Editor’s Note: This article is part of Run College: 6 Weeks to a Faster You. This instructional content is available exclusively to Outside+ members. You can read more about the course and its offerings here. Already a member? Register here.
Thanks for joining us. Whether you’re a cheetah or a turtle we can help you get faster in just six weeks.
Sound too good to be true? Like some late night infomercial? No, we’re serious.
With the training plan and drills this program offers, you’ll see pace gains in:
- 42 days
- A month and a half
- Six weeks
Whichever way you want to think about the time commitment, with the planning and motivation this course offers, you’ll be strapping on the metaphorical rocket boosters and blasting off in no time.
We have complete confidence in you! We see your inner speed demon–plus, we found the perfect coach to guide you through the transition to a faster you.
Dr. Tom Schwartz is a USA Track & Field Level 3 and International Association of Athletics Federations Level 5 Endurance Coach, with more than 30 years of experience coaching runners and other endurance athletes. His winning strategies combine the latest training science with 20 years of personal competitive running experience. He earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in exercise science, a master’s degree in business administration, and has recently finished his PhD. Schwartz has coached numerous National Qualifiers and World Championship Qualifiers, by focusing on optimal training to improve performance and minimize injury and burnout.
Pretty cool, right? We’re betting Tom’s expertise, combined with your drive for a PR will ensure the sweet smell of success at the finish line… and no, we don’t mean the scent of bananas wafting from the refueling zone.
Ah, there’s Tom now. Let’s get you introduced.Section divider
Meet TomSection divider
And now a word from our legal team:
Please consult a doctor before beginning any form of exercise, including this program. If something does not feel right in your body, or you experience any pain while performing the exercises in this course, stop immediately and consult your doctor. We can’t guarantee that this program is safe for every individual. Any liabilities associated with the use of this course and its exercises and workouts are expressly disclaimed.Section divider
As Tom mentioned, this course meets you where you are. We’ve designed the program for every type of runner, and while you’ll definitely see improvements after going through your first 6-week cycle, you’ll see even more gains if you do additional rounds of the training plan.
Speaking of which, we’ve laid it all out for you–which workouts you need to do on which days for the entire program. You’ve got a schedule, so no need to stress about what to do when. Which means we’ll spend the rest of the course introducing you to the types of workouts you’ll be doing and what’s involved in each category.
We’ve broken these down into:
- Technical Drills
- Strength Training Exercises
- Hopping and Plyometric Exercises
- Sprinting and Hill Training
Tom will explain why each category of training is vital to improving your speed. He’ll also share his expertise on winning the mental game to avoid burnout and prevent injury.Section divider
Tom designed this program for maximum benefits. There’s a schedule for beginning, intermediate and advanced runners. Remember that while you may be advanced at technical drills or strength training, you might be a beginner at hill workouts or plyometrics. That’s perfectly okay. Just realistically evaluate your skill level for each type of training and mix and match to meet your unique needs. And, while you may be a beginner your first time through, you’ll quickly advance as you gain strength and skill.
We’ve even included tips for what to do when life gets in the way and you miss a workout or two.
A couple of important notes:
- Strength exercises should be done on the same days as harder running workouts. Either do strength training several hours before a running workout, or right after a running workout. Strength training should never be done immediately before running that focuses on aerobic development.
- Technical drills should be done at least on the sprint or hill rep training days as a component of the warmup. The drills can also be performed on other days, but it is wise to not do technical drills more than two days in a row if you are in the Beginner or Intermediate categories. Advanced runners can perform drills 5-6 times per week, although the drills should be less in volume (fewer reps, or shorter durations or distances of the reps). In other words, it is wise to vary the stress level of the drills–meaning change up the number of reps, the distance or the duration of the reps, and vary the rest break between reps.
- Jumping exercises (hopping, bounding, or plyometrics) should be done on the key sprint/hill rep days. Ideally, they should be done at least four hours before or after the sprints/hill reps, along with strength training, so as to give space and ample recovery time in between the high quality training. Never do the jumping exercises on easy days! You can do the jumping exercises (along with strength training) on a separate day from the sprint training days as long as there are 48 hours separating it from the sprints or hill rep training.
Yikes, does that sound a little complicated? We’ve got you covered. Check out the training descriptions and the easy-to-follow calendar below.
You’ve got this!
What You’ll Need
We’ve designed this course with minimal gear needs. Tom also shares ideas for modifications later in the workouts.
- Comfortable workout clothes and running shoes
- Hand Weights
- Flat stretch of track, road or trail for sprint training
- Hilly terrain or treadmill with incline controls for hill workouts
- A willingness to incrementally challenge yourself while maintaining an attitude of curiosity, not judgment. (You can tell that inner critic to go on a nice, long vacation. Say, six weeks?)