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8-K Training Guide - Advanced 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 two weeks, 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 32 total miles this week with a 6-miler on the weekend. Begin today with your usual 3-miler followed by stretching and strengthening.

Tuesday: A 35-minute tempo run today, a breeze given the fact that I had you do 40- and 45-minute tempo runs the previous two weeks. Put it on cruise control today. If you're feeling frisky, pick up the pace a bit in the middle of the workout--but don't overdo it.

Wednesday: The interval workout also takes a step backwards. Run 6 x 400 meters at your usual 1500/mile pace with a 400 jog/walk between. Head home early.

Thursday: Three miles today plus stretching and strengthening. You can vary the pace a bit from your regular routine depending on what your body tells you. 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 1.5 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: An easy day: 3 miles or complete rest, your choice. But don't give away the benefits of the rest by staying out too night partying. You still need to get up tomorrow for your regular pace run 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: Today's pace run is 6 miles with 3 miles of that at or near your race pace. Try to find a course that has been accurately measured so that you can get feedback as to how fast you are running. You need to know how fast you are capable of running if you want to pace yourself properly in the Shuffle. If you didn't run a test 5-K race last weekend, this might be a good weekend to do so.

Sunday: Run six miles today. This is the last day of our stepback week during which you regain strength for the next upward push. Next week is the tough one--or at least the toughest one in the 8-week program. 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 non-stop 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.

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