Thursday, April 23, 2009

TIaRT: Boston and Marathon Madness

It's Thursday, which means it is time for Take It and Run Thursday! This week's theme is Boston and Marathon Madness:

Boston feels like the unofficial kickoff to this year's marathon season. In celebration of the start, we thought it would be helpful to collect training plans that you have used for marathon training and create a clearinghouse for training plans. Take a minute to jot down your plans or talk about your plans and then link them to the article so others can use and review them as they create their own.
I've trained for and completed two marathons: Marine Corps 2006 and Chicago 2007. For both marathons, I used Hal Higdon's Novice I training plan. I essentially ran four days per week, with a long run building up to one 20 mile run to top of a 40 mile week. He always had cross training for one day, but I admittedly never really cross trained. For Marine Corps, I was in marching band season, so I usually counted that as cross training. For Chicago, I was serving four to five days per week, so I counted that as cross training. Was it really cross training? Probably not, but when you're on your feet so much, it was nice to have an extra day off.

Hal recommends this program for people who are doing their first marathon and are looking to finish injury-free. For my first marathon, I didn't really know any better, so it sounded good to me. The plan came through and I finished without any pains, although the last five miles were pretty tough. When I was getting ready for my second marathon, I thought about upgrading to Hal's intermediate plan, but I hadn't been running as much prior to when training was supposed to start. (I graduated from college and then went on a three week tour of Europe...not exactly when I wanted to be focusing on marathon training!) Since my base was next to nothing, I stuck with the novice program one more time. Due to the toasty circumstances that were Chicago 2007, I'm not sure it really mattered which plan you followed!

In getting ready to do my third marathon (next weekend!), I decided that I wanted to do a plan with more mileage and definitely more than one twenty mile run. I've been usually Hal Higdon's Intermediate II training plan, which builds up to three 20 mile runs in 50 mile weeks. Since I switched my marathon last minute, I've only done two 20 milers, but I really think that Hal's weekend mileage will serve me well at my next marathon. Running ten miles the day before a twenty mile run definitely teaches your legs what it is like to run tired, and it also gives me the confidence to know that I can successfully run the distance come race day. I guess we'll know better how it works out in nine days!

For my next marathon (always planning ahead!), I think I'm going to try Pete Pfitzinger's programs. Many runners use Pfitz with a lot of success, and I think that adding speed work (tempo runs, intervals) into my marathon training will definitely give me a boost. Hal has advanced programs that include speedwork, but they include six days of running per week, and that is a bit too much for me!

I think that the best training plan is the one that works for YOU. You can run any number of miles per week, with or without speed work, run doubles, or cross train three days a week, but if it doesn't fit into your life, you aren't going to be happy and successful with your plan. Could we all run faster if we ran 100 mile weeks? Maybe, but I don't think I'm ever going to find out!

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Four miles today! We're nine days out from marathon day, so taper taper taper it is!

Thursday, April 23
4.12 miles in 32:07, avg pace of 7:48

It was a fantastic 65 degrees today, which would be a little too warm for me come race day. Weather.com is currently predicting rain for race day, but I'm hoping that will change before we get there!

18 comments:

  1. LOVE this post! I am going to try following a program to achieve my PR (I hope) this year! I heard great things about Pfitzinger's program from Aron, so I just ordered the book. The cool runnings website also has some great info. Good luck next week!!!

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  2. Oooh I hope you get good weather for your race!

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  3. Great advice!! I'm going to check out both plans for a marathon I am possibly thinking about doing in the fall!! Good luck next week!! I will be hoping for good weather for you!

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  4. I know - how am I ever going to last 26 miles if a 10k can't hold my attention??!

    I did the Hal Novice program too for my 1st marathon (also Chicago 07) but need to start thinking about what to use for my next, which is in Oct. this year. I need to investigate Pfitz, but look forward to hearing how it works for you!

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  5. Glad Hal worked out for you. I got hurt when I was on his plan and I think it had something to do with the number of miles he has you do, but I'm considering using his long run mileage as a base for my own customized training program for the Virginia Beach Half.

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  6. taper taper taper :) eeee we are getting close!

    sounds like Hal has done you good!! if you do decide to do Pfitz definitely let me know if you have any questions!

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  7. Nice! I'm glad to hear that Hal Higdon's programs worked for such a speedy, awesome runner (=you). I think I'm going to use his program as a base and add in some extras here and there for my first.

    Yay, taper time! Enjoy!

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  8. Ooh, I like those double runs in Higdon's Intermediate II. That will be perfect for the Goofy Challenge I've got scheduled. I might have to try this one!

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  9. With your speediness & awesomeness, I don't think you'll have any problems with Pfitz. Me, on the other hand - just looking at Pfitz gives me chest pain.

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  10. I like Pfitz. For me, I really need to run high mileage weeks and the only way to do that is to run 5 days. But, finding what works takes time. I can't believe your marathon is next week! You are so close.

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  11. I am definitely a Pfitz proponent. Through trial and error, I found that I could deal with a surprising amount of mileage and speedwork, as long as I was VERY honest on the recovery runs and LSD, i.e., did not run them too fast.

    About a week to go...GOOD LUCK!

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  12. I'm glad to read that you like Hal's plans. I am basing my 10k training of his novice plan and I like it so far :)

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  13. I've been using Hal's program for my half marathon, but he only has me run three days a week. Dave says that's not enough, so I'm going to incorporate the half-marathon training schedule from Runner's World for the last two months of my training. I feel like Hal's intermediate and advanced plans are great, but he almost needs a level between novice and intermediate, for people who want to be able to run at a good pace the whole time, but who lack the training/skills to do an intermediate program.

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  14. That's great! Way to step up to the intermediate training plan. Next you'll be on the expert training plan.

    I agree, the best training plan is the one that works best for you. Some runners need intervals on a track to ensure they push themselves hard enough while other runners can get a better work out from running a tempo run. I have also seen runners who are the opposite, they need more structure so they don't wear their body out. For instance, instead of playing tennis for "cross-training" they do hill repeats.

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  15. For both marathons I ended up doing only 2 20-milers, but I wanted to do 3. Hopefully next time I won't get injured during training.

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  16. I am so happy you shared this! I think I will be looking for some programs to follow soon, and it helps to have a few to compare!

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  17. I think Higdon is good for beginners, but to train at the next level, Pfitz is probably the better choice. I agree that different people work best with different programs.

    Sorry I've been gone for a short bit, but now am back. Best of luck in your marathon.

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