8-K Training Guide - Novice Program - Week 7
Monday: With the exception of race week itself, this is the peak week of the program--as far as total mileage (9.5) and long run mileage (4.5) goes for the 8-K. But this is what you need if you want to be prepared to finish the Shamrock Shuffle. This week will not only fine-tune your body, but it will fine-tune your mind, convincing you that you can go the 8-K distance. Today being Monday, it's your usual stretching and strengthening day.
Tuesday: Run 3 miles. You don't need to run fast--in fact, you shouldn't. Most important is to get out and cover the distance at a comfortable pace. This is nearly two-thirds the distance of your 8-K race, and I'm asking you to run it on a weekday. Not easy always to find time, but it's essential to stick with the program. You're almost there.
Wednesday: Forty-five minutes for today's cross-training. Given the fact that you ran pretty far yesterday, you might want to settle for a brisk walk. If extra fatigued, it's okay to cheat a bit and cut the time.
Thursday: Run 2 miles, followed by stretching and strengthening. By now you should know the Thursday routine. Consider this a test for your pre-race warm-up. What kind of easy jogging and stretching are you going to do before the Shamrock Shuffle?
Friday: Rest is particularly important in this penultimate week of the 8-K training program. I have your toughest training run planned for you over the weekend.
Saturday: Sixty minutes of cross-training today. This is your peak workout of this sort. But adding 10 more minutes to your workout of last week should not be a problem. Walk an extra 10 minutes. No sweat! What do you plan to eat for dinner tonight? You might experiment with the meal, so you can figure out what to eat the night before the Shamrock Shuffle. A meal rich in complex carbohydrates usually works best; that's one reason why runners usually opt for pasta the night before their marathons, but it makes sense for 8-K races too.
Sunday: Today is the longest run of the 8-week training program: 4.5 miles. That's less than a half-mile short of what you'll run in the Shamrock Shuffle itself. Make this a dress rehearsal for everything you plan to do on race day from clothing to shoes to warm-up to fluids taken during the run. This is your final tune-up for success.
Run Fast: No matter how fit you may be from other physical activities, when you begin to run you're probably going to experience sore muscles. Even after running becomes easy, you're still going to experience sore muscles from time to time. You get sore muscles for three reasons: 1) you're not used to exercising, 2) you're used to a different exercise, or 3) you push your regular exercise too hard. To relieve the pain of sore muscles, first use ice to reduce swelling. Heat, once pain has peaked, helps speed recovery by improving circulation. Massage and pain-relieving rubs may help. But if you want to become a fast runner, you may need to accept some soreness as a natural part of the conditioning process. After your muscles recover, they actually should be stronger.
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.