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8-K Training Guide - Novice Program - Week 3

Monday: Last week you ran 6.5 total miles with a long run on the weekend (yesterday) of 2.5 miles. This week you'll actually run 7 miles total and 3 on the weekend. Regardless of the plan for the full week, this is your day for no running. Just stretch and strength. Check the screens on those disciplines for some good stretching and strengthening exercises.

Tuesday: A slight increase in distance this week brings you up to 2.5 miles for today's workout, and you will be asked to run this distance on Tuesday for the next two weeks also. Big gains in fitness can be made with small increases. Your fitness should be improving in this third week of your training.

Wednesday: I'm bumping your cross-training time today up to 35 minutes, a nudge more than you did the last two weeks. Walk, swim, cycle, even jog a little: I don't care what you do as long as you keep the effort level low. If you would like to switch some of your strength training to this day, be my guest. This program is flexible--and should be flexible so as to fit comfortably into your schedule of business and family activities.

Thursday: The Thursday mileage remains near the same as the previous two weeks: 2 miles coupled with stretching and strengthening. Need more rest? Don't be afraid to run today's workout at a slower pace. Nobody is going to be standing by the side of the road timing you on these workouts. Experienced runners learn how to "listen to their bodies" when it comes to deciding both how fast and how far to run on any given day.

Friday: With only a total of 7.5 miles run this week, you may not think you need a day off on Friday. And maybe you don't considering the fact that I'm not going to ask you to run only 3 miles this weekend. But a plan is a plan. Less important than what you do on any one day is what you do over the entire period of the training program. And regular rest is an important part of that program. Having said that, I concede that it doesn't matter that much which days you rest and which days you run, to a point. If your family or business schedule dictates a different workout mix, be my guest in making changes--but don't change too much or you defeat the entire purpose of this Shamrock Shuffle training program.

Saturday: Forty minutes of cross-training, a jump from the 30 minutes you did the last two Saturdays. This is not without purpose. I am gradually increasing your training load. Don't push yourself too hard on this cross-training day.

Sunday: Three miles for today's "long" run. Not much, you say, but when you get this far in the race, you will be two-thirds home. Use today's workout to mentally rehearse how you are going to run those first 3 miles. Consider also the fact that 3 miles is nearly the same as 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). You might want to enter a 5-K race this weekend as a rehearsal for your race at the end of this program.

Run Fast: One advantage of a class situation is the group support you get from others of equal ability. This certainly is true with the marathon class I teach in Chicago, but it's also true at every level, from novice to intermediate to advanced. One reason why the Kenyans have been able to dominate the world distance running ranks recently is that they train together and push each other every day in practice. Top runners gather in cities like Eugene, Boulder, Albuquerque and Jacksonville for mutual support. Group dynamics can be very important in achieving success. If you have the opportunity to join a class, or hire a coach, or train with other runners, do so. You all will run better-and faster!

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.

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