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8-K Training Guide - Advanced Program - Week 4

Monday: Back to the business at hand. With last week's stepback week behind us, we move forward in distance and difficulty. Today's Monday workout of 3 miles running followed by stretching and strengthening remains the same, but this week I will ask you run a total of 33 miles with a long run on the weekend of 7 miles, actually further than what you will run in your climactic race. By the way, how is your stretching and strengthening program going? If you have any questions concerning what to do, see: Stretch and Strengthen. Sometimes it's a good idea to remind yourself of what you know you're supposed to do.

Tuesday: Forty minutes is the time for today's tempo run, a step upward from the time you ran two weeks ago. Keep the warm-up and cool-down about the same at 5-10 minutes and stretch the time for the central race-pace build-up to 20-25 minutes. I don't give precise times, because if you are running this workout on trails--or even on the roads--terrain may help dictate when you accelerate and decelerate.

Wednesday: Back to the track. Today's interval workout is 8 x 400 meters at 1500/mile pace with 400 jogging and/or walking between. Here's a variation I often take during interval workouts featuring high reps. Between the fourth and fifth 400, take a slightly longer break, perhaps walking the full lap. It breaks the rhythm and allows you to start the second set of reps feeling refreshed. Here's how I would write it in my training diary: 2 x (4 x 400, walk/jog 400 between) walk 400 between. It's usually a good idea to record workouts--particularly speed workouts--in your diary so that at the end of the training schedule, you can get a feel for what type of training works best for you, also what training you enjoyed most.

Thursday: Five miles followed by strength training. Are you getting bored running the same old course every Thursday. If so, maybe you should try some different courses for this or any other workout. There's nothing in the rules that says running has to be boring. It won't be boring if you remain innovative about where you train.

Friday: Today is a day of relative rest. Either run an easy 3-miler or take the day off entirely. The 3-miler is used only to "massage" your leg muscles, tired from two to three days of tough training. It's your call as to what you want to do today to get ready for the weekend, but remember: You'll be better prepared for Sunday's long run if you are well-rested.

Saturday: A 5-mile run with 2 of those miles at or near race pace for your 8-K. There's a very subtle difference between the Saturday pace workouts and the Tuesday tempo runs. One is that tempo runs are more often done on trails with the runner intuitively pushing the pace up near race pace. Pace runs are more often done on the roads--or other measured courses--where the runner knows precisely how fast he or she has gone. The intelligence gleaned from the Saturday runs related to pace can help you on the Tuesday runs, and vice versa.

Sunday: Seven miles of running. Keep the pace conversational; that is, so that you can hold a conversation with a running companion. If you get out of breath and can't talk--particularly in the early miles--you're running too fast. In running this far, you again cover more than your race distance, which will help bolster your confidence for the race itself. You can't do this with marathons without risking overtraining, but you can for races at shorter distances, such as the 8-K. Keep the pace easy and steady.

Run Fast: The term "PR" is part of the running jargon; it means "Personal Record." Few of us will ever set a world or national record, but anybody can establish a PR. Any time you've recorded a time over any distance (even odd distances in training), it becomes your PR. Every time you run that course or distance, you will have an opportunity to better that PR. Going after PRs can be fun; most important, it can be motivational.

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.

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