In this 5-K schedule for advanced runners, Monday is an easy day for recovery after the weekend's hard workouts. Run 3 miles. Run at an easy pace, just covering the distance. If you don't program easy days into your schedule--and at the right times--you increase your risk of illness or injury.
Today is your day for interval training, as you prepare for the 5-K. In interval training, you first run a set distance hard, then jog or walk at an easy pace to recover. The workout gets its name because you control the interval between each hard run. Interval training is best done on a track, but can be done on a treadmill or on the rads where you have a measured distance to repeat.. Run 5 x 400 meters at about the pace you would run 1500 meters, or a mile. (If you run a mile in 8 minutes, your 400 time would be 2 minutes.) Jog or walk 400 meters between each fast repeat to recover.
Rest or do an easy run of about 3 miles today. This will be your standard workout for all but the final week of your 8-week 5-K training program. Although this seems like a throwaway workout, one that seemingly will do little to condition yourself, if you do run, take it seriously.
What separates advanced runners from novices and intermediates is that you do two speed workouts a week. This day of the week is for tempo runs, which are best done on trails in the woods-although you can run them on the roads. Run for a half hour, building up to near the pace you run 10-K by the middle of your workout. It works this way. Run easy for 5 or 10 minutes. Accelerate gradually for 5 to 10 minutes to near 10-K pace. Hold that pace for 3-5 minutes. Gradually decelerate and finish the last 5 minutes at an easy jog.
Run 4 miles today, but at a slightly faster pace than you ran the easy runs on Monday and Wednesday. You should finish this workout feeling refreshed, because I'm going to ask you to run long tomorrow. For the rest of this training program, Saturday is the day on which you will be asked to run fast.
Today you run long. Head out the door for an hour run. While 60 minutes may not seem long by marathon standards, you are training for a 5-K race, not a 42.2-K race. Only with advanced runners do I prescribe some workouts in time rather than miles. How far you run thus depends on how fast you run.
Run 3 miles. Are you tired after yesterday's hour-long run? If so, be sure to run at an easy pace. Don't hesitate to do some walking. Today is a recovery day. You may not think you need an easy day on Monday after 4 miles on Saturday and an hour run on Sunday, and maybe you don't. But your coach is trying to establish a regular pattern for you to follow in this 5-K training program for advanced runners.