WEEK 4Mon: Easy Run (30 to 40 mins)
Tue: Cruise Intervals (4 to 5 times 1,000 meters
Wed: Strength & Balance
Thur: Stride Workout (5 to 6 times 20 to 25 secs)
Fri: Easy Run (30 to 40 mins)
Sun: Race Day
Key thing to think about: It is important that you not change your routine or try new things this week. Focus on sleep, nutrition, and eliminating all possible daily stressors.
1. Long Runs These should be run at a conversational pace and on trail terrain similar to that of your race. Training specificity during your long run gives you the most bang for your buck.
2. Fast Finish Progression Run This is a dress rehearsal. Test your gear on the trails that you'll be running on race day. This workout should mimic your long run's steady pace, but in the last five minutes, increase your effort so that you are running faster than 5K race pace. Focus on your foot plant and practice weaving around obstacles on the trails without losing your momentum.
3. Hill Repeats An excellent way to strengthen the legs and increase the cardiovascular workload without stressing your joints. Find a hill with a 6 to 10 percent grade that you can ascend in 60 to 90 seconds. Jog back down to recover between reps. Each hill repeat should be run at an effort equivalent to your mile race pace, which translates to roughly a 5K race pace. Follow these expert hill running tips to improve your pace. If you do not have an appropriate hill nearby, use a treadmill, highway overpass, or parking garage.
More: Hill Running Made Easy
4. Tempo Intervals Run these at 10K race pace on an even, flat surface in order to maximize leg turnover. Recover for 4 to 5 minutes between intervals.
5. Cruise Intervals Run these on an even, flat surface as well. These intervals are shorter and slightly faster than your Tempo Intervals (roughly 8K pace). Recovery is 200 meters for 1,000 meter repeats.
6. Stride Workout Warm up thoroughly (try this seven-minute total body warm-up plan). Gradually build your speed as you progress through each stride. Focus on form and turnover. These are not all-out sprints. Cool down for 10 to 20 minutes.
7. Easy Runs Run at your natural pace. There is no need to push this workout. You should run on whatever surface is most convenient for you.
More: 3 Rules for Easy Runs
8. Off Days You can use these days as you wish—just no running. Cross-training (yoga, swimming, biking, rowing) is fine, but be sure to incorporate only very light cross-training as you approach race day.
9. Strength and balance training The key is to develop the muscles—particularly your hips, quads, glutes, and ankles—that aren't used enough during road running. This training also helps cultivate proprioception, or your awareness of your own body relative to its surroundings.
Balancing on One Leg Stand upright on one foot. Slightly bend the hip, knee, and ankle of the weighted leg. Keep your balance without having to catch yourself with your other leg. Build up to a minute or more. To make this exercise more difficult, try it with your eyes closed. Beginning in week three, start doing this exercise on a Bosu Ball.
One-Legged Squats Put all your weight on one leg and, with the unweighted leg behind you for balance and support, lower your body until the weighted knee reaches roughly 90 degrees, then slowly come back up. Try one to three sets of six to 12 reps. Once this feels comfortable, try the squat with your eyes closed. Beginning in week three, start doing this exercise on a Bosu Ball.