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8-K Training Guide - Intermediate Program - Week 2

Monday: Last week you ran a total of 16 miles during the first week of your 8 week build-up to the Shamrock Shuffle (8-K)or other 8-K. (Although this program was designed for The LaSalle Bank, sponsors of the Shamrock Shuffle and Chicago Marathon, we are happy to have you use it to prepare for the race of your choice.) Your "long" run yesterday was 4 miles; your total mileage, 16 miles. This week we will ratchet your training up to 20 total miles with a 5-miler on Sunday. Today is a day of comparative rest. Run 3 miles and do some strength training afterwards. Don't forget to stretch also.

Tuesday: Today's workout is 3.5 miles, run at an easy pace, similar to last week. Why 3.5 miles and not 4 or 5 or some other distance? Because I said so, that's why. It doesn't really matter what you do on any one day during your training program. More important is consistency in training regularly to meet your goal. I'm in charge of determining how you will meet that goal, so trust me! Next week I'll ask you to run slightly more on Tuesday, all part of the overall plan.

Wednesday: Head to the track. Your interval workout today is 6 x 400 meters with the fast repeats done at about 5-K pace. Walk and jog 400 meters between. Jog a couple of miles before to warm up and about the same distance after to cool down. If you need directions on how to do an interval workout such as this one, back up to the schedule screen for Intermediate runners and check what I had to say about speedwork.

Thursday: Run 4 miles and add some stretching and strengthening after you finish the run. Give some thought to the "when" as well as the "how far" of this workout. Most runners run in the morning, because that's a convenient time, particularly for those who have a 9-to-5 job. And it insures that you get your run in, since things can interfere if you plan to run at lunch or in the evening. But if you're preparing for the Shamrock Shuffle in March, that means running in the dark. You might want to consider whether or not you can find time mid-day to do this and other mid-week workouts. Even if you have only an hour for lunch, you may be able to run, shower and grab a quick snack at your desk (yogurt, a glass of juice) in the time available. Training for a road race takes discipline, but often the discipline involves activities around the run as well as the run itself.

Friday: Thank God It's Friday. (TGIF) There's even a restaurant chain that uses that name. For many of us who love to run, we don't always want a day off. Nevertheless, it's important to program rest days so that you don't overtrain and set yourself up for injuries. Selecting Fridays as rest days works well, because I always ask the runners who train using my programs to do a bit more on the weekends when they have more time.

Saturday: Sixty minutes of cross-training--and it should be aerobic! Don't convert what is designed as an "easy" day into a punishing workout, where you thrash in the pool or pump as hard as you can on your bicycle. Stay cool. Swim or cycle or walk or do whatever you choose in a "relaxed" mode. I mainly want you do something that massages your cardiovascular system while allowing you to burn a few calories. The tough workout of the week is tomorrow when you run long--and I'm going to ask you to run a mile further than your did last week.

Sunday: Today is the day when you run long, and today's long run is 5 miles. That's only a mile further than last week, but subtle mileage changes work best. Run this at a comfortable pace 45 to 90 seconds slower than your 8-K race pace. If you're feeling frisky, pick up the pace a bit in the last 2 miles, but don't feel you have to finish in a sprint because I gave the green light. (Green is a very appropriate color, by the way, if you're training for the Shamrock Shuffle.) And be cautious about dueling with training partners, since excessive hard running is counterproductive. Consistency is what counts.

Run Fast: If you're a beginner, running fast means merely getting started. If you've never run before, except when you were a child (when running was perceived as fun and not as hard work), simply to jog for a few hundred meters is to move faster than if you were to walk that same distance. Improvement comes easily when you begin from a base of zero fitness. After that, you need to learn how to train properly.

How to Improve: Hal Higdon's best-selling Run Fast covers the type of training that will help you improve your performances at all distances, including the 8-K. To order an autographed copy of this and other books by Runner's World's best writer go to Books by Hal Higdon.

Intermediate Training Program: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8