Hal Higdon: 15-K-Intermediate: The following schedule is for Intermediate runners: individuals who want to improve their 15-K 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 one or more races at distances between the 10-K and the Half-Marathon. With that as background, you now need a somewhat more sophisticated schedule so as to improve. 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.
Today begins the 10-week countdown to a 15-K race for Intermediate runners. The 15-K is 9.3 miles long. In my 10-week 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 15-K program begins today, you may not have taken such a long run yesterday. But you will at the end of this week.
Today's workout is 4 miles, run at an easy pace. Please note that I have automatically programmed all the directions in this program to assume that you run at a 9:00 pace. Obviously, not all runners are equal, so if you run faster or slower while doing an easy run, take that into consideration.
Today is the day of the week on which the Intermediates do speed training. On successive weekends, you will alternate between tempo runs (even weeks) and interval running on the track (odd weeks). Since Week 1 is an odd week, head to the track. Your interval workout today is 4 x 800 meters with the fast repeats done at about 5-K pace. Walk and jog 400 meters between. Before doing the fast repeats, don't forget to warm up with a mile or two of running, then stretch before starting to run hard.
Today's workout is 2 miles. Your Thursday runs will vary from 2 to 4 miles as the program continues. 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.
This is the key day of our 10-week program for the 15-K. On Sundays, we run long. Six miles this first weekend may not seem long, considering the fact that you are an experienced runner, but over the next 9 weeks I will ask you to gradually increase your distance to even beyond that you will run in the 15-K race. Run this workout at a relaxed pace, anywhere from 45 to 90 seconds slower than you plan to run in the 15-K.
Sixty minutes of cross-training. In this 10-week training program, Sundays 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.
Last week you ran close to 20 miles during the first week of your 10-week build-up to the 15-K. I don't put a lot of emphasis on miles in my programs, but this serves as a good beginning. Your long run yesterday was 6 miles. This week we will ratchet your training up to a few more miles with a 7-miler on Sunday. Today is a day of comparative rest. Run 3 miles and do some strength training afterwards.