Your aim in following this schedule should just be overall consistency! If you find the mileage is too much for you, just back it down and shave off a few miles from the workout and adjust your goals. Focus on being in better shape than when you started. Make the program work for you.
Please see below for instructions regarding how to use the workout program.
Runs: The runs of 3-6 miles on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are designed to be done at a comfortable pace. If you can't carry on a conversation, you're running too fast. For those who use heart monitors to measure their level of exertion, you would be running between 65 to 75 percent of maximum. In other words, run easy. If you want to run with others, be cautious that they don't push you to run faster than planned.
Rest: Rest is an important part of your training. Thursday is always a rest day. Be realistic about your fatigue level and don't feel guilty if you decide to take an additional day off. Just be overall consistent in fighting to get in your workout. As you consider your schedule from week to week and you know that one of your “Training Days” will be extra busy and one of your “Rest” days will be more open, go ahead and switch those days.
Tempo Runs: A tempo run is a continuous run with a buildup in the middle to near race pace. (Notice I said "near" race pace. You don't want to go faster than your 10-K race pace.) In this program, tempo runs are scheduled for every other Tuesday, alternating with interval training on the track. A tempo run of 30 to 40 minutes would begin with 10-15 minutes easy running, build to 10-20 minutes near the middle, then 5-10 minutes easy toward the end. The pace buildup should be gradual, not sudden, with peak speed coming about two-thirds into the workout and only for a few minutes. You can do tempo runs almost anywhere: on the road, on trails or even on a track. Alternatively you can do a fartlek instead of a tempo run.
Speedwork: If you want to race at a fast pace, you need to train at a fast pace. Interval training where you alternate fast running with jogging or walking is a very effective form of speedwork. The training schedule includes interval training featuring 3 minute repeats every other week, alternating with the tempo runs discussed above. Run those 3 minutes at about 75 percent. Walk or jog between each repeat.
Stretch & Strengthen: Also important as part of the warm-up is stretching. Don't overlook it--particularly on days when you plan to run fast. Strength training is important too: push-ups, pull-ups, use of free weights or working out with various machines at a fitness club. Runners generally benefit if they combine light weights with a high number of repetitions, rather than pumping very heavy iron. Sundays and Wednesdays would be good days to combine stretching and strengthening with your easy run, however, you can schedule Stretch & Strengthen on any day that is convenient for your business and personal schedule.
Cross-Training: On the schedule, this is identified simply as "cross." What form of cross-training works best for runners preparing for a 10-K race? It could be swimming, or cycling, walking, other forms of aerobic training or some combination that could include strength training. And feel free to throw in some jogging as well if you're feeling good. What cross-training you select depends on your personal preference. But don't make the mistake of cross-training too vigorously. Cross-training days should be considered easy days that allow you to recover from the running you do the rest of the week.
Long Runs: This schedule suggests a slight increase in distance as you get closer to race date: from 4 to 8 miles. Don't get hung up on running these workouts too fast. Run at a comfortable, conversational pace.
The schedule and explanation above was adapted from a Hal Higdon Training Program.