A progression run is a type of running workout that involves starting at a comfortable, easy pace and gradually increasing the effort to finish at a faster pace. It is a classic speed-endurance workout that allows runners to develop an endurance base while incorporating higher tempo work. Progression runs are a sustainable way to add variety to training, boost the aerobic system, and practice mental discipline and pacing. They are also beneficial for improving running economy and form. Progression runs can be structured in various ways, and they offer a fun and challenging way to train while minimizing stress on the body compared to typical interval or tempo workouts.


  1. Warm-Up: Begins with an easy pace to warm up the muscles and prepare the body for higher intensity.
  2. Gradual Increase: The runner then steadily increases the pace at calculated intervals, which can be based on time or distance.
  3. Peak Intensity: The run culminates in a final segment at a challenging pace, often near race pace or at a runner’s tempo pace.
  4. Cool Down: It typically ends with a cool-down period of easy running or walking.


  1. Endurance Training: Helps build endurance by teaching the body to run efficiently when fatigued.
  2. Mental Strength: Enhances mental toughness by simulating the late-race environment where maintaining or increasing pace becomes challenging.
  3. Pacing Skills: Develops pacing judgment, teaching runners to start conservatively and finish strong.
  4. Speed Development: Improves speed and running economy through controlled increases in intensity.


  1. Continuous Progression: The pace increases steadily and continuously throughout the run without distinct segments.
  2. Segmented Progression: The run is broken into segments with specific paces, usually getting progressively faster.
  3. Finish Fast: The run starts at an easy pace, with a significant increase to a fast or race pace towards the end.


  1. Planning: Runners should integrate progression runs into their training plan, considering their current fitness level and goals.
  2. Flexibility: The intensity and length of the progression should be adjusted according to the runner’s ability and specific training needs.
  3. Recovery: Adequate recovery time should be allowed following a progression run, as it can be physically and mentally taxing.


  • Beginners: May start with gentle increases in pace to get accustomed to changing speeds.
  • Intermediate and Advanced Runners: Can incorporate more aggressive pace increases and longer progression segments.

Usage in Race Strategy: Progression runs can also be a strategic approach in races, where runners start slower and gradually increase their pace, conserving energy for a strong finish.

Progression Runs are a versatile and effective training tool for runners of all levels. They help improve endurance, speed, and mental toughness, making them a valuable component of a well-rounded running program. Proper implementation and recovery are crucial to maximize the benefits and avoid overtraining. Whether for training or racing, progression runs can significantly enhance a runner’s performance and experience.


The purpose of progression runs in running is multifaceted and offers several benefits, including:

  1. Pacing Practice: Progression runs help runners improve their pacing by starting at a comfortable pace and gradually increasing speed. This allows runners to practice controlling their effort and finishing strong.
  2. Warm-Up and Stamina Training: The gradual increase in effort during a progression run serves as a built-in warm-up, allowing the body to ease into harder efforts. Additionally, progression runs help increase the volume of faster, stamina-type training across the training cycle, leading to improved fitness and endurance.
  3. Variety and Mental Discipline: Progression runs add variety to training and are a sustainable way to boost the aerobic system with less stress than typical interval or tempo workouts. They also help runners practice mental discipline and pacing, teaching them to conserve energy and finish strong.
  4. Incorporating Fast Running: Progression runs allow runners to incorporate fast running without needing a lengthy recovery period after the session, making them a valuable addition to training programs.

In summary, progression runs are a valuable training tool that helps runners improve their pacing, build stamina, add variety to their training, and practice mental discipline, all of which contribute to improved fitness and race performance.