Whether you're a treadmill trotter or a road warrior, this training plan will get you across the finish line.
Designed by Kim Maxwell, a USA Track and Field coach and personal trainer in Minneapolis-St. Paul, this program won't make you drop everything for running. You'll log miles three days a week, cross-train three days a week, and rest the remaining day. The running workouts are focused and efficient, and because they're limited, your legs and head will stay fresh, making it less likely you'll become injured or burned out.
If you're a newbie, don't hesitate to mix walk breaks into your runs (for example, run two to three minutes, then walk 30 to 60 seconds). "What's important is that you're moving forward—it doesn't matter if it's walking or running," says Maxwell.
Do 30 minutes. Pick an activity that elevates your heart rate, such as biking, swimming, power walking, or using the elliptical.
TT: Time Trial
Warm up for one mile, running at a very easy pace. Then time yourself at a comfortably fast pace (not all-out) for two miles. Note your time and try to beat it at your next time trial.
R&R Run: Rest & Recovery Run
Run three to four miles at an easy pace. Every fourth week will be for recovery--a rejuvenating time to scale back intensity.
INT: Intervals, 3.5 Miles
Run one mile easy, then for the next two miles, alternate either one minute of harder effort with one minute of easy recovery jogging or two minutes of harder effort with one minute of jogging. Cool down with half a mile at an easy pace.
T: Tempo Runs, 3–4 Miles
Get ready to pick up the pace (you can talk, but no more than a few words at a time) for a portion of your workout. Do one mile at your normal pace, then add the tempo somewhere in the middle. Finish at your normal pace.