I am running an 8k in mid April and would like a good workout routine that will help me prepare for this. I am 21 years old and am already in good shape. I usually do weight training on a daily basis now, and only run mainly in the summer. I am really looking for a workout that will help improve my stamina with running but don't want to get too thin and lose a lot of muscle mass. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
okay, we'll assume THIS mid-april (2012). part of your proposed program depends on “where you are” NOW. we'll, again, assume that you can at least jog a few miles without difficulty. let's START with your race date! a week BEFORE the race, you should either run an 8k on a course or conditions similar to actual, but at, say 75 – 80% of your fastest (at that time) effort and pace. That way, you'll know you'll do faster next week. how do we get to that point? we BUILD. each week up to the week before your race/goal, you should run further each week than the week before. you should run about 4 (okay, 5 or 6 if you are not excessively tired and in no danger of burning out) times a week. personally, i like to alternate short distances (at a faster pace), then the next workout is long, at a slower pace. “short” and “long” are subject to definition. let's say RIGHT NOW you can go out and run 2 miles about as fast as you can. rest a day, then the day after you go 3.0 or 3.5 at a slow relaxed pace. either the next day (or after a rest day) you go out and if you can run 2.5 miles somewhat hard (or that same 2 mile course slightly faster than before). couple days later (no more than that!) gradually work your way up to 6, maybe 7 (would be ideal) miles on your slow workout days. you're 21. let's hope you're biomechanically sound and can handle pavement workouts. but, either way, if you feel “too pounded,” find a grassy, dirt, (non-pave/cement) pedestrian trail or road for at least one long workout a week. i run intervals at a rubberized-asphalt track and don't notice “feeling pounded” after those workouts. (you could incorporate an interval workout into your regimen, once a week at most, though).