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Stick with this intermediate-to-advanced plan, which incorporates speed sessions into your weekly routine, and you'll hit a PR in no time.
Walk/Run: Alternate between walking and running for number of minutes specified in parentheses; continue for time listed.
Cross-Train: Do 20 to 30 minutes of no- or low-impact cardio: elliptical trainer, swimming, or cycling or Spinning at a moderate effort.
Long Run: Beginners, alternate between walking and running for number of minutes specified in parentheses; continue for time listed. Intermediate/advanced runners, go slightly slower than goal race pace for time listed.
Easy Run: Maintain a steady, moderate pace for time listed. Beginners, try not to walk: This is a chance to test your body and mind to see if they can go the distance.
Surges: Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes and then do number of surges listed, running at a quick pace for time specified, and a 2-minute recovery jog after each. Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.
Fast Finish (FF): Go at a steady, moderate pace for most of your run, then pick up speed at the end to a moderately fast pace for time listed in parentheses.
Time Trial: Run slightly faster than goal race pace for distance listed to build speed and stamina at the same time.
Race Tip: Breathe to the beat. "To optimize oxygen flow, breathe in for two steps -- left, right -- out for two steps," McMillan says.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July/August 2010.