RW Run Faster Plan (8 weeks)

Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week

This eight-week plan, developed by the experts at Runner's World, will help you develop endurance and introduce you to track workouts to boost your speed and fitness. The plan includes some hills and formal speedwork on the track. Before doing this plan you should be able to run 18 miles per week with a long run of at least 6 miles. Each week includes five workouts with one track workout and one rest day. Each Saturday there will be a long run, which starts at 6 miles at the beginning of the plan and peaks at 9 miles. The first workout is a two-mile run, and the plan builds gradually, so that by the end of the program you should be able to complete a track workout, plus a long run of 8 miles. If you have a BMI of at least 25, are 60 years or older, or if you'd like to take a more gradual approach, you can repeat any week, or every week, and stretch this out to a 10- or 12-week plan.

Sample Day 1
2mi
2 Miles Easy

Welcome to the Runner's World Run Faster training plan. This eight-week plan will help you develop endurance and introduce you to track workouts to boost your speed and fitness. The plan includes some hills and formal speedwork on the track. Each week includes five workouts with one track workout and two rest days. The first workout is a 2-mile run, and the plan builds gradually so that by the end of the program, you should be able to complete a track workout, plus a long run of 9 miles. If you have a BMI of more than 25, are 60 years or older, or if you'd like to take a more gradual approach, you can repeat any week, or every week, and stretch this out to a 10- or 12-week plan. Your week starts with an easy 2-mile run. Don't worry about how fast you're going, simply focus on getting into a rhythm that you can comfortably maintain. You should finish feeling like you could run one more mile. Before you start your workout and after you finish, add a 3- to 5-minute warmup and cooldown.

Sample Day 2
4mi
4 Miles Easy

Today you'll run 4 miles at your easy pace. Before you start your workout and after you finish, add a 3- to 5-minute warmup and cooldown. In these first few weeks, establish a workout routine that blends well into the rhythm of your daily life. Figure out what times of day are most convenient for your workout. Scout out a few flat, scenic, safe routes that you can regularly take in a variety of weather conditions. You should always walk against the flow of traffic and assume that drivers cannot see you. Tracks are great options because they are flat and free of motorists.

Sample Day 3
2mi
2 Miles Easy

Today you'll repeat the same workout that you did Monday: Run 2 miles at your easy pace. Before you start the workout and after you finish, add a 3- to 5-minute warmup and cooldown. In order to run healthy and injury-free, it's important to have a good pair of running shoes. Worn-out or ill-fitting shoes are a leading cause of injury. And wear and tear are not always apparent to the naked eye. It may feel like a lot to spend up to $120 on shoes, but the investment will allow you to run many miles feeling good. Go to a specialty running shop, where a salesperson can help you select a pair that offers the support and fit you need. While you're there, pick up shirts, pants, shorts, underwear, and socks that are made of technical, lightweight fabrics that wick away moisture. These fabrics, such as Dri-FIT and Coolmax, help prevent blisters and chafing.

Sample Day 4
4mi
4 Miles Easy

Today you'll run 4 miles at your easy pace. Before you start your workout and after you finish, add a 3- to 5-minute warmup and cooldown. A well-kept training log can help keep you motivated and injury-free. Take notes on how you feel during the workout, how long you went, where you went, and what the weather was like. Seeing all the workouts add up can keep you motivated when the going gets tough. And seeing all that you have accomplished may make the workout ahead seem less daunting. If you keep track of aches and pains, you can nip them in the bud before they become full-blown injuries. Be sure to note when you get new shoes; you should replace them every 300 to 500 miles.

Sample Day 6
6mi
6 Miles Easy

Run 6 miles today at your easy pace. Before you start your workout and after you finish, add a 3- to 5-minute warmup and cooldown. Each Saturday will be designated for your longer workout, designed to help you develop the endurance you'll need to eventually cover 9 miles. Since you'll be going longer today, you can start out slower than you usually do. Don't worry about pace on these workouts. It's most important to focus on finishing the workout feeling strong. The running should feel smooth and comfortable, as if you could go forever.

Sample Day 8
2mi
2 Miles Easy

Welcome to week two of the Runner's World Run Faster plan. This week you'll have five days of workouts, plus two days of rest. You'll have your first day of hill work on Tuesday, to help you build leg and lung power. On Thursday you'll have your first speed session. Though you can do the workout on a treadmill or a flat stretch of road, a track is the ideal site for speedwork because it's flat, traffic-free, and the distance is measured. Many schools open their tracks to the public during times when school isn't in session. Plan your workout around open hours. Most runners take a track counterclockwise. To avoid collisions, you should, too. Leave the headphones at home so you can tune in to what's going on around you. The innermost lane of the track is typically the place for the fastest runners. If you're warming up, cooling down, or running slower, move to an outside or middle lane. Most tracks are 400 meters around; that's about equivalent to one-quarter of a mile. Four laps around the track is roughly equivalent to one mile. Today run easy for 2 miles.

Sample Day 9
4mi
Run 4 Miles with Hills

Today you'll do your first hill workout and cover 4 miles total. Scout out a route with a variety of inclines and descents; the exact grade and length of each hill doesn't matter. Just aim for some hills that take 30 to 60 seconds to run up at an easy effort. Practice running up the hill while maintaining an even level of effort--and the same effort you had on flat ground. Avoid 'charging' the hill. You don't want to feel spent by the time you get to the top. If the area where you live is pancake flat, you can do this workout on a treadmill (adjusting the incline as needed throughout), or use bridges or the ramps up to parking structures and garages.