Lifehacker Fitness Challenge, Week 6: Rehearse Your Race With A Progression Run

Can you believe it's only a week until we complete our fitness challenge? Don't panic — we have a great way for you to test your mettle for the final day, and it's part of a simple, doable workout.

Photo by Kristian Thøgersen.

Your challenge this week is a progression run. All that means is that you'll finish the run faster than you started it. Start out nice and easy, a little slower than what you're used to. Then, run the last 1.5km at a faster pace. Not killer, just faster than you started. That's all. But trust me: It will feel great.

If you're training for a 5K, divide it into thirds: Do 3.5km as easy as you like, and the last 1.5km faster. If your aiming for 10K or any other distance, adjust today's workout to match.

Here's why a progression run is a great training tool:

  • Starting out easy makes you save your energy. It's easy to get caught up in nervousness, self criticism or other unhelpful emotions at the beginning of a race or run. As a result, we sometimes run too fast and get tired before the race is over. If you know you have to start out slow, that takes the pressure off and lets you actually run easy.
  • That last 1.5km is a rehearsal for race day. If you want to turn in your best time in a race, you'll have to run fast — but in a measured way, so you can keep it up for a while. My five-year-old dubbed this "turtle fast, not rabbit fast". Pushing yourself for a full 1.5km helps you to practise that pace.
  • You'll pleasantly surprise yourself. Because you don't start the faster segment until you're well into your workout, you're warmed up and ready to go. If you check your time for each kilometre, you may find that your last kilometre is faster than you expected.

A good progression run feels exhilarating! You'll feel like you're flying in that last 1.5km. Because you take it easy for the first half of your run, you're ready for that fast 1.5km when it comes. It's tough, but you'll be super proud of yourself for getting through it.

So, don't panic, but do try this run to test out your faster gears. And remember, if you finish feeling like you have to throw up, that was too fast. Let us know how the Challenge is going for you, and after you try the progression run, tell us how awesome it felt!

This post is part of the Lifehacker Fitness Challenge, a series of mini challenges to spark (or reignite) your love of running.


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