Greg McMillan, M.S. | McMillianRunning.com
In a progression run, you begin running at a slow, easy pace but finish at a fast pace. Not only will you find progression runs to be fun, but they are a great way to boost your fitness without any lasting fatigue. And, the benefits are the same no matter if you’re a 2:15 or a 4:15 marathoner.
Three Types of Progression Runs
While the idea of the progression run is simple – start slower, finish faster, I recommend that you begin with structured progression runs until you learn how to properly gauge your effort throughout the run. Below are the three structured progression runs that I have used successfully.
The first type of progression run is called Thirds. As the name implies, you break your run into three equal parts or thirds. For the first third, you run at a relatively slow, comfortable pace. As you progress to the second third of the run, your pace will have gradually increased to your normal steady running pace. Over the last third of the run, you increase your speed so that you’re running a strong, comfortably hard pace. For many competitive runners this effort corresponds to somewhere around marathon race pace to as fast as half-marathon race pace and a heart rate between 80 and 90% of maximum. This strong running significantly improves your Stamina which raises the pace you can run before you begin to rapidly accumulate lactic acid.
For your first thirds progression run, choose a 45-minute easy run. Run the first 15 minutes slowly, the second 15 minutes at your normal pace and finish the last 15 minutes at a strong pace. While I break the run into thirds, your pace doesn’t radically change after each third. Instead, it is a gradual but steady increase across the run. After getting your feet wet with this first thirds run, you can adapt the concept to any duration/distance.
It’s important to note that the pace of the final third is NOT all-out running. An appropriate pace for the last third is approximately your marathon race pace.* Could you run faster at the end? Of course! But that’s not the goal of this particular progression run. In fact, if you run too hard in the last third, the workout becomes more like a Tempo Run which causes too much fatigue for the purposes of a progression run.
It’s likely that on some of your runs, you already do a thirds progression run without even trying. When you are fully recovered from previous workouts, the body seems to just naturally progress to a faster pace as the run goes along. And please note that I suggest you do this on an ‘easy run’ day not a ‘recovery run’ day.** For all but a select few elite athletes, progression runs should not be used on days when you are recovering from a previous workout or race.
Lastly, I find a thirds progression run to be an especially beneficial workout for experienced marathon runners – runners who can handle an additional up tempo day in addition to their other key workouts and long run. The most important caveat, however, is that you must not push too hard in the last third. Strive for a medium-hard pace (around your marathon race pace) not a Tempo Run.
Read about two more types of progression runs.
By Patrick McCrann | Active.com
As solo an endeavor as running can be, there’s no doubt that having a companion to share your miles can help breathe the life back into your training. From sharing a few laughs to pushing your limits, the right running partner will help you grow as a runner.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are five great running workouts that you can do with your running partner of choice. Run them as fast or as slowly as you want; you’ve already won simply by having someone to share the experience with
But before we begin…
Quick Running Partner Advice
Running with someone else is just that; a run. Don’t feel pressure to do anything but run. It’s helpful to set some expectations around average pace and distance for that specific workout. Otherwise
don’t place too many constraints around the session as it can really take the fun out of the workout. And don’t forget that you can have as many different running friends as you like; you could have speedy partner, one for recovery days, and even one for your longer runs. The sky is the limit.
Top Partner Run Workouts
#1 — Triple Fast Slow
A variation on a fartlek (aka speed play) run, in this session runners take turns implementing three speed surges at the pace and duration of their choice, recovering as much as needed. After these three repeats, the other runner has the chance to take the lead.
Tip: Start with one set each and build up to three as your fitness improves.
#2 — Adventure Run
A personal favorite, this run involves one runner plotting out a brand new route and then acting as the tour guide leading the other(s). Use an online mapping tool and a GPS device to avoid getting utterly lost; but note that even diverting just a few blocks off your normal route can be sufficiently different.
Tip: This is a perfect substitute for a regularly scheduled long run, especially when your training is becoming monotonous.
Read about more partner workouts.
Most masters runners have race buddies — those friends we see a few hours several times a year, whom we only know in running shorts or sweats, whose jobs we can’t describe and whose homes we’ve never visited.
Last spring, following a 3,000m race at Cerritos College in Southern California, I had breakfast at Peris Restaurant with four race buddies, all age-group American record-holders: Ken Ernst, Brian Pilcher, Nolan Shaheed and Rich Burns.
“You know what I hate?” I say, as we study the menus. “I hate when I eat a light lunch at work, and everybody says, ‘But you’re so thin, you can eat anything!’ No, I can’t. I’m thin because I diet and because I run 90 miles a week!”
“I eat like 2,000, 2,500 calories a day,” says Brian. “My wife says I’m like a high school girl because I’m always watching what I eat.”
“I definitely have a sweet tooth,” says Ken. “I’ll eat M&Ms, ice cream.”
“My wife bought us each a half gallon of vanilla ice cream,” says Rich. “Hers will last three or four days. Mine was gone in two meals.”
“I eat chicken or fish, any white meat,” says Nolan, who eats once daily and has tea for breakfast. “I eat vegetables, fruit and grains. And beans and oatmeal. I love oatmeal!”
While the rest of us order, Nolan asks Ken–who recently set the M50–54 5,000m record–what he ran in high school. Ken says 9:02 for 2 miles, which is the fastest high school PR at the table. Turns out, Nolan never ran the distance.
“Back then, there weren’t too many black guys running the 2-mile,” says Nolan. “Coaches didn’t think black guys could do anything past a quarter, maybe an 880 now and then.”
“Who’d like to see Jeremy Wariner move up to the 800?” says Ken.
“He was the top 400 meter runner in the world!” I say. “Why should he move up? Nobody asks that about other 400 runners.”
“Because he’s white,” says Nolan, suggesting it’s racial profiling.
I tell the story of doing mile repeats with James Sanford, then the world’s top sprinter, when we ran for USC in 1980. Sanford thought sprinters’ workouts were too easy, so he joined us distance guys for the day. Sanford told us the fastest guy he’d ever seen was a tall, red-haired, white kid who quit running in high school. Nolan says he remembers the kid, but it’s soon obvious we’re talking about different people. Anyway, Sanford ran 5 minutes for the first rep, then collapsed to the Exposition Park grass, exhausted.
“I do all my running on the track,” says Nolan, while the rest of us stuff our faces. “When I was injured, I couldn’t run faster than 7-minute pace. And then I raced, and I ran just as well. I found out I don’t have to run faster than 7-minute pace.”
“On morning runs, I go about 9-minute pace,” I say. “Afternoons, about 7:30 pace. When I go fast, I go fast. But I don’t go fast on distance runs.”
“On a good day, I run 8:30 pace,” says Rich. “Otherwise, maybe 8:45 to 9:00 pace.”
Read the rest of the story.
By Runner’s World editors – Runner’s World | Active.com
Mark Covert doesn’t have to think about his run today. It’s a given; he’s going to do it. After running for 12,480 days in a row (through September 30, 2002), Covert isn’t about to miss today. Or tomorrow. Or the day after.
You, however, probably need a plan for today’s workout. Without a plan, it’s just too easy to skip a run. You’ve got pressures in the office, errands to do, classes to take, things to deal with at home.
And more. Always more. Which makes it tough to put together a consistent training program.
Yet consistency is the most essential piece of every training program. It’s the one thing—perhaps the only one—that every coach, physiologist, and medical expert agrees on.
Without consistency, you aren’t going anywhere. You’re not going to get faster. You’re not going to run farther. You’re not going to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, finish that marathon, or achieve your other running goals.
With a consistent training program, on the other hand, the sky’s the limit. You’ll feel better and run better every day. So let’s get with it. Here are 27 ways to add more consistency to your running.
1. Run with others. To make sure you do a workout, there’s nothing like the social pressure of knowing someone else (or a group) is waiting for you. Bonus: It’s often more fun than running alone, especially if you’re doing a long run, or a speed workout on the track.
2. Try something new. The fitness world is full of new and fun-filled events, and they don’t all require a 3-week trip to Borneo and a survivor diet of grubs and lizards. Don’t let yourself get bored with an endless string of 5K and 10K races. Cary Stephens, an attorney in Corvallis, Oreg., found himself drawn to “scrambles,” an off-road running adventure. (To learn more, visit www.bigredlizard.com.)
3. Run like a tortoise. We can’t lie to you. This isn’t a sport of instant success and miracle shortcuts. Patience pays off, often in a very big way. At the beginning of a marathon training program, many participants can’t imagine themselves running more than 5 miles. Twelve to 16 weeks later, voilà: the cheering crowd and unbelievable exhilaration of reaching a marathon finish line. Stick with the program. Repeat: Stick with the program. Prepare to be amazed.
4. Take a break. To every thing, there is a season. You don’t have to run every day, every week, or even every month. Many top runners visualize their training year as a mountain range. It has peaks and valleys—recovery periods when they let their running taper off, so that they can build all the higher in their next training period. For healthy, consistent training, your body needs regular—that is, weekly, seasonal, and annual—recovery periods.
5. Eat a healthy breakfast. We can’t emphasize this one enough. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it fuels you for the entire day. To skip breakfast or eat a skimpy one is like failing to rehydrate and refuel after a marathon. You wouldn’t do that, would you? Well, your night’s sleep is like a marathon to your body, because you don’t get any fuel while you’re sleeping. So carbo-load at breakfast. And add a little protein.
Get the rest of the 27 tips.
Yesterday was the American men’s media day at the 2013 NYC Half Marathon as American stars Bernard Lagat, Abdi Abdirahman, and Dathan Ritzenhein all addressed the media.
LRC sat down with Bernard, Abdi and Dathan and you can see 8-12 minute videos with each of them (click on the links above).
In the course of talking to Bernard, Abdi and Dathan we realized that in talking about their own training they had a lot of training tips that apply universally to running. So without further ado here at the top 10 training tips from Bernard Lagat, Abdi Abdirahman, and Dathan Ritzenhein as determined by LRC.
Top Ten Training Tips from Bernard Lagat, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Abdi Abdirahaman
1) Staying Healthy is Your #1 Objective – Ritz, Lagat, and Abdi
Abdi, Bernard, and Dathan have all had tremendous success and gone about it very differently. One thing is common for all of them, the importance of staying healthy. They have had varying degrees of success at staying healthy and how they go about it. Lagat is notorious for not running a lot of miles. What has it done for him? Made him have an unbelievably long career. Abdi Abdirahman has run a ton of 120 mile weeks, but said he is constantly on the “red-line” of staying healthy and getting injured. And Dathan Ritzenhein has been injury plagued throughout his career. He now realizes it would be better to do too little than too much. He said, “For me, just getting to the line healthy is important.” Running is really about how much you can train while staying healthy.
2) A Good Base is Essential: ”You benefit from getting in enough volume at the beginning of your training” – Bernard Lagat
Much has been made of Bernard Lagat making his half-marathon debut despite never even having run a 10k on the roads or the track. Lagat wants to run under 61 minutes on Sunday. Throughout his career, Bernard has been known for running lower mileage, but that does not mean he doesn’t appreciate the importance of a base. He said, “You benefit from getting in enough volume at the beginning of your training.” Lagat’s ultimate goal for 2013 is not Sunday’s half-marathon, but the World Championship 5,000m final in Moscow in August (see point #3), and the half-marathon is part of him trying to get a bigger base this year.
3) Don’t Forget the Big Goal – Bernard Lagat
Lagat’s goal for the season is to win the World Championship at 5,000m over Mo Farah and Galen Rupp. So no matter how he does on Sunday, he’s not going to forget the bigger picture, that his training is going well for his longer term goal. He said, “Whether I do well or not here, I feel like I’ve done good training and that is the training I have needed.”
4) Check Your Pride at the Door: “The workouts aren’t the competition.” – Abdi Abdirahman and ”Know when you’re getting your butt kicked it’s ok.”-Ritz
Dathan Ritzenhein trains with two of the greatest long-distance track runners in the world, Galen Rupp and Mo Farah. What do they do? Drill him on the track a lot. Dathan said he knows he has to check his pride at the door when they do a track workout. He said part of his mindset is: “Know when you’re getting your butt kicked it’s ok.”
Similarly, Abdi Abdirahman works out with Bernard Lagat and former NCAA champ Stephen Sambu. Abdi was asked who beats who in practice and Abdi said that was not what it was about. He said, “the workouts aren’t the competition…You run your own workout. If you’re not feeling good and someone is feeling really good and you can’t stay with them, you don’t have to feel bad.” Conversely on his good days Abdi is not afraid to “go for it” and drop whoever he is working out with. Winning the workout is not the objective. Abdi said the objective is finding the “good pace, (the) good rhythm.”
Abdi noted sometimes he’ll workout with Bernard Lagat and Lagat will do 5x mile while Abdi does 7x mile. The point being Lagat is fine doing less than Abdi. Are you fine doing less than your workout partner?
Read the next five training tips.
By Matt Fitzgerald | Active.com
The duel between triathlon legends Dave Scott and Mark Allen at the 1989 Ironman World Championship is remembered as one of the greatest races in the history of endurance sports. In that race the longtime rivals swam, biked, and ran neck and neck for eight full hours until, with 1.7 miles left in the 140.6-mile competition, Allen broke away from Scott on the last hill to claim his first Ironman victory after six failures and five losses to Scott.
The battle caused so much excitement as it unfolded that a caravan of trucks, cars, motorcycles, mopeds, and bikes that was almost a quarter-mile in length formed behind Scott and Allen as the rivals scorched the marathon side by side. Among those in the caravan was Bob Babbitt, the 38-year-old publisher of Competitor magazine, who dubbed the epic battle “Iron War” in the next issue of his publication. The name stuck.
What Dave Scott and Mark Allen achieved on that magical day would have been considered impossible by most people. They broke Dave Scott’s 1986 course record by nearly 20 minutes. Third-place finisher Greg Welch was three miles from the finish line when Allen crossed it. And Allen and Scott’s marathon times of 2:40:04 and 2:41:02 still stand as the two fastest run splits in the history of the race. (What’s more, run splits included bike-run transition times in those days before chip timing. Allen and Scott’s actual marathon times not including their transitions were closer to 2:38:49 and 2:39:47, respectively.)
I’ve had a personal fascination with Iron War ever since it happened. Last year I decided to indulge that fascination by writing a book about it. Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen & The Greatest Race Ever Run has just been released by VeloPress. My goal was not just to write the definitive account of the race in its broader context of Scott and Allen’s amazing rivalry and incredible careers, but to explore how they were able to achieve the impossible together on October 14, 1989.
Some of the answers I uncovered in this journey may serve as valuable lessons to other triathletes seeking their own breakthroughs. One of these lessons centers on what might be called the competition effect. When I interviewed Dave Scott for the book I asked him how much slower he thought he would have gone in the race if Mark Allen had not been there to push him. He said maybe 10 seconds. I love the spirit behind that answer, but I don’t believe it!
Check out the rest of the article.
By Nathan Koch, P.T., A.T.C. | www.swimbikerun.com
Cycling is an extremely repetitive sport that involves long duration and high-intensity training—which can ultimately lead to injury. Much like changing your car’s oil allows it to perform better and last longer, these five injury prevention techniques can help you perform at a higher level and reduce your risk of overuse.
1. Pre-workout: Perform dynamic stretches for 5–10 minutes, such as leg crossovers and scorpions to open up the hips and spine. They will help reduce joint and muscle stiffness prior to hopping on the bike.
2. During the workout: Keep your cadence at 90 rpm or greater to reduce stress on the knee, specifically the patellofemoral joint (kneecap area). High-intensity training at lower rpm may have rewards but also comes with greater injury risk.
3. Post-workout: Use the foam roller to reduce muscle soreness and tightness. Focus on the iliotibial band, quadriceps and piriformis (a deep gluteal muscle).
Read two more cycling injury prevention tips.
By Jason Fitzgerald | Active.com
Are you stuck in a rut? Many runners often find themselves doing the same workouts over and over again—and it’s the wrong way to see progress!
If you’re doing the same distances in the same shoes on the same tired loops for the same race goals, then your training is boring. It’s time to spice it up and add more variety to your running.
Most runners can introduce more variety into their running by training for a new race distance, running more on trails, or simply trying a few new types of workouts.
Variation is crucial in your training plan. Every week should have at least four different paces and many types of strength workouts to help you stay healthy.
More importantly, in the long term, runners should focus on different types of races. Have you ever met the two-marathons-per-year runner who only does marathons and has just one speed (slow)?
Unfortunately, these runners rarely see improvement, and always seem to be in a rut with constant injuries. Training variety is a crucial way to help reduce injuries.
But having a varied training plan doesn’t mean that you run random distances, paces and workouts. Every plan needs to follow a logical progression, and your workouts should be similar from week to week.
The real variety is in the details:
- Rotate two or more pairs of running shoes
- Alter your paces in subsequent workouts (if you ran even splits last week, try negative splits this week)
- Run on trails, avoid the track, and tackle more hills
These changes will help you stay motivated and prevent the boredom that results from doing the same routine over and over again.
Once you make running a habit, these small variations will improve your ability to stick with your training and help prevent injuries.
Check out the a few more motivating ideas.
By Jay Johnson | Active.com
If you run half marathon race pace and marathon race pace during preparation for a 26.2-mile race, maintaining marathon pace should feel manageable come race day.
Half marathon pace training has a place in intelligent, proper marathon training. I like to assign half marathon race pace for certain workouts because a properly trained runner’s half-marathon personal record correlates with his or her marathon PR.
Half-marathon pace is a great way to get an intense aerobic stimulus. When completing a run at this pace, your biomechanics are forced to change in a subtle way—your knees lift slightly higher at half-marathon pace, compared to marathon pace.
What Is Proper Marathon Training?
Proper marathon training should include a progression of long runs that gets you to at least one, if not more, “long-long” runs, where you go over 20 miles. This means you’ll log several long runs between 14 and 20 miles before race day.
You should also be able to run solid Yasso 800-meter workouts: Run 800-meter repeats on a track in the same minutes and seconds as your marathon goal time in hours and minutes. So, if you hope to finish the marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes, you should complete the 800s in 3 minutes and 30 seconds. The recovery is simple as well: Run a 400m recovery jog in the same amount of time that you ran your 800m; so in this example, you should run a 400m recovery in 3 minutes and 30 seconds. This workout is wonderful not only for its simplicity, but also for its ability to predict marathon finish time.
In between these workouts, you should be able do some other high-level aerobic running. Examples include faster running done at 10K race pace or half-marathon race pace, or simply running marathon pace with a focus on relaxation.
Once you’ve got these bases covered, mix it up by training at two different paces: half-marathon pace and marathon pace.
- Workout 1: Combine Half Marathon and Marathon Race Pace
- Workout 2: Run at Marathon Pace Close to Race Day
Check out the details for these two marathon workouts.
By Katie Wehner | Examiner.com
The coldest days of winter are upon us. It’s dark, it’s freezing, sometimes it snows, and it’s no wonder anyone could have difficulty getting outside for a run. Here are some tips to keep going until spring comes to relieve us in a few months:
Wear layers. I can’t say it enough. There’s nothing more miserable than being cold for your entire run. Bring gloves and a hat or headband because you lose a lot of heat through your head and hands. And several thinner layers will trap heat better than one big thick layer. This also provides you with the flexibility to adjust your body temperature just in case you get warm in the middle of your run. Make sure your bottom layer will wick away the sweat because if it’s just cotton, then when you start to sweat underneath all those layers, you’re going to get cold.
Wear bright clothing or a reflective vest, and carry a flashlight or headlamp if you’re running in the dark. It’s not the coolest thing in the world to be wearing an orange reflective vest, but safety is so important. You want to make sure you’re visible to cars because on a dark, slippery road, accidents happen, and the last thing you want is to end up in a cast or in bed for several months.
What happens if you’re sick? The general rule of thumb is that if your symptoms are above the chest (i.e. runny nose, sore throat, etc.), you’re safe to run, but if your symptoms are below the chest (i.e. nausea, vomiting), you should play it safe and rest. If you’re not sure, it may be better to rest and take fluids and see if you feel better tomorrow. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
Drink plenty of fluids. You probably won’t sweat too much when you’re out running since it’s so cold outside, but you’re still getting dehydrated. It’s common to under-hydrate during the cold winter months because we just don’t feel like drinking water when we’re cold in the same way we do when we’re hot and thirsty. But your body still needs it, so make sure that you still take in plenty of water when you’re done running to facilitate recovery.
Check out a few more winter running tips.