Progression runs: new runners and low mileage runners need training runs, too!

Hey Everybody! I had a great 3 mile PROGRESSion run on Monday. During my warm-up walk, I was really thinking about why I decided to do a progression run. It seems like something you do more when you are training for a race and I am too far out from races right now to be training for something in particular. Then I realized, over the past year I always categorize my runs as a “tempo” run, “easy” run, “hill” run, “speed work”. I usually have a plan now. I used to just hit the gym with the idea of doing some kind of cardio for 20-30 minutes and then be done. Believe me, I still have some days like that and the important thing is that I am out and getting exercise. Ever since I got more focused on seeing my own personal progression with speed, distance and endurance; I run with more purpose.

For anyone who has been reading my story for a little while, you know I am NOT a high mileage runner and so I adjust my progression runs, or tempo runs, or speed work to match the mileage I do run. Right now, I have been hovering around 3.5-4.5 miles of running at a time. Monday sounded like a good day to get in a progression run which is very simply running each mile faster than the last. First, I started with some strength training and ab work ( I neglected both last week…oops) and then my run looked like this:

5 minute walking warm-up

1/4 mile running warm-up 5.7-5.9 mph

1 mile 6.1 mph

1 mile 6.4 mph

1/2 mile 6.7 mph

1/2 mile 7.0 mph

1/4 running cool-down 6.0-5.7 mph

1/4 mile walking cool-down

For many runners, a progression run would have been a lot more miles, but it is so easy to adjust specific types of runs to the mileage you run. So, even if you are running 1-2 miles at a time, you can still do progression runs. It really is just about having a plan to run a little faster and you can break it down into 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile increments. I comfortably run 4.5 miles now so a 3 mile progression run felt right and I know it is helping my body get really comfortable with picking up a little more speed as the miles add up.

It can be intimidating or overwhelming for new runners or low mileage runners (like me) to read about different types of training runs because so many articles reference 1/2 marathon or full marathon training — way too many miles for me! The first time I read about tempo runs (running at a comfortably hard pace), it talked about doing 2 miles of warm-up, 3-4 miles tempo pace, and 1-2 miles cool-down. WHAT?! I didn’t do a tempo run for at least a year after reading that article because I thought that type of run was designed for real runners. I have since learned to adjust and create my own abbreviated version of training runs. Don’t let the idea that you have to be a marathoner stand in the way of your own progress. It feels really good to run with a plan and to change things up. I have seen a world of difference in my running since I started incorporating a variety of runs.

After my run on Monday, I headed to Si-Guy’s school for “Reading buddies”. I go to his class once a week and the kids have a turn to read to me. Such a great way to incorporate extra reading time and they get a different audience.


Can you tell I like purple? Anyone else used to watch Breaking Bad? I feel like the crazy sister that had purple everything!

On Tuesday, there was a lot of talk of another big snow storm hitting our area so I took advantage of the nice temps and sunny weather. Dexter got a 1 mile walk and I did a quick 2 miles in the neighborhood.


And then Wednesday happened:


The kids got another snow day and we had over a foot of snow!

Have a great day!

Anyone else feel intimidated by trying progression runs or tempo runs?

How do you change up your running to see progress and gains?



Add Yours
    • reservedforrunning

      Progression runs sound so basic, but I know what you mean…. so easy to go out fast and lose speed. When I say “progression run” at the start of my run then I know I will be more mindful of pacing. It feels really good to see negative splits…even for just a few miles!


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