Hal Higdon: 8K Advanced: This plan is designed for Advanced runners training for an 8K race. I would define Advanced runners as individuals who compete regularly in races up to 8K 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 8K 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 message telling you what to run and also offering 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 8-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 program begins today, you may not have taken such a long run yesterday. But you will at the end of this week. This week's schedule has you running 28 total miles with a long run of 6 miles on the weekend.
Today is the day of the week on which the Advanced runners do tempo runs. On successive weekends, you will progress from 30- to 50- or 60-minute tempo runs. If you don't understand the concept behind tempo runs, go back to the introductory screen for 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 10-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-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, then 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. But for an Advanced runner, running successive hard workouts can help get you in shape--as long as they aren't too hard.
Today's workout is 4 miles. Your Thursday runs will vary from 3 to 6 miles as the program continues. As with the Monday runs, run at a comfortable pace. And make this your second strength training day of the week. Please note that in that estimating the time it takes you run different workouts, I assume you average 8:00 miles. If you are slower or faster, you can adjust these estimates in your training calendar by clicking on the pencil item above the instructions.
On Saturdays, Advanced runners do pace runs. What is pace? It's the pace you expect to run in the 8-K itself. If you run an 8-K in about 30 minutes, or near 6:00 pace, that would be the pace you would aim for in pace workouts. But don't run the entire workout at race pace, only a portion of it. Run an easy first mile for a warm-up, then run the next two miles at race pace before slowing down for the final mile. Today's workout is 4 miles with half that distance (2 miles) run at race pace. If possible, find a course that has exactly-measured miles.
This is the key day of our program for the 8-K. On Sundays, we run long. Six miles this first weekend may not seem long, considering the fact that you are an experienced runner who may have trained at much longer distances while preparing for marathons, but the value of this workout comes not from the total distance, but how that distance fits into the overall pattern of what you run all week. Could you achieve a higher level of fitness by running longer than the maximum 8 miles I'm going to ask you to cover in a single workout? Perhaps, but too much overdistance might compromise the speed workouts prescribed for other days of the week. So for today, relax and run the distance I tell you. I'll have some interesting variations to throw at you in succeeding weeks.
Last week you ran a total of 28 miles during the first week of your build-up to the 8-K. Your long run yesterday was 6 miles. This week we will ratchet your training slightly upward to 32 or more total miles with a 7-miler on Sunday. Today is a day of comparative rest. Run 3 miles and do some strength training afterwards.