Progressive interval runs are the best for developing fast bodies. Uneven and gradually-changing effort pushes the body to adapt and persevere when it’s race go-time.

In fact, this way of training is popular with Olympic runners, endurance pioneers and athletes such as Emil Zatopec. He is the legendary athlete who came out of hardship and made himself into a faster runner by training religiously. Pyramid runs were one of his go-to routines.

I also love to add pyramid runs to my routine once or twice every few weeks. It’s a HIIT extra to my more regular and fixed lap sprints.

Pyramid training is also what you’d usually experience in an obstacle course race. You’d have random bits of running between obstacles. These ‘random bits’ include varied distances, anything from 200m to 400m, 600m and up to a mile of interval running.

The pyramid training protocol (split into progressive gaps) looks like this:

  • 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400
  • 200, 400, 600, 800, 600, 400, 200
  • 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100
  • etc.

As you can see you can design a pretty good workout by picking a distance that you work up to gradually, peak and then reducing it back to the shortest distance you started at. As with any other high intensity run, these pyramid runs should be ‘sandwiched’ between solid warm-up and cooldown sessions.

P.S. Bonus points if you add 5-10 burpees after each interval.

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