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8-K Training Guide - Advanced Program - Week 8

Monday: It's time to taper. In my marathon training program, I ask runners to spend the last three weeks of an 18-week program tapering and regaining strength so they can run the race. In an eight-week 8-K program it seems appropriate to taper the final week. If yesterday's 8-miler seemed difficult to you, that's because it came at the end of a hard week of training. The Shamrock Shuffle will come at the end of this easy week of training, and I think you'll find being rested will allow you to both finish and enjoy what is a truly great race. Today is the day you stretch and strengthen after a 3-mile run. But don't pump iron too hard; you should taper your strength training too.

Tuesday: In keeping with the tapering theme of this week, today's tempo run is only 30 minutes. Your mid-workout pace should still be about as fast as in previous weeks; you simply stop sooner.

Wednesday: Today's interval workout takes a drop down: 5 x 400 meters with a 400/walk/jog between. Usually in any taper, I tell runners to maintain the quality (i.e., pace) of their workouts, while cutting the quantity (i.e., distance).

Thursday: The 3 miles run today is a cutback from the 6-miler you did last week. Don't get frisky and try to pick up the pace. Keep this one gentle. Also, skip the weights today. Rest might be more appropriate if your race is Saturday.

Friday: Depending on how you feel, you can either rest for Sunday's race or run anywhere from 1 to 3 miles. Frequently I will rest two days before the race, then on the day before do 3-4 easy strides in the middle of a run that length. In other words, jog a mile or so. Stop. Stretch. Run 100 meters (walking between) 3-4 times at race pace. Stretch some more. Finish by jogging another mile or so. Hopefully, as an advanced runner, you already have settled on a pre-race tapering routine that works best for you.

Saturday: Rest today. Pick as food choice for dinner something that will be easily digested. Tonight is probably not the night for prime ribs or chili and beans. Get a good night's sleep, but don't worry if you have a hard time getting to sleep because of nervous anticipation. That's natural. The sleep that you stored up during the week will send you to the starting line well rested.

Sunday: This is the day you prepared for: the Shamrock Shuffle. You'll be one of nearly 20,000 people standing on the starting line near in Grant Park with Chicago's magnificent skyline on your left and Buckingham Fountain and Lake Michigan on the right. The Shuffle utilizes the same start/finish area as The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, so is a good opener for the running season if you live in or near that city. If your peak race is a 10-K in two weeks, you might want to consider running a 5-K or 8-K as a final tune-up. Good luck. Smile when you cross the finish line. It will be a great experience. For some of those following my novice schedules, it will be the only road race they may run during their lifetimes. For others, the Shuffle will be a springboard to other races, perhaps to a marathon. If so, be sure to check my Marathon Training Guide for an 18-week program to prepare you for that popular race. Others may want to drop down in distance to a 5-K. I hope this training program was useful in preparing you for the Shamrock Shuffle.

Run Fast: Beware overtraining. If you train too hard, you may compromise your performance because of excessive fatigue--or you may even become injured. Warning signs for overtrained runners are restlessness at night, a slightly elevated pulse rate just before rising, or dead legs and a general feeling of fatigue. Race times suffer, too. You're likely to catch colds because of lowered resistance. A certain amount of muscle soreness and stiffness is a natural part of the training process, but if symptoms of fatigue persist for more than two or three days, don't take an aspirin or see a doctor as you might for that cold. The best advice is simply to cut mileage until you recover your pep.

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