Hal Higdon: 15-K--Novice

Average Weekly Training Hours 03:11
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 03:11
Training Load By Week

Hal Higdon 15-K--Novice: This is a training program designed specifically for Novice runners who want to do a 15-K race. It will be most helpful for first-timers, those who have done little or no running before, but it also can be used by veteran runners looking for a gentle training program for this medium road race distance. If you are very experienced--a runner used to doing at least some speed training--you might be happier with one of my other 15- K training programs: Intermediate or Advanced. Each day, I will send you an email telling you what to run and also offering tips about training. For more information and directions, visit my website: halhigdon.com.

Sample Day 2
0:20:00
2mi

Today's workout is 2 miles. If your average training pace is 10 minutes per mile, you would run the distance in about 20 minutes. If you are slower or faster, adjust the time estimates used with this training program accordingly. But particularly, if you are a beginner, I don't care how fast you run; I simply want you out running for a couple of miles.

Sample Day 3
0:30:00

If you are a beginner who has done very little running before, I suggest you use Wednesdays to do some cross-training. On my various schedules this is often identified as X-Train orsimply as cross. This could be swimming, or cycling, walking, other forms of aerobic training or some combination that could include strength training if you choose. What cross-training you select depends on your personal preference. But don't make the mistake of cross-training too vigorously.

Sample Day 3
0:30:00
3mi

If you are an experienced runner used to running 4-5 days a week, you may not want to cross-train today. If so, simply run for the same half hour that I have proposed for cross-trainers. If you run at a 10:00 pace, this would take you 3 miles. If you run faster or slower, you'll cover more or less than that distance.

Sample Day 4
0:20:00
2mi

Today's workout is 2 miles, the same as Tuesday--and your Thursday runs will remain at 2 miles through the first four weeks of the program, then increase to 3 miles. As you did Tuesday, run at a comfortable pace. The difference between Tuesday's run and Thursday's run, however, is that I suggest that you also do some stretching and strength-training, similar to Monday.

Sample Day 6
0:20:00
2mi

This is the key day of our 10-week program for your 15-K race. On Saturdays, we run long. Two miles this first weekend may not seem long, particularly if you have a previous background as a runner, but over the next 10 weeks we will take you from 2 to 8 miles, the last and furthest distance coming the weekend before your race. Eight is enough. I'm confident that you will be able to run the full distance on the climactic weekend.

Sample Day 7
0:30:00

Thirty minutes of cross-training. In this 10-week training program, Saturdays will always feature some form of cross-training with a build-up from 30 to 40 to 50 to 60 minutes as the program continues. What kind of cross-training should you do? In the instructions to Wednesday's workout, I suggested swimming, cycling, walking or even some light jogging.

Sample Day 9
0:30:00
3mi

Today's workout is 3 miles, run at an easy pace, similar to last week. I sometimes prescribe workouts for beginning runners in minutes instead of miles. That allows them to not worry whether or not they walk from time to time. The minutes keep ticking whether you're walking or running. If thinking minutes, a half hour of running will do.

Hal Higdon
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Hal Higdon Communiations

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).