8 Week Run Focus Intermediate

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8 Week Run Focus Intermediate


Yaro Middaugh


8 Weeks

Typical Week

5 Run, 1 Other, 2 Swim, 2 Strength, 2 Bike, 1 Day Off

Longest Workout

1:00 hrs swim
1:30 hrs bike
2:00 hrs run

Plan Specs


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This 8 week training program is designed as an off-season or pre-season running program for a triathlete focusing on running as a limiter. This is a great plan to work on running as a weakness or for any triathlete prepping for an upcoming season so they are ready to start with a high baseline of fitness and consistent run volume.

There plan follows an 4-week mesocycle with 3 build weeks and one recovery/regeneration week. Volume is tracked by time rather than distance to accommodate different running speeds. Run volume ranges from 4 hr 10 min in week 1 to 5 hrs 35 min during week 7. So fast runners averaging 7:30 min/mi might be completing 32-44 miles per week, whereas a runner averaging 10 min/mi will complete 25-33 miles per week.

The program starts with a running field test found on our Middaugh Coaching website:
And descriptions on performing benchmark protocols is found here:

The first 4-week block of training is focused on endurance with key workouts in the Tempo zone as described in the zones spreadsheet. The second 4 week block moves into threshold training at and around 10k race intensity. Long runs progress from 80 minutes to the longest run at 2 hours.

Swim and bike workouts are also included with two days/wk in each discipline as well as run-specific strength training.


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 08:31
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 08:31
Average Weekly Breakdown

Sample Day 1

30 min. Zone 1 run.

Easy zone 1 recovery run. Concentrate on form and turnover. Count your cadence 3 times minimum. Count 1 foot for 15 seconds. Your goal is 22-24.

Sample Day 1

2000 LT workout 6 x 200

Warm up
300 swim
4 x 50 one arm
4 x 50 kick
Main set
6 x 200 swim at T-pace, with 20 sec rest
Cool Down
100 easy

Sample Day 2

30 Min. Threshold Run Test

Warm Up
10 min. zone 2 jogging
2 x 3 min. zone 3-4 running with 2 min. easy jogging between.
Run Test
You are going to be running the fastest pace you feel you can maintain for 30 minutes straight. The information needed is your avg pace for the 30 minutes and your avg. heart rate. You can do this on a flat area outside, track or treadmill. If you do it outside, try to do an out and back. It helps make up for any gradient change and/or wind. If you do it on a treadmill make sure you use 1-2% grade and start 5-10 sec. slower than your goal and gradually pick up the pace as you go(every .5-1 mile as needed). Make sure you start a new lap on your watch before you start the 30 minutes test, and make sure it doesn't start a new lap every mile.
Cool Down
5-10 min. of zone 1 jogging. You may have to walk for the first 5 minutes and that's fine.

Sample Day 2

XTERRA Strength Workout, Strength Maintenance in order of video

Perform 2 sets of each exercise. Approx 30 sec or pick a set number of reps to complete each set:
1. Band kick backs(30 seconds): Starting to pull the other gluteal muscles into it. Perform with a 2 second pause when you kick back and clench the glutes.
2. Band side step(30 seconds): The target muscle is the gluteus medius. Be careful to keep your feet pointed straight ahead and stay upright. If the toes angle out then you start to compensate with the TFL and Hip Flexors.
3. Windmill Toe-Touch(30 seconds or 10 each leg): Glutes are the prime mover here, but you should feel the hamstrings assisting. Focus on the balance and maintaining a long spine. Hinge from the hip and also focus on maintaining a plumb line with the hip/knee/ankle of the standing leg.
4. Reactive Box Jump(30 seconds or 8-12 reps): This is a true plyometric exercise specific to running with the short ground contact time and short amortization phase. Intensity level can be adjusted by the height of the box.
5. Explosive Step-up(30 seconds or 10-15 reps each leg): This has a longer amortization phase (change of direction) and longer ground contact time so it also applies well to cycling. Think of triple extenstion (hip, knee, and ankle extends).
6. Scissor Jump(30 seconds or 10-16 reps): This is very similar to the explosive step up so I recommend choosing one or the other. This will make you much more sore the first time so be caution with range of motion and number of reps.
7. Kettlebell Swing(30 seconds or 10-20 reps): A great precursor to Olympic lifts or as an alternative. The main focus here is the hip hinge and a powerful motion. Momentum is your friend so don't try to slow the way down with your arms. The motion is more back-to-front and less up-and-down.
8. Single-leg Step-down(30 seconds or 8-12 reps): Essentially this is a single leg squat with a tap to the floor. Keep your heel down and get equal angles and the hip and knee by sticking your butt back and chest forward. Watch the plumb line of the hip/knee/ankle in a mirror. The main compensations I see are the knee collapsing in and the heel lifting up.
9. Plank Press-up(30 seconds or 8-20 reps): Assume a push-up position with your feet about shoulder width. In addition to working your arms you should feel a lot of work in the core while you maintain stability side to side and keep the sway out of your low back.
10. Renegade Row(30 seconds or 8-20 reps): Start with a similar push-up position and feet shoulder width. You will have to work harder to keep your body from rotating side-to-side.
11. Pull-ups(30 seconds or 3-12 reps): Start with some assistance either with a machine or with a workout partner. Try to use the pronated grip for better Lat recruitment.
12. Ball Y-T-Cobra(30 seconds or 8-16 reps): This is a great exercise for the forward head, rounded shoulder posture. Keep your thumbs up towards the sky and pause 2 seconds in each position. Feel the shoulder blades rotate down and together as you move from the Y to the T to the Cobra.
13. Mason Twist with Bounce(30 seconds or 10-20 reps): Be a little careful with the amount of rotation you get since the main focus is stability. Another option is a partner ball toss.

Sample Day 3

Zone 2 70-75% of FTP

1 Hour Ride
Warm up
10 min. building up to zone 2
Ride the rest of the ride in zone 2. 40 min at 70-75% of FTP or zone 2 heart rate.
Use the last 10 minutes to cool down.

Sample Day 3

30 min. Zone 1 transition run.

Easy zone 1 recovery run. Concentrate on form and turnover. Count your cadence 3 times minimum. Count 1 foot for 15 seconds. Your goal is 22-24.

Sample Day 4

Base run w/ strides and explanation

Zone 2- 50 minute run with 4-6 strides at the end. Focus on turnover and staying relaxed during strides. They should be about 75-100 meters in length or 15-20 seconds. You can use telephone poles and run hard between them w/ an easy jog in between.
Build up to 400 meter pace or about 90% of max effort. If form slips back off.

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