The Plan

by rchackman

I was surfing the web and decided to check out the Running subreddit to see what plans others recommend. I stumbled across a post, which then led me to the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 Marathon Plan

First, here are the plan’s guidelines:

Long runs: the key to the plan. Long runs on Sunday should be run at 30-90 sec per mile slower than marathon race pace. Walk breaks are perfectly acceptable as it is likely I will be walking through a few aid stations anyway.

3/1 Training: “Toward the end of the run, if you’re still feeling fresh, you may want to pick up the pace and finish somewhat faster. This will convert your long run into what I call a 3/1 Run. That means you run the first three-fourths of your long run (say the first 12 miles of a 16-miler) at an easy pace, then do the final one-fourth (4 miles of a 16-miler) at a somewhat faster pace–though still not race pace. This 3/1 strategy is advised for only the most experienced runners, and I don’t recommend you do it more than once out of every three weekends. In other words: first weekend, easy run; second weekend, 3/1 run; third weekend, step back to a shorter distance. My philosophy is that it’s better to run too slow during long runs, than too fast. The important point is that you cover the prescribed distance; how fast you cover it doesn’t matter.” (source linked above).

Midweek Training: Should be done at a comparatively easy pace.

Saturday “Race Pace”: Should be done at the pace you intend to run for the marathon!

Modifying the Program: Higdon warns that the plan can be modified but the weekend runs are key to the plan. Mess with those too much and you are not following the Higdon plan.

And, without further ado, the training plan:

Beginning ——-> Monday June  10th

1 Cross 3 m 5 m 3 m Rest 5 m pace 10
2 Cross 3 m 5 m 3 m Rest 5 m 11
3 Cross 3 m 6 m 3 m Rest 6 m pace 8
4 Cross 3 m 6 m 3 m Rest 6 m pace 13
5 Cross 3 m 7 m 3 m Rest 7 m 14
6 Cross 3 m 7 m 3 m Rest 7 m pace 10
7 Cross 4 m 8 m 4 m Rest 8 m pace 16
8 Cross 4 m 8 m 4 m Rest 8 m 17
9 Cross 4 m 9 m 4 m Rest Rest Half Marathon
10 Cross 4 m 9 m 4 m Rest 9 m pace 19
11 Cross 5 m 10m 5 m Rest 10m 20
12 Cross 5 m 6 m 5 m Rest 6 m pace 12
13 Cross 5 m 10 m 5 m Rest 10m pace 20
14 Cross 5 m 6 m 5 m Rest 6 m 12
15 Cross 5 m 10 m 5 m Rest 10m pace 20
16 Cross 5 m 8 m 5 m Rest 4 m pace 12
17 Cross 4 m 6 m 4 m Rest 4 m 8
18 Cross 3 m 4 m Rest Rest 2 m Marathon

Thoughts: I guess now would be a good time to figure out what “pace” I want to run at Chicago Marathon. This leads me to the next point… how am I going to determine what is realistic versus what I want? I mean, I would love to go under 3 hours but is that likely? I don’t think so. As such, I am using the first few weeks to determine exactly what I may be capable of doing. I have a solid base in training for IM 70.3 Florida, which took place May 19. I have used the few weeks since then to relax and get ready for the training push ahead. My only other two marathons came at the end of iron-distance triathlons. I have run a few half-marathons but I generally just threw them in there during triathlon training. My personal best in the half, which also happened to be the toughest course (most hilly), is 1:37:48, a roughly 7:20/mile pace. I want to put in a solid performance at Chicago but even with my background, I feel like a beginner again with more questions than I have answers at the moment. Perhaps I am overthinking it.

Using the times from my half-marathons and even my iron-marathons, I feel that I am capable of a 3:30 marathon and my goal time is just that. This works out to roughly 8 minutes/mile for the marathon and is the pace I plan to use on the Saturday “pace” runs.  Also, I am training in the South Florida summer heat and humidity, which will certainly come into play where pacing is concerned for the long runs. At the conclusion of each week, I will provide a breakdown of the week’s training, including the pacing for each of the week’s runs.