8-K Training Guide - Advanced Program - Week 2
Monday: Last week you ran a total of 28 miles during the first week of your build-up to the Shamrock Shuffle or other 8-K. (Although this program was designed for The Lasalle Bank, sponsors of the Shuffle, we are happy to have you use it to prepare for the race of your choice.) Your long run yesterday was 6 miles. This week we will ratchet your training slightly upward to 32 total miles with a 7-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 tempo run is 35 minutes. Start easy for the first 5-10 minutes until you are well warmed-up. Then begin a gradual acceleration until you achieve a comfortably hard pace, close to the pace you are going to run in the 8-K. (Notice I said "close to." Obviously it would be impossible--or at least foolish--to run a 35-minute workout at race pace.) This central portion of the tempo run should last maybe 15-20 minutes with about 5 minutes of that time at the fast pace. Then ease back into the same easy pace at which you began the workout. All the pace transitions should be smooth, not sudden. This workout works best on a soft, forest trail if one is available where you live.
Wednesday: Head to the track. Your workout for today is 7 x 400 at your 1500 or mile pace with a 400 jog/walk between. Remember: that's the pace at which you run a single mile, not your pace for 5 or 6 miles. If you can run a mile in 6:00 at maximum effort, you would run your 400s in about 90 seconds. (Notice that I said "about." External factors, such as weather, may affect your ability to hit each 400 exactly.) Jog a couple of miles before to warm up and about the same distance after to cool down. Don't forget to stretch. A few easy strides of about 100 meters at the pace you plan to run in the workout will also help you loosen up before starting 400 number one.
Thursday: Run 5 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 at the end of 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. For that reason, you may want to get in a 3-miler. 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: Today's pace run is 4 miles with half (2 miles) of that distance at race pace. What? You haven't run an 8-K recently and are uncertain about your current level of fitness? You can estimate your 8-K time by using one of several prediction charts that can make estimates based on how fast you may have run a 5-K, 10-K, half-marathon or various other distances. Go to the on-line version of Runner's World and check the training site on the left of the screen.
Sunday: Today is the day when you run long, and today's long run is 7 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 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. 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.