HADD training plan



  • Hi folks,
    I'm returning to the RW Forum after a long absence of 7 years or so! On the back of a PW in the Stroud Half last weekend I have decided to revisit Hadd's training techniques in the hope of getting back under 1:30 in the spring. I firstly used Hadd back in 2003/4 and after the initial shock of how hard it was keeping my HR under 143 (Resting HR 50, Max 183, so 143 was 70% working HR) I achieved some good results, peaking with a 1:22 half marathon. I have continued to run in the intervening years and I seem to have maintained a reasonable level of aerobic fitness. This year I've run a 41 min 10k and a 32:40 5 miler (ave HR 172) so was hopeful of going close to 1:30 at Stroud but couldn't keep up the required pace after half way and ended nearer 1:35.
    This week I have strapped the HRM on and run every day (4, 5, 6, 3) and have been pleased to see that I have been able to keep my HR down around 125 whilst running at around 9:30 min/mile. This is only around 56% or my WHR so I guess the question is whether this will still give benefit if I run at this level for the standard 6 weeks or so? I assume it will and that, in theory, I should begin to see some improvement in pace even at this HR? Is there any limit to how low you can train to still be squeezing the toothpaste?

    Cheers folks
  • Hi Rodders, welcome back to the RW Fred, and welcome to the Church of Hadd. Forgive me but I work on average of max rather than working HR, so my figures may differ a little from yours. I would say 125 would be an ideal start point, and rather than build on the HR, it would be more productive to build on time.

    125 is above 65% so you are working in the lower zone. If I were you I would keep to HRav 125, and build the runs slowly to 70mins, and 90mins long run. I would imagine you should be able to build to a 6 run week, within 6 weeks, with the week looking something like:


    Good luck!

  • I'm looking forward to being able to run (as opposed to walking) at some of these low heart rates...especially after my experience of today's first mini-test.

    For the test I had a nice springy 400m running track all to myself.  Highlights are:

    • 2400m @ 120 BPM - No time.  I just couldn't keep my HR down to 120 BPM so after a couple of laps I aborted and moved to 130
    • 2400m @ 130 BPM - 17:05
    • 2400m @ 140 BPM - 15:57
    • 2400m @ 150 BPM - 14:17
    • 2400m @ 160 BPM - 13:05

    I was surprised and a bit disappointed that I couldn't knock-out 6 laps at 120 BPM.  Over the years I have done probably 90% of my running at around 160 BPM so maybe its not surprising that I should struggle to tap this unexplored part of my tube.  Hopefully there's still some usable paste in there...somewhere.

    As the HR went up so the running felt a lot more natural...although I still struggled to keep to 130 BPM for my bottom (completed) set.  Average was probably 133-134.  From 140 onwards it was easy to control the HR to within +/- 1 or 2 BPM.

    The running itself felt nice and relaxed at 140 and beyond.  I was able to breath 3 in 3 out all the way to the end and wasn't out of puff.  I had time to do a 170 BPM set but just wasn't sure what the point would be.

    So, baseline set.  As we say at work "there's plenty to go at". 

    Let's see what the training brings.

  • Lamb Chop, are you sure your max is ~ 185? I'd be surprised if that was the case when you have done most of your running in the 160's.

    Have you kept your race data? ie. have you HRav figures from races you have done?

    This is another way of working out your zones.

  • No Brian I'm not sure.

    I took the 185 from a couple of races this year. In both cases there were higher values (up to 220) but I had discounted these as blips.

    Feels like a HRmax test would be a good next step.
  • From your 2.4k test, I would presume that your max is more likely to be at least mid 190s.

    A max test is a tough session. Have you a race coming up? If not, it's either 4 or 5 times up a 90s to 2min hill, or 800m, rest for 2mins then another 800m, ensuring the last 400 is flat out.

    If you have a race, then we can guage it from that data.

  • LC, You need to be fresh, and niggle-free to get good results from this test.
  • OK...fresh and niggle free it is.

    Will give myself a break tomorrow and see how I'm feeling Saturday.


  • LC, Thanks for the HR data.

    Here are my zone reccomendations:

    65-70%  Very easy   127-137
    70-75%  Easy           137-147
    75-80%  Steady        147-157
    80-85%  Moderate    157-166
    85-90%  Tempo        166-176
    90-95%  Interval       176-186
    As you suspected though, you have been spending too much time in the higher zones, and this has left quite a bit of the toothpaste in the tube.
    In your first 6 weeks phase, I would do all your runs in zones 1 and 2.
    Weeks 6-12 should then involve some (1 or 2 max) zone 3 runs.
    I would fully expect that given enough time in the first 2 zones, over the first 6 weeks, your pace should improve by at least 1m/mile in these zones.

  • Great Brian.

    Thank you very much for this


  • LC, And to add:

    At the end of 6 weeks i would expect you to be doing something like this:
    Mon    45mins zone1
    Tues   70mins zone2
    Wed   60mins zone1
    Thurs  45mins zone2
    Fri       70mins zone1
    Sat      rest
    Sun     90mins zone1
    Build it gradually though.
    This may seem a big step up, but if you stick to the zones, you should easily be able to cope.
    As you build up the runs, ensure you stay flexible (yoga/pilates are good), and do plenty of stretching. 

  • Hi there,

    First week of easy running completed and feeling pretty fresh! In terms of time and HR this week I've completed:

    Mon: 39 mins, ave HR 128 (4m)
    Tue: 53 mins, ave HR 131 (5m, uphill overall)
    Wed: 57 mins, ave HR 124 (6m, downhill overall)
    Thu: 29 mins, ave HR 125 (3m)
    Fri: Rest
    Sat: 69 mins, ave HR 127 (7m)
    Sun: 75 mins, ave HR 128 (8m)

    A good start I reckon and should be able to move the mileage up over the coming weeks.
  • Rodders, Some good numbers there, a solid start. Once you startt to hit 70mins on most of your (easy) runs, big adaptations take place, and the improvement comes.

    My 1st week back running after the marathon amounted to 3-5-7-8-8-rest-8, so happy with that. 

  • LS21LS21 ✭✭✭

    Hello all,

    Just spent a while reading all of this. Interesting stuff and something I think I'm going to try for the rest of th year. 

    As a little background - I had an excellent early part of the year. Just breaking 59 mins for 10 miles, 35'48 for 10k and 2'49 at VLM. All pretty big PBs. However, since then I've been gradually on the decline (possilbe lack of recovery, too much 'fast' running etc).

    In March I ran 379 miles at 7'29 per mile avg, avg HR 137bpm.
    In October I purposely reduced mileage quite a lot cos I thought my problem was overtraining/overreaching. So I did 169 miles (my lowest this year) - 8'22 per mile avg, avg HR 136bpm.

    So my gradual decline has seen me lose about 60 secs/mile for the same HR from where I was in March.

    I've dabbled with Hadd over the past 2 weeks but haven't done everything at the right pace. I've often ran with friends/done Club Runs and the HR has been far too high etc, so I need far more discipline and patience and to fly solo for a while I think.

    Running 50 mpw is pretty straight forward for me at present, and running 7 days a week is fine. I've not done a max HR test, but the max I've had while racing this year has been 178bpm, so I've just knocked 15bpm off all the stats Hadd quotes for Joe (and assume it'll be about 180bpm). Avg HR for London was 157bpm, so it's about right I think. I'm therefore working on 130bpm as my slow pace, and 145bpm as my sub-LT. It's quite hilly here so keeping at 130bpm has seen a few 10'00+ min/miles - I've found this really tough, but the plan is to just use the Garmin purely as a HRM and stopwatch and just run for time and HR as per Brian's advice.

    Not sure if I have any questions on this as such - but my LT level seems to have dropped quite significantly, so I'm hoping this approach will help.

    Not done the 2400m test yet, but might have a dabble this week if I can. Will give me a baseline if nothing else.

    Interested to see if anyone has any views/advice anyway, cos I'm going through the mill a bit at the mo!


  • Hi LS21, welcome to the fold. Glad you enjoyed Amsterdam, I was there last year, and really enjoyed it too. Knowing a little about you already (from the sub-3 thread), I think the decline is mainly down to you being totally knackered. I know you've done the 24 hour thing, and 2 marathons, and lots of races
    recently, and maybe it's just time to take a rest.
    Knowing that you (like me) will not want to just take a month off, the hadd stuff will hopefully be the next best thing, and act as "active recovery".
    Maybe there is mental tiredness also, I do also think that there was an injury in there somewhere (gained in one of the 24 hour runs?).

    Certainly from a mental point of view, the hadd stuff does have a rather refreshing effect.
    If you just focus on time and HR, it automatically takes away the stress/pressure of pace and mileage.
    We are both in the same recovery phase as far as the marathon is concerned, and so a similar approach would seem reasonable. My max is high 180s, and my runs since the marathon have been 123,122,129,131 and 125.
    So If I were you I would go right back down to the 65-70% zone (115-125), lets call this zone 1.
    Ok this is gonna be some serious wombling, but it might be beneficial for you to get right to the bottom
    of the tube again, hopefully whilst refreshing the legs and the mind.

    My initial plan for you would be something like this

    mon 45mins z1
    tue 50mins z1
    wed 60mins z1
    thur 45mins z1
    fri 70mins z1
    Sat rest
    Sun 70mins z1

    mon 50mins z1
    tues 70mins z2
    wed 60mins z1
    thurs 70mins z1
    fri 60mins z2
    sat rest
    sun 80mins z1

    where z2 is 70-75% (125-134)

    This takes you up to a full month after the marathon, and ready for some slightly less easy stuff.

  • LS21LS21 ✭✭✭

    Hi Brian,

    Cheers for the repply - and yes nail on head there I think with the 'totally knackered' line! Think you're right re the mental tiredness too. I had a good London, trained hard for the 24 Hr thing (which went well) and then Amsterdam was one step (or several steps actually...) too far. So I ditched Amsterdam as a race, ran with a mate in 3'24 and had a great time. Oh and the injury was last year by the way - Aug-Dec time pretty much.

    That plan looks pretty good yes. I've been bending BR's ear quite a bit re all this too! I'm finding the slow stuff really hard, but I need to be far more patient (not one of my virtues) - but I seriously need to do something dramatcially different, cos I'm shot to bits at the mo. I'm not even getting near to the tube to even try squeezing the toothpaste at the mo!

    I've got one more stupid thing to do this Sat (National XC Relays) but it's only 5k. After that I'm thinking circa 12 weeks of Hadd-esque stuff and then a 12 week Mara-specific plan. I'm hoping that by 'committing' to this thread it'll make sure I DO only run in the zones prescribed, and not settle back into my 'normal' pace again. As I say, finding it hard but needs must I think.

  • LS21, The 12 week/12 week plan to the mara sounds ideal. Good luck with the XC on Sat.
  • LS21LS21 ✭✭✭
    Cheers - meant to say too a massive well done at Abingdon. And I think I may have spotted you in Xempo's newsletter that I've just got!! Just sandwiched between marders and Marigold, so in company there!!
  • Thanks. Target is pb at VLM (2:54).
  • LS21 - Hi!  I read one of your posts on fb recently and nearly replied with "you need a rest", but glad to see you're here and I think Brian's on to something with getting back down the other end of the toothpaste tube!

    As for myself, following my 4-week post-op appointment recently I now have a more concrete recovery plan.  The doc was very pleased with my progress in terms of range of movement in the hip, and all the exercise I've managed to do over the past few weeks.  Having originally talked about 3 - 6 months to get back to running, he's now saying I should be good to give it a try over the next 4 - 6 weeks. So my plan is to carry on kncoking the hell out of the bike and the gym for the whole of November and return to running from beginning of December.

    Given that I want to keep up a decent level of cycling (need to be in a fit state for track racing next season!) I don't think I'll be able to follow a textbook HADD plan but I will be treating Dec/Jan/Feb as a solid period of building up mileage and limiting my running to sub-threshold pace.  Hopefully then I'll be in a good state to get back into tempo/faster running and return to the track to sharpen up in time for a return to racing around April or so.  That's the plan.  The XC guys will have to chase promotion without me. 

    Oh and I've somehow managed to get myself back down to 12 stone, 2 pounds lighter than when I ran a 2:44 marathon.  image

  • Nice one Phil. Great news on the rehab going so well. And the weight!!!!

    All that great tucker you feed yourself too!!!!!

    Looks like we'll all be aerobic monsters come 2012image

  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    Great news and great progress Phil! image

    Unfortunately my attempt to bridge October's marathon with some speed-work, aiming towards a 10K PB attempt in November have ended with injury, so I will be crss-training for a while before re-starting a Hadd-based schedule on my return.

  • Mmmmmm, tough lesson to learn there DrDan. Been there bought the physio.

    After Marathon, one week off, then easy 3 weeks. Remember for next time.

    Hope the injury clears quickly.

  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    Not too worried Brian ... pretty sure a decent break will sort things out and I could probably do with a psychological break after all the marathon miles. An opportunity to swim and cycle for a few weeks which will also be useful for 2012's summer triathlon campaign.

     Hope to be back in time for a good attempt at the Brass Monkey in January.

  • If there's any silver lining to all this injury malarkey it's the possibilities it opens up for multi-sport fun.  I think I'm enjoying cycling more now than I did as a teenager.  I still can't see me getting in a swimming pool any time soon though.  image
  • Seem to remember reading that you were pretty nifty on 2 wheels as a kid?
  • LS21LS21 ✭✭✭
    Phil - great stuff re your progress with the hip. Really pleased for you, cos it seems a LONG time since your great run at Beachy Head (that must be one of your last proper races at a guess?) Nice one on the weight loss too - that'll be all those fancy soups you're making! And yes, I really do need to just take it easy. So obvious but sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees, and I've probably been in denial a little bit about how jaded I've become.

    Less good news for Dr Dan, but maybe not a bad thing in the long-term. As Brian says, I missed about 4 months at the end of last year through injury. I only really started running again at Xmas. I then had 6 weeks of sensible base and a 12 week Mara prep. I was flying, and in hindsight that long lay off did me the world of good. Why I don't seem to learn from these things is anyone's guess.....!
  • It does seem that we find these things out by pure accident!! I did the same this year, overdid it in Jan/Feb, injured till June, then flying by October when I thought I would struggle. The rest obviously does us good, even though we get it thru injury. Must be a lesson to learn here.

  • LS21LS21 ✭✭✭
    Indeed! So m advice to Dan is to run really fast for 2 weeks and really, REALLY injure yourself. Then by next Autumn you'll be setting PBs every week! image
  • LS21 - Beachy Head was two years ago!  In between injuries I did manage a few months' racing last year and squeezed in a 5 mile victory and a HM pb but never quite got back into [real] pb shape, so hopefully will get back there this time round.  According to my cunning recovery plan my next marathon won't be until VLM 2013 by which time I won't have run 26.2 miles in three and a half years.

    Brian - I never really reached my potential with cycling but did manage to bag the "schoolboy of the year" title at the track league I'm gonna race next year.  (Back in 1988.)  I've got ambitions of getting my name in Cycling Weekly again to see if they can spell it right this time!



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