Hal Higdon: 8k--Intermediate: This training plan is designed for Intermediate runners readying themselves for an 8-K race, and like all my intermediate training programs, it is for individuals who want to improve their performances. What defines an Intermediate runner? You should be running five to six times a week, averaging 15-25 miles weekly training. You probably also should have run a half dozen or more races at distances 5-K and above, maybe even a marathon or two. With that as background, you now need a somewhat more sophisticated schedule so as to improve. If that doesn't sound like you, you might be more comfortable using one of my programs designed for Novice or Advanced runners. When you sign up, you will receive daily email messages telling you what to run along with training tips. For more information and directions, visit my website at halhigdon.com
Today begins the 8-week countdown to an 8-K race. In my Intermediate Training Program, Mondays are reserved for easy 3-milers combined with strength training. Don't overdo it! Your Monday goal is only to recover from the long runs scheduled for Sundays. Since the program begins today, you may not have taken such a long run yesterday.
Today's workout is 3 miles. Find a course of about this distance that you enjoy running. Measure it with a car speedometer or a GPS watch if you don't already know mileages. Since the Tuesday workouts will increase in half-mile increments from 3 to 6 miles, you might want to take this into consideration when planning new courses. In fact, I would prefer that you develop several different courses for variety. Regardless of where you run, take it easy today. Run at an easy pace. Please note that in setting time estimates, I assume that you run at a 9:00 mile average. If you run faster or slower, readjust or ignore the estimates.
Today is the day of the week on which the Intermediates do speed training. On successive weekends, you will alternate between tempo runs (odd weeks) and interval running on the track (even weeks). If you don't understand the concept behind tempo runs, go back to the introductory screen for the Intermediate Program. Today's tempo run lasts 30 minutes. Run 5-10 minutes at an easy pace, then gradually shift gears and run 10-15 minutes accelerating to near 15-K pace, finally decelerating for the last 5-10 minutes.
Today's workout is 3 miles. Your Thursday runs will alternate between 3 and 4 miles as the program continues. This is partly for variety. As with 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 strength training, similar to on Mondays.
Sixty minutes of cross-training. In this 8-week training program, Saturdays will always feature an hour of cross-training. What kind of cross-training should you do? I suggest swimming, cycling, walking or even some light jogging if you're a purist and don't want to do anything else but run. During the winter I also favor cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
This is the key day of our 8-K Intermediate Training Program. On Sundays, we run long. Four miles this first weekend may not seem long, considering the fact that you are an experienced runner, but over the next 8 weeks I will take ask you to gradually increase your long run distance to beyond your race distance.
Last week you ran a total of 16 miles during the first week of your 8 week build-up to an 8-K race. Your long run yesterday was 4 miles; your total mileage, 16 miles. This week we will ratchet your training up to 20 total miles with a 5-miler on Sunday. Today is a day of comparative rest. Run 3 miles and do some strength training afterwards.