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Slowtwitch Forums: Triathlon Forum:
Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong??

 

   


sabot

Sep 9, 11 6:36

Post #1 of 22 (8148 views)
Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? Quote | Reply

I'm training for the San Antonio Rock and Roll marathon (my first marathon). I've done several triathlons, with a half iron i did in October of last year. I had questions earlier about marathon training pertaining to my legs being sore. I have looked at different training plans to switch to. From what i gather from athletes here on ST your weekly mileage (when added together) should be significantly more than your long runs on the weekends. The training plans i've found from Hal Higdon (who has been reccomended by several friends) have the weekly mileage nearly the same as the long runs when added up.The plan is a novice 2. Is this type of training from Hal outdated? Is he full of crap? I'm confused.


snackchair

Sep 9, 11 6:59

Post #2 of 22 (8097 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

A lot of the 'beginner' marathon plans are designed to just get the athlete to the finish. So basically you do some running during the week, then a crazy ass long run on the weekend that probably takes a beginner runner up to 3+ hours to do.


This is pretty contradictory to standard distance running training. Conventional wisdom has the long run usually equal to 20-25% of the weekly mileage. So your typical distance runner may be hitting 15-20 miles on their long run. If you're putting in solid mileage the rest of the week, a 2 hr long run every week (some weeks slow, some weeks fast, some weeks progression) is as long as you need to go. I don't know any runners who go longer than 2:30. If the rest of your training is at an appropriate volume, the long run is really just the icing on the cake. It's the foundation (cake) you really need to worry about. Icing by itself is pretty gross.

So in a sense, yes it's 'wrong' from an ideal training standpoint, but since very few people are doing the mileage necessary to really prepare for a marathon, it may be acceptable or appropriate for a person's needs/background/fitness/goals.


Also.... isn't that race this weekend???????

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(This post was edited by snackchair on Sep 9, 11 7:00)


RFXCrunner

Sep 9, 11 7:13

Post #3 of 22 (8059 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [snackchair] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm mostly in agreement with snackchair- Higdons plans have worked for many thousands of beginner runners who don't have the ability or the energy to commit to full time training. If you want to train like a runner, your long run should be in that 20-25% of your weekly mileage range.

The problem with this setup: you only get a decent long run if your weekly mileage is more than 80mpw. Training specifically for a marathon means your long run should get up to 20+ miles at least once during training, because long runs like that are the foundation of a good marathon no matter what speed you run. Most people aren't durable enough to bang out 90+ mile weeks. I've done it before, and it is rough even if you are 100% healthy.

Were I coaching an amateur runner who is fairly new to the sport, but is willing to commit to running 13 out of every 14 days, I would probably have them start out with 20-25 mpw and build up to 45-60mpw (depending on their age, ability, injuries, etc). Long runs would start out around 6 or 7 miles, and would peak at 20 or thereabouts. The long run could be upwards of 1/3 of their weekly mileage during the heavy weeks, but never half.


thekid_duxc

Sep 9, 11 7:18

Post #4 of 22 (8037 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Hal's plans are great. But to the previous posters notes, they are for beginners. In addition, these workouts are generic at best created for hundreds of thousands of people. These workouts are created to fit the masses. Hal's workouts are not for the distance runner who is looking for something a little more tailored or custom.


lightheir

Sep 9, 11 7:34

Post #5 of 22 (7994 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Hal Higdon is a reputable coach and his programs work.

As said, most of his popular plans are aimed at beginners, and not at experienced or fast runners trying to PR. Not to say you can't on his plans, but far more BQers do it on Pfitiznger or similar.


MI TRI

Sep 9, 11 8:32

Post #6 of 22 (7900 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

2006 - Novice 1 = 3:09 (Detroit)
2008 - Intermediate II = 3:06 (Boston)
2010 - Advanced I = 2:53 (Detroit)

If he's wrong, ingnorance is bliss.

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sabot

Sep 9, 11 9:02

Post #7 of 22 (7820 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [MI TRI] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

ok, so that makes more sense. since i am a "beginner" as far as marathons go, i'm doing the right thing. If i ever want to train to run a marathon hard and fast i should look at a "different" type of training, not that Hal's is wrong, it's just right for me at this time, is that correct? . The race is November 13th.


morey000

Sep 9, 11 9:39

Post #8 of 22 (7758 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

sabot wrote:
ok, so that makes more sense. since i am a "beginner" as far as marathons go, i'm doing the right thing. If i ever want to train to run a marathon hard and fast i should look at a "different" type of training, not that Hal's is wrong, it's just right for me at this time, is that correct? . The race is November 13th.

"beginner" methinks has more to do with how many miles per week you've been averaging for the last 6 months, than if you've ever done a marathon before. If you've got a solid base of 35-40 mpw, without injury for the past few months, you aren't a 'beginner'. If you're coming into the plan with 12 mpw and expect to run a 'hard and fast' marathon 2 months from now, there's no plan that will get you there.

so- pick a plan that at 9 weeks out from race day, has the same number of miles/week that you currently can do, and get in at least 1, 20 miler, if not 3 or 4 pretty close to that distance, and you'll make it.

Oh- "hard and fast" is how you run a 5K- not a marathon. You run a marathon easy... but because of all that training, fast becomes easy.


conomac

Sep 9, 11 9:46

Post #9 of 22 (7743 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [snackchair] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Most beginning marathoners I know seem to go from couch to marathon training...e.g. complete inactivity, no base, to 25+ mpw. Whatever program they do ends up being tough, injury prone, etc. Higdon's assume base mileage, but rarely do I hear of anyone who goes in with the appropriate prerequisites. I think if one did, the plans would be pretty good.


snackchair

Sep 9, 11 9:59

Post #10 of 22 (7702 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [RFXCrunner] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Agreed, the 20-25% is not a hard and fast rule... just a general estimate. It works well for highschool or college guys running 35-90 mpw.... at the extreme ends though it starts to fall apart. Obviously a guy running 140 mpw is not doing a 35 mile long run on Sunday.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is a triathlete who may be running 30-60 mpw, their long run makes up a higher percentage of their weekly mileage bc you're balancing the other two sports - about 1/3 on a consistent weekly basis is about as high as I'd recommend in the build up, with maybe a few that are longer thrown in.

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lightheir

Sep 9, 11 10:11

Post #11 of 22 (7667 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [MI TRI] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

MI TRI wrote:
2006 - Novice 1 = 3:09 (Detroit)
2008 - Intermediate II = 3:06 (Boston)
2010 - Advanced I = 2:53 (Detroit)

If he's wrong, ingnorance is bliss.

That's a pretty fast pace for a 'Novice!'

My progression
Pre-Pfitzinger (40-50mpw): 4:09
Post Pfitzinger #1 6 months later, up to 70mpw: 3:25
Post-Pfitzinger 18 months later, worked up to 85mpw: 3:11


Oregondave

Sep 9, 11 10:13

Post #12 of 22 (7653 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I've used Higdon's plans on several marathons. They work. He's coached runners for several decades.

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sloarunner99

Sep 9, 11 10:14

Post #13 of 22 (7650 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [snackchair] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I realize we are each unique in how we respond to training and all plans need to be somewhat custom, but I am going to ask this anyway. What have you found as the best training methodology or plan for an experienced runner (meaning lots of slow, long miles) looking to run a 3:00 marathon?


sabot

Sep 9, 11 10:46

Post #14 of 22 (7593 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sloarunner99] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

i think i'm good now. i'll stick with the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan. I noticed this plan also has recovery weeks every three weeks as opposed to every four like my other plan had, which i think will be better for me. Thanks guys.


SeasonsChange

Sep 9, 11 11:09

Post #15 of 22 (7538 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

yes. i wouldnt recommend hal higdons plan to anyone.


lightheir

Sep 9, 11 11:26

Post #16 of 22 (7499 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sloarunner99] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

sloarunner99 wrote:
I realize we are each unique in how we respond to training and all plans need to be somewhat custom, but I am going to ask this anyway. What have you found as the best training methodology or plan for an experienced runner (meaning lots of slow, long miles) looking to run a 3:00 marathon?

I don't have hard data to prove it, but having lived on a few runners forums for a few years, Pete Pfitzinger's 'Advanced Marathoning' Book, and in particular, his 55-70mpw 18 week plan, is possibly one of the most commonly used ones to successfully BQ or to run about a 3hr marathon. There are literally thousands of people on this plan, and when you're doing that much running, you're going to be pretty good. Hard, no shortcuts, but ramps up appropriately to avoid overtraining. There are a few weeks in teh middle where you might despair, but when you get through, you make huge running breakthroughs.


WX

Sep 9, 11 12:46

Post #17 of 22 (7390 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [lightheir] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

lightheir wrote:
sloarunner99 wrote:
I realize we are each unique in how we respond to training and all plans need to be somewhat custom, but I am going to ask this anyway. What have you found as the best training methodology or plan for an experienced runner (meaning lots of slow, long miles) looking to run a 3:00 marathon?


I don't have hard data to prove it, but having lived on a few runners forums for a few years, Pete Pfitzinger's 'Advanced Marathoning' Book, and in particular, his 55-70mpw 18 week plan, is possibly one of the most commonly used ones to successfully BQ or to run about a 3hr marathon. There are literally thousands of people on this plan, and when you're doing that much running, you're going to be pretty good. Hard, no shortcuts, but ramps up appropriately to avoid overtraining. There are a few weeks in teh middle where you might despair, but when you get through, you make huge running breakthroughs.

I'll second Pfitz's plan to get you from 3:10-ish to sub 3 hour marathons. It has worked for me and others that I know. The key to Pfitz's plans is the mid-week semi-long run. If you aren't able to do 13-15 in the middle of the week (due to work, life, other obligations) then you're losing one of his core tenets for training.

The main difference between his plan and your LSD background is that he will make you do faster work ~2 days per week. In the beginning, be careful you aren't rapidly increasing mileage as well as add speedwork. That has caused many people to get injured about 2 months in.


rhayden

Sep 9, 11 12:58

Post #18 of 22 (7357 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sloarunner99] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I've had some luck using a purchased plan from McMillan. I also have been using a coach and having her is more expensive no doubt but the training is really focused and I think I will have my best marathon ever in October.....I always have 3 hrs as goal but I anticipate being significantly under.


patf

Sep 9, 11 13:21

Post #19 of 22 (7306 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'd recommend Hal's programs/books to anyone, especially new runners doing there first marathons. His books and plans have gotten hundreds of thousands of people to the starting and finish lines. Pretty much everyone I know has used Hals plans at some point. If you come in with the recommended 25 mpw base, they are realatively easy and ramp-up to a level that will get most people ready to finish a marathon without the injuries that might keep them from getting to the starting line.

From my experience, on 40mpw, those last 6 miles are a whole lot harder in the race than they were when I was running 70mpw. but if you follow the plans as closely as possible, then you will be able to get to the finish.


Chris G

Sep 9, 11 13:47

Post #20 of 22 (7256 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I used his book when I ran my first marathon back in 2004. Crushed it 4:08 ;-)

Nothing at all wrong with his plan or his advice.


DFWTri

Sep 9, 11 14:09

Post #21 of 22 (7215 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [sabot] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I have been using the HH Adv II program leading up to Twin Cities. It's focus is more on speed workouts during the week vs an in week mid-long run.

Has anyone tried them both, Adv I vs II, and had felt like they had better results with one?

This weekend is my last 10+20miler...not really sure if i am where i want to be, only have 3x 50+mile weeks.

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npage148

Sep 9, 11 14:22

Post #22 of 22 (7189 views)
Re: Hal Higdon's training plans, are they wrong?? [DFWTri] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm using advanced 1 and got my last 10/20 this weekend too. My average mileage before starting the plan was 25-40mpw since December. If it makes you feel better I ran a 1:00:30 15k on Monday, it was a 5 year PR and way faster than I would have run last year (I ran a 36m 8k in november 10). I felt very strong during the race adn had no issues holding 6:30 miles. So hopefully that bodes well for my marathon in 3 weeks

   
 
 
 



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