This workout from McMillan Running engrains the idea of starting controlled, picking it up across the run and finishing strong – the same strategy that will lead to your best racing success. It will help you build stamina at any level and for any distance, whether you are training for a 5K or a marathon.
What it is: 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 or 10k race pace.
This strong running significantly improves your Stamina, which raises the pace you can run before you begin to rapidly accumulate lactic acid.
I find 60 minute 3rd’s progression runs are best- 20 minutes at a comfortable pace, 20 minutes at a steady pace, and 20 minutes at a strong, hard 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 or distance.
It is important to note that the pace of the final third is NOT all-out running. Could you run faster at the end? Of course! But that’s not the goal of this particular progression run. This workout engrains the idea of starting controlled, picking it up across the run and finishing strong – the same strategy that will lead to your best racing success.
What it looks like: By using the Premium Workout Analysis, you can see how your run will show this gradual increase. Below is the workout as a 9 mile progression run, broken up into 3 mile increments. As you’ll see, each mile shows a slight increase and the pace over all goes from a 5:30 pace down to 5:00 — only a 30 second difference over 9 miles. Premium members — use the lap button on your GPS device and tag your run as a ‘workout’ to see this visualization on Strava.
Let us know how the workout goes and take it in #ProgressionThirds. Have fun!
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