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8-K Training Guide - Intermediate Program - Week 6

Monday: This is the second of the two stepback weeks built into my training program for the Shamrock Shuffle. I worked you pretty hard the last 10 days, but it was with a purpose. Now it is time to back off the throttle a bit and gather strength for the final high-mileage week that follows. There's a slight drop to 22 total miles this week with a 4-miler on the weekend. Begin today with your usual 3-miler followed by stretching and strengthening.

Tuesday: Five and a half miles today, since even in his stepback week the Tuesday workout continues its inexorable climb upward. Put it on cruise control today. If you're feeling frisky, pick up the pace a bit in the second or third mile--but don't overdo it.

Wednesday: The running mileage takes a drop this week, but the progression of the interval workout still continues. Run 8 x 400 meters with a 400 jog/walk between. Run the reps about as fast as you would in a 5-K race. That's 3 miles of running in the middle of the workout coupled with 1-2 miles warm-up and the same for cool-down, so you're covering a bit of distance today.

Thursday: Four miles today plus stretching and strengthening. As on Tuesday, you can vary the pace a bit from your regular routine. By that I don't necessarily mean you have to go faster. You could go slower, or even throw in some walking breaks. Typically when I'm home in Long Beach and run down on the beach after it has been flattened by waves, I run down a couple of miles, then walk for 30-60 seconds and turn around. I start running again after I reach the point where I broke to walk. Invariably I find that even this short break refreshes me, and I usually return at least slightly faster than when I came out.

Friday: A day of rest. But don't give away the benefits of the rest by staying out too late partying. You still need to get up tomorrow for your regular routine of cross-training Saturday with a long run Sunday. Invariably with my training class for The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, I discover that runners start heading to bed a bit early on Fridays, because they don't want to compromise their training. The Shamrock Shuffle is far from being a marathon, but the principle is the same.

Saturday: An hour of cross-training. Despite this being a stepback week, the cross-training prescription remains the same: 60 minutes. How about a bike ride today? Keep your head up high, however, and enjoy the scenery. You don't want to be out on a 10-speed straining to better 20 or 25 mph. Keep your cross-training gentle. Save the extra effort for your runs.

Sunday: Run four miles today. This is the last day of our stepback week, and you're probably thinking, "Where was the stepback?" You're right; I didn't offer you much of a chance to relax mid-week, but you get a break on the weekend with this shorter run. This allows you to regain strength for the next upward push. Next week is the tough one--or at least the toughest one in the 8-week program toward an 8-K race. I think you're going to find that even the slight shift downward we programmed this week is going to provide a springboard for a good week of training followed by a successful performance in the Shamrock Shuffle. Almost home. The countdown continues!

Run Fast: Motivation is important for all runners, but particularly so for beginners who have not yet had a chance to recognize the positive values of running, which are not always easy to explain or measure. Before you take your first steps, establish a goal. Do not give up until you reach that goal. Many people start exercising to lose weight. Some people exercise as a means to quit smoking. Others have as their goals relieving stress, or finding some private time for themselves. Establishing mileage goals works for many. Running a mile nonstop for the first time can provide you with your first Runner's High. Running that mile progressively faster can keep you going. Or you can increase the distance you can cover continuously to 2, 3 or more miles. Each new step you take creates another Personal Record.

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