This week Tempo Tuesday is about moderate progression runs. I have been using these more this cycle but historically I haven't done a ton of these. I tend to like to hammer my progression runs but that said these sessions are a awesome way to build great relaxation at a quick pace and great aerobic strength.
These are not a killer session, it is right in the name, moderate. You might even do this session the day before or after a harder track session if you are a very quick recover and have a long history of heavy training.
I think for most people however it is a great stand alone workout. I see a lot of folks who go hard once or twice a week because they are trying to build their miles and they can't go more than that. This is fine but why just do all regular pace runs? If you do and run 10 times a week with 2 hard efforts that means 80% of your runs are the same. That simply doesn't bode well for a well balanced training cycle. Instead mix in some moderate efforts that don't take much more out of you than a regular training run but do target systems a bit differently. The two big things I would suggest are a session for speed, i.e. diagonals, 100's session or short hill reps and second a session for aerobic endurance.
The moderate progression is a perfect run for aerobic endurance. Basically this should be a run that is as long or slightly longer than your normal training run, should start at about the fast end of your normal training pace and should progress steadily over the run to about 20 to 30 seconds per mile faster than you started. For me this means a 10 to 15 mile run starting at 5:50 to 6:00 per mile. I generally average 6:00 to 6:20 per mile for a regular training run and finish with my last few miles in the 5:50 to 6:00 range. In order to start my run at this pace I need to do a mile or two warm up and some drills but I have a lot of miles under my belt so you may not need that warm up. Over the course of the run I work down to about 5:20 pace. In a marathon phase I will often run the last mile at goal marathon pace which is a bit faster but this is pushing the envelope on keeping the session moderate and I wouldn't suggest doing it most of the time as you really don't want this session to get to hard and have them take away from more important sessions.
What it does. This will build your aerobic endurance and your muscular endurance. The first few times you do this you may be pretty sore or heavy the day after and your stomach may be upset in the hours after the session but with time you will soon find that you feel fine the next day and your going to find yourself running along on this session feeling VERY easy and you will find your other endurance workouts improving greatly and when you fall apart in races and workouts you will find you can salvage better and stay much closer to pace.
Where in your training to do it? This is a session that can be fit in throughout your training cycles. As a complimentary session it works great in the earliest training to start dipping your toes into faster running. Then in the early base it is a great workout to supplement the heavier tempo work you are doing in the special and specific phase it is a great light session that can be used to maintain aerobic fitness while not taking too much out of you.
Hope you enjoy it!