Friday, April 26, 2013

Another take on progression runs: the single effort

Although they've been around forever, progression workouts have become more popular over the past decade. There are any number of ways to do these. Author/coach Greg McMillen gives some good examples in this online article, and also describes a little on why you do them.

The other day I did my own version of a somewhat more intense version,of adapted from renowned coach Joe Vigil's book Road to the Top. Vigil describes these as "stepping stone" runs, to prepare an athlete from an aerobic phase in training to more race specific workouts. His recommendation (more for college age and elite runners) is a 10 mile run starting at 6:50 or 7:00/mile pace and then working down 15 or 20 seconds a mile until the runner is at 5K pace at the end. Ouch!
In the past I've done a more aerobic version of 10-12 miles working to threshold pace for the last 15 minutes or so, but I've tried the Vigil type once or twice. This time--due to my excuse of age and simply not being not much of a runner--rather than a mile at each level I went by kilometer. 2 easy, 2 steady/moderate, then 6K of ratcheting up the effort at each kilometer.

I also remembered to bring my heart rate monitor. It was about 30 degrees, some ice on the roads, starting in the Wood River neighborhood and then crossing under the highway bridge just south of U Park Elementary to where we run mile 1 and 2 of the Midnight Sun Run.

2K warm up, 8:18/mile (HR 171--I get these strange reading sometimes! It makes no sense but have seen others report this as well. Like maybe going into atrial fibrillation.)
2K, 7:12/ mile (HR 137) - felt easy but faster than normal warm up pace
1K, 6:34/mile (HR 143) - still relaxed
1K, 6:27/mile (HR 151) - seemed like I was working
1K, 6:21/mile (HR 153) - likewise, tempo effort
1K, 6:15/mile (HR 157) - not bad, feeling like tempo effort
1K, 6:02/mile (HR 161) - this was harder than I had anticipated/wondering how I'd pick it up
0.6 K, 5:50/mile (HR 164) - maxed out!
0.2 K, 6:50/mile (HR 155) - needed some recovey
0.4 K, 5:49/mile (HR 162) maxed out!

3.5K cool down 8:00/mile (HR 138)

I think the aerobic build up sort of sets you up for some screaming lungs in the later stages. I think I'd rather run 5X 1000 m on the track at race pace, or do a 5K.

Or maybe (highly likely) I'm just not very tough!


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