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Hal Higdon: 5K Advanced


Hal Higdon

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8 Weeks

Plan Specs

running 5km

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Plan Description

Hal Higdon: 5K Advanced: This is the Advanced 5K 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 a plan this difficult.. If you are a seasoned veteran of the running wars, an individual who has been running for several years and who has run numerous 5K 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

Advanced 5K is aimed, first, at runners who want to train fast but short, whose main focus is on short-distance races. But the program also is useful as a prelude to a more endurance-based program aimed at a full or half marathon. Or after having completed such a program. In other words, work on your speed, then work on your endurance. Or the opposite, work on your endurance, then work on your speed. And don't forget a relatively "easy" period where you take a month or two off, continuing to run but without a goal race. Thus, Advanced 5K is a specialty program, useful for your improvement as a runner.


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:34 hrs 1:30 hrs
0:03 hrs 0:30 hrs
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:34 hrs 1:30 hrs
0:03 hrs 0:30 hrs
—— ——

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon Communications

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).

Sample Day 1


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


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.

Sample Day 3


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


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


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


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


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.

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