Training


8-K Training Guide - Advanced Program - Week 7

Monday: This is the peak week of the 8-K program--as far as total mileage (38) and mileage of the long run (8) goes. But this is what you need to prepare for 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 and perhaps set a PR. Today being Monday, it's your usual stretching and strengthening day coupled with a 3-mile run.

Tuesday: Your tempo run today is 50 minutes, and by now you should know the routine of how to gradually accelerate to near race pace, hold, then decelerate. But 50 minutes is a chunk of time, even for advanced runners. Go too much farther in a tempo run, and you lose some of the speed benefits of the workout. Even after this training program is completed, you may want to keep a tempo run of about this length of time in your training repertoire. Along with the interval training programmed for Wednesdays, tempo runs do the most for maximizing potential.

Wednesday: On the track today, run 10 x 400 meters in 1500/mile pace, walking or jogging 400 between. Depending on how you feel, you might want to program breaks into your workout: taking extra time between the first set of 5 x 400 and the second set of 5 x 400. Or break twice: once after the fourth set and once after the seventh set. Are these back-to-back hard workouts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays too difficult to accomplish? You could flip-flop workouts and save this for Thursday, but remember: This is the advanced schedule. Wimps don't belong. Tough training comes with the territory.

Thursday: Run 6 miles. You don't need to (in fact, shouldn't) run this workout fast. (You've just come off two days of tough training.) Most important is to get out and cover the distance at a comfortable pace. This is father than you will run in your 8-K race, and I'm asking you to run it on a weekday. Distance is less a problem with advanced runners; time is. It's not easy always to find time to run close to an hour a day, but it's essential if you want to achieve a peak performance.

Friday: Rest is particularly important in this penultimate week of the 8-K training program. I have your longest run planned for you over the weekend. That being the case, you might want to skip the 3-miler you might otherwise have done today and opt for complete rest.

Saturday: Today's pace run is 5 miles with 3 of those miles at or near race pace. What do you plan to eat for dinner tonight? You might experiment with the meal you plan to have 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's run is 8 miles, several miles further than your race distance. Coupled with yesterday's pace run and the hard workouts earlier in the week, that's a lot of stress. 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. For those running the Shuffle, this is your final tune-up for success. Note also that this is designated as a "3/1" workout, meaning that you run the first ¾ of the distance (6 miles) at your usual relaxed, long-run pace, then run the final ¼ of the distance (2 miles) at an up tempo. No sprinting at the end, but finish strong. Next week, we taper.

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.

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