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Conquering six-miles-plus is a challenge, but this easy-to-follow eight-week plan will give you the confidence and strength to cross the finish line.
You've done the distance; now it's time to beat the clock. Go from huffing and puffing to hauling butt with this speed-building plan.
Cross-Train: Do 20 to 30 minutes of no- or low-impact cardio: elliptical trainer, swimming, or cycling or Spinning at an easy-to-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.
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: Rev your stride rate. "Aim for 80 to 90 strikes for each foot per minute," McMillan says. That's about three footfalls a second.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July/August 2010.