HADD training plan

After a long review of what plan to follow i Have decided to spend from now until Xmas and follow the HADD plan with the hope that by Xmas I will have built up the base to allow me to start a 16 week plan to get me through a spring marathon.

 I have entered some thoughts about  why I am doing it at my blog http://calfstrainsrus.wordpress.com/ and I am keen to hear from anybody who can offer me advice.

My plan is at first to get up to 40-45 mpw nearly all at MHR-50 which for me will be 118bpm (118-122) with a couple of X/C races thrown in over the next 8 weeks. I wil be doing a test this week to give me a baseline of performance.

If anybody has a plan they have built up feel free to send me a link



  • Johnny
    There was a very popular thread all about Hadd, etc titled "Base trainining help needed".  I just tried to search it out to provide the link, but search isn't working at present.

  • Just trying searching for it 40mins but it only allows one search apparently.

    There is a thread on US runners world forum but it is quite old and it is more about the theories than the practicalities.

    Today was my first day on the plan. I had calculated my easy HR as 125. MHR 168-25%. I had no idea what pace 125HR was turn out to be but it was not going to be that quick, which was not a bad thing.

     Where I work there are a lot of hills and so it was going to be difficult to find a flat route. Today was an undulating 4.1 miler where 125 was not to hard to keep to  (although my HR did seem to want to stay at 128 repeatedly) until I went uphill in which case it shot up to 130 and even a 135 on one hill.

    The average for the run was 125 with a MHR of 136.  The pace was quite steady and it probably means I can run with a couple of other runners at lunchtime who normally would be much slower.

     Tomorrow  will be 5-7 miles, maybe at the gym on a treadmill although I am not sure I can stand the boredom. Wednesday will probably be a 2400m * 5 test as per the plan but I will have to work out what HR bands to us.

    My max is 168 so I think that I wil have some problems sustaining 2400m at 160 at the moment. It  will have to be  traget HR of 120, 130,140,150,160 for each of the 2400m efforts with 90 seconds rest.

  • Best to use the  advanced searched in Google.

    eg Hadd site:runnersworld.co.uk

    gets lots of good threads

  • I follow "Hadd's" approach to training and am doing a marathon in less than 2 weeks time. I feel I've only scratched the surface and that there's plently more to come. 

    There's a big Hadd thread here: http://www.fetcheveryone.com/viewtopic.php?id=31192&page=1

    Unfortunately, "Hadd" (aka John Walsh) died last week of a heart attack whiel running, aged only 56.


  • Forum search now working again; here is the link to the thread that I posted about earlier.

    Sorry to hear of his early demise...

  • Cheers DrD and 40min  - will check that fetcheveryone thread out. Not really looked at that site before.

    Today was a battle to keep HR down - average of 131 over 5.21 miles. Bit of a tough day at work so I am not surprised it was higher.

    Recently started blog


  • I made big strides having read the Hadd stuff. It motivated me to run 7 days per week. I was a little sceptical at first, as the schedule I followed had no fast running in it. I guess this fact means that you can run for longer because of not needing "recovery runs". This obviously meant more miles eventually too. Generally the 65-70% runs initially are quite slow, infact runners starting the hadd stuff regularly referred to these as almost walking. But once these extend to 70mins duration on a regular basis, the pace for the HR increases, as the lactate threshold rises.

    Also I remember (I started Hadd in 2005) being thoroughly enthused and motivated by the novelty that running for time and HR brought, rather than thinking about speed and distance.

    The big improvement for me came when I added the 2 90min runs. 10mins warm-up, 70mins@80%, 10mins warm-down. These sessions, I believe, were key to me improving my marathon time. 

  • The most amazing thing was, when it came to racing. I was nervous having done about 12 weeks of Hadd, and the realisation that I would be running at an intensity that I had't gone any where near in the last 3 months!!!!!

    But needless to say, once the legs got going, the race went well. And having finished felt as if I could've done another 10k!!

    I would thoroughly recommend the Hadd stuff, especially for beginners, and definitely for those wishing to step up to, or improve their marathon times.

  • Brian. wrote (see)

    The big improvement for me came when I added the 2 90min runs. 10mins warm-up, 70mins@80%, 10mins warm-down. These sessions, I believe, were key to me improving my marathon time. 

    I agree ... these sessions are pretty tough but bring big rewards. But you need to have a good weekly mileage going for a while first in order to cope with them.
  • All good stuff. I checked out the fetcheveryone thread - well about a third of it because it was so long. There seems to be 2 or 3 knowledgeable posters (Boab, Dr.Dan and Happy Panda from memory) but there was a lot of waffle the further I got into the thread.

    Brian makes an interesting point, which must be something that anybody starting out on Hadd thinks about. How do I run fast after 12 weeks of slow running. It seems to have worked for him.

     I did my first benchmark tonight and I don't really know what to make of it.

    2400m at 110,120,130,140 and 150bpm. 90 seconds rest (it was more like 2 minutes though) . All done on the treadmill which will give me consistency of conditions over time.

    Zone   AHR  Time  Pace

    110     108  15:31  10:21  - seemed very slow and it was

    120     118  13:19  08:53 - more comfortable

    130     131  12:14  08:09 - felt like a decent pace at last

    140     140  11:04  07:23 - definitely working

    150     137 10:04   06:48. - impossible to get my HR to150. I ran the last mile (or more) at 6:18 pace and yet did not get above 147. I could not have pushed much more without sprinting. On Sunday I ran a 5 miler in 7:30 pace with an average HR of 141 and a max of 153. Today a mile at  6:18 only gave me147 max. What gives.

     I am not sure what the above tells me about my current fitness levels but I knew I had done a good work at at the end. 7.5 miles in the bag. Any thoughts appreciated

  • Well I've just spent a reasonably long time re-reading the original 25 page HADD training document and I think I'll be using it in some shape or form in my come-back to running fitness.  Watch this space, but I'm a good few weeks off strapping on the Garmin and squeezing that toothpaste tube just yet.


  • JB - sorry, just read your post.  I've never put HADD training into actual practise so others may have more to say about your stats based on experience, but I do understand a bit about HR.  IMO it's no great surprise that you couldn't get up to target HR over the course of a mile if most of the previous running had been at a relatively easier pace.  You're bound to be able to hit higher HR over a continuous, maximal 5 mile effort.

    One thing I do understand about HADD training is the need for perserverance, patience and consistency.  I can only suggest you stick with the easy paced training, repeat the test further down the line as prescribed and see how the stats compare.

  • Phil makes a good point about the time required to get the HR up to a decent level. Also the fact that you took longer recoveries would affect it, as the Hr would've dropped a few more beats in the extra 30s or so.

    It's a start JB. Now to start your training. First things first - concentrate on building the lower intensity runs up to a minimum of 70mins duration. Then add in the 2 90min runs.

  • DR Dan, yes I agree on the weekly mileage. Infact may be better to just incorporate 1 90min run initially, whilst building the fitness. Then adding the 2nd later?

  • Removed duplicate

  • Brian. wrote (see)

    DR Dan, yes I agree on the weekly mileage. Infact may be better to just incorporate 1 90min run initially, whilst building the fitness. Then adding the 2nd later?

    That may be the way to start ... ar perhaps to do two sessions but keep them shorter. I jumped in to the ILTHR sessions (12 miles, with 10.5 miles at sub-LT) once I was running 50 mpw but was probably not quite ready. May and June showed great improvement in average pace for HR (145 bpm is my 81-82% maxHR) and the drift came down. I over-did things in June however ... 250+ miles running (but also 136 miles on the bike and 6.5 mills of front crawl) and ended up with a hamstring niggle which meant July was reduced down to just 95 miles. However, I think you can see the progress (the two in brackets are on a different route, the rest are identical) ... drift came right down and I feel that had I continued in July, things might have improved further.

    23/05/2011   7:39/m 145 bpm
    (31/05/2011  7:39/m 144)
    07/06/2011   7:29/m 144
    10/06/2011   7:24/m 144
    14/06/2011   7:31/m 143
    17/06/2011   7:13/m 143
    21/06/2011   7:13/m 143
    24/06/2011   7:14/m 139
    11/07/2011   7:20/m 145
    15/07/2011   7:14/m 145

    After niggly July, I had to concentrate on getting my mileage back up ... and especially my long runs as I have a mara in October. So the sub-LT sessions took 2nd place and became more infrequent to ensure my legs were able to get me around the long runs.

    19/08/2011   7:14/m 144
    26/08/2011   7:07/m 144
    09/09/2011 7:16/m 145
    21/09/2011 7:21/m 140
    (27/09/2011 7:36/m 140)

    I'm hopeful that the mileage over August and September has left me more robust and that, if I recover from the mara, I'll be able to pick up the sub-LT sessiosn again.

  • PhilPub wrote (see)

    Well I've just spent a reasonably long time re-reading the original 25 page HADD training document and I think I'll be using it in some shape or form in my come-back to running fitness.  Watch this space, but I'm a good few weeks off strapping on the Garmin and squeezing that toothpaste tube just yet.


    Looking forward to seeing you progress PP! image
  • DrD, What I found with the 80% runs was when I did them regularly, the initial improvemnt was
    quick but after about 4 to 5 weeks of one per week, the improvement decreased, and I hit a plateau pace.
    At this point, if I was training for a marathon, I would up these runs to 83/84% and this would normally equate to my eventual marathon pace.
    I haven't been doing the 80% runs hardly at all, similar reasons to you, I have been injured Feb to June, and then after gradually building back the mileage (I am doing Abingdon marathon in 2 weeks - eek!!!!), I was distracted by the need to get in the longer runs and found it difficult recovering enough to fit them in.

    I am also entered into VLM 2012, so I will definitely incorporate the 80% runs into my build-up to the spring marathon.

  • Dr.Dan wrote (see)
    Looking forward to seeing you progress PP! image

    Me too, Dr.D.  It will definitely be an exercise in patience because part of me is itching to get back to training with my old club 'b' group, which has been flourishing in my absence, but I want to be in tip-top aerobic condition before I set foot on a track again.  HADD might just give me the discipline I need to get there.

    Looking at the racing calendar, I've already completely discounted any XC - I can't see all that up and down being much good for hip injury rehab anyway - so effectively I've got a good few months to make a sensible build-up to target Spring/Summer road racing.

  • Phil, good luck with the rehab. As you say, patience is the key. I know all about that given my PF problems this year. How long have you been out? Have you piled the weight on?
  • Hi Bri!

    Give or take the odd try-out I've not run properly since end of last year. Without weighing myself regularly I reckon I put on a couple of stone image at worst, but around half of this has come off over the past 4/5 months over which time I've managed 2,000 or so miles on the bike and regular gym work.  I'm gonna keep the cycling up and will be racing on the track next year so in a way this will help with building the running back up at a sensible rate, cos I can stay in reasonable aerobic shape in the mean time.

  • Wow! Great discipline and focus to get on the bike. Wish I was able to focus like that - I tend to sulk when I'm injured. So the comeback is always that much harder.

    So I guess you intend to do run-bike-run events, are they duathlons?

  • Well I spent the first few months sulking so that's why I needed to step up the cycling!  I'm looking forward to racing on the bike in its own right but I'll definitely be targeting duathlons at some stage.  Done a couple already a few years ago and did OK, so if I can get my bike fitness close to my best running form I think I'd do OK.
  • Hows it going JohnnyBike?
  • Going very well, I was going to write an update after this weeks runs had completed (that will be 3 weeks on the plan).

     It has allowed to me to  increase my mileage from 30 -33 to 36 and then 41 last week which is the most for about 10 years at least. The slower rate has also meant that I have not been as tired as I would have.

     I am struggling to keep to the HR (125  - 75%) other than when I am on the treadmill  and I am also struggling to find the additional time that running seems to require. My Hadd seems to be about 8:30-8:45 mins / mile when previously I  would have been running about a minute faster That does not sound like too much but it prohibts me doing a 5.3 mile run at lunchtime (which is particularly hilly - Brian you will know the route from the bottom at Calverley past the golf courses to Thornbury Baracks) because I would have to run about 11 min miles to keep my HR within bounds and I do not have the time.

    Saying all that I am very pleased with progress and will be remaining on the plan for the six weeks I committed to and probably for another 6 weeks after that.


  • JB, Thats good news. Try to stick at the lower intensity (this is where the big initial aerobic gains are to be hadd) even though you think yo may be going too slow. Remember, miles and pace are incidental. The key factors in this type of training are time and HR.

    Do you do do all your running on a lunchtime from work? I ask because this type of plan will draw much more improvement if you can build up to 70mins.

    You've read the Hadd document so you will be aware of the toothpaste analogy which I think sums it up perfectly. You are squeezing right at the bottom of the tube at the moment. Get right into the bottom corners and make sure you don't leave any toothpaste behind.

    It's so easy to worry about the races you have coming up. Obviously you will be running at a much higher intensity than you have trained at for a while. But surprisingly you will be amazed at how comfy you feel. It may take a little while longer than normal to get the legs going, but you will be able to achieve reasonable results despite the lack of speed. Plus you will generally feel better than normal following the race, maybe even to feeling able to keep going after the finish.

    Remember - forget about miles and mileage. Think about time and HR. I generally used to run outandback courses, as this made it easier to achieve the required time. Also, take a split when you turn, and then try and keep at the same HR. There will inevitably be cardiac drift, but this type of training will eventually cut that to a minimum.

  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭
    Great advice from Brian. You guys must be local to me as I recognised Calverley and Thornton Barrack ... I'm in Horsforth.image
  • Dr Dan, yes you are local to us. I'm in eccleshill. JB works at Morrisons HQ on Gain Lane. I know JB from when he used to work in Leeds Centre and we ran together on the canal at lunchtimes. The routes JB takes from work takes in early parts of Leg-4 of the Leeds Country Way. Small world.

    What is your focus, and how is the training going?

  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    Small world indeed ... I work in central Leeds and often use the canal at lunchtimes. During the recent Hadd phase, I've tended to do all my easy runs on the canal and my ILTHR sessions as laps of Hyde Park (I like having the lap repeats for monitoring drift).

    I've just run the Chester marathon, so have had this week off and now hope to spend the next 5 weeks getting some quality work in for the Abbey Dash. After that it will be back to Hadd ... probably aiming for Brass Monkey, Snake Lane, Bradford 10K, Manchester marathon, Leeds HM for 2011 (although not entered any of these yet).

  • Theres a few of us meet at the bridge on Whitehall Road at 12:20. Sometimes run the golf courses, most of the time just do flat outnbacks. Will probably have seen you a few times.

    How did you do at Chester? I heard it was windy.

    I'm doing Abingdon the day after tomorrow (Gulp!!!)

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