to do timed running while on the roads because you have to constantly monitor your pace to make your targets, unlike treadmill running where you can set your exact pace and not have to worry about it. My mile splits were 8:17, 8:11, 8:05, 8:04, and 7:50. Yikes, I really cut it close on mile four. 

Even though it was a shorter run, the fact that I was pushing myself to maintain negative splits made it feel like a more intense workout than it would have been if I were to just run an easy pace for five miles. Today I did my progression run at the gym on the treadmill, in my Runsie of course, and did something I hardly ever do… I set the treadmill to run for a set time and not a set amount of miles. See, I told you I was spontaneous. 

I did 60 minutes on the treadmill and increased my speed by 0.1 mph every 5 minutes. I started at 6.7 mph (9:00 min/mile) and ended at 7.8 mph (7:41 min/mile). By the end it gets really hard to push yourself to run faster and the last twelve minutes were tough but I stuck it out and killed it. I think I ran about 7.25 miles in the 60 minutes which makes my average pace 8:17 min/mile. It was a lot easier to control my pace on the treadmill that’s for sure!

While I was at the gym I did arm strength training after my run. There were many boys there. You know the guy who puts 500 lbs on the leg press and then does three reps and yells really loud after every rep… please don’t be that guy. Yes, we know it’s heavy dude. At this point I turned up my music and put my new favourite weight lifting song on repeat.

Out Here Grindin’ by DJ Khaled. It makes me feel tough… even when I grab the 8 lb dumbbells. 

When I got home I made sure to rehydrate and drink tons of water. Pink lemonade tastes much better than plain water – thank you Dasani drops! I usually like to have Mio Sport in my water to help replace some of my electrolytes but I have to say that this pink lemonade nonsense is delicious. 

I definitely enjoy just running for the fun of it and going at relatively the same pace for my miles but every once and a while it’s good to switch it up, push myself, and do different kinds of runs. I know it will make me a better runner in the long run. Also, when you do different training runs you can brag about them and use fancy running words like “negative splits”, “progression running”, “tempo intervals” and “hill repeats” and people will think you are a cool running expert. I still don’t know what a fartlek is. I’ll get on that… wikipedia, here I come.