Hal Higdon: 5-K--Advanced

Average Weekly Training Hours 03:39
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 03:39
Training Load By Week

Hal Higdon: 5-K--Advanced: This is the Advanced 5-K Training Program. Are you ready for it? Only a small percentage of runners have trained hard enough before or have the natural ability to succeed with this plan. If you are a seasoned veteran of the running wars, an individual who has been running for several years and who has run numerous 5-K races and races at other distances, there comes a time when you want to seek maximum performance. Regardless of your age or ability, you would like to run as fast as you possibly can. You want a training program that will challenge you. Here it is! Each day I will send you an email message telling you what to run, also offering tips. For more information and directions, visit my website at halhigdon.com.

Sample Day 1
0:24:00
3mi
Custom

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.

Sample Day 2
0:45:00
5.5mi

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. 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.

Sample Day 3
0:24:00
3mi

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.

Sample Day 4
0:30:00
4mi

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.

Sample Day 6
0:32:00
4mi

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.

Sample Day 7
1:00:00
7.5mi

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.

Sample Day 8
0:24:00
3mi

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.

Hal Higdon
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Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).