Hal Higdon 15K Advanced: The following 15K schedule is for Advanced runners: individuals who compete regularly in races that distance or beyond and who want to improve their performances. You should be capable of running 30 to 60 minutes a day, five to seven days a week and have a basic understanding of how to do speedwork. If that sounds like too much training, and this is your first 15K race, you might be more comfortable using one of the programs designed for Novice or Intermediate runners. 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 the 15-K race you have chosen as your training goal. In my 10-week Advanced 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 is the day of the week on which the Advanced runners do tempo runs. On successive weekends, you will progress from 30- to 45-minute tempo runs, the times shifting from week to week mainly for variety. If you don't understand the concept behind tempo runs, check the introduction to the Advanced 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. How hard should you do your Tuesday tempo runs? I want you to finish feeling refreshed, rather than fatigued.
Head to the track. That's the best place for running the 400- and 800-meter interval workouts I'm asking you to do on Wednesdays. Today's workout is 6 x 400 meters run at your 1500 or mile pace. Jog and/or walk 400 between each fast repeat. Be sure to warm up by running a mile or two and doing some stretching before the hard central part of your workout and cool down with a mile or two after. If you feel running speedwork on successive days (Tuesday-Wednesday) is too difficult, feel free to flip-flop the Wednesday and Thursday workouts.
Please note that I have programmed all the directions in this program to assume that you run at an 8:00 pace. Obviously, not all runners are equal, so if you run faster or slower while doing an easy run, take that into consideration.
Today's running workout is 3 miles. Your Thursday runs will vary from 3 to 5 miles as the program continues. As with Monday's runs, run at a comfortable pace. And make this your second strength training day of the week.
Today is your Rest or Run day, and Fridays will always be Rest or Run days during the 10 weeks of our build-up to your 15-K race. Having only run four days at relatively low mileage so far this week, you may feel you don't really need a rest, but you will come to understand the importance of Friday rest days as the program continues and the mileage builds. If you're a high-mileage runner who hates to take even a single day off, it's okay to jog an easy 3-miler, but don't go any farther than that.
On Saturdays, Advanced runners do pace runs. What is pace? It's the pace you expect to run in the 15-K itself. If you run a 15-K in about 55 minutes, or near 6:00 pace, that would be the pace you would aim for in pace workouts. But you don't need to run the entire workout at race pace, only a portion of it. It may take you a mile or so to warm up, so in a 3-mile run you should strive to run at least the last two at race pace. In longer pace runs, you may even want to drop off the pace in the last mile as a partial cooldown. This is similar to the tempo runs with a subtle difference. In pace runs, I'd like you to run exactly at race pace.