Change training plan or stick with old that worked????

I'm looking for advice from anyone that has changed a plan for positive results (or negative).

London 2013 will only be my 3rd marathon, so i am still a novice when it comes to running. I ran my first marathon in April 2012 (Fort William) after following no plan and just running when i could and whatever i could...and my long runs got longer and longer until i was at 22 miles. I finished that marathon in 3:49:15 and was delighted to get under 4 hours. My next marathon was in october there (dublin) and i decided for some reason (can't honestly remeber why) to follow the Hal Higdon Advanced 2 marathon plan. I felt great the whole way through training and confident on the starting line of getting just under 3:30...and was again delighted to finish in 3:16:00.

So my next marathon is in April and i am stuck with 'WHAT PLAN TO FOLLOW'??image

Do i stick with Higdon and just increase my pace so that i can maybe get near 3 hours...or do i choose another plan?? (i have purchased 'Advanced Marathoning' by Pfitzinger and Douglas to read and see if their plan is better)

Any feedback is welcome!!


  • Interesting question.  I can speak from personal experience because I used the very same HH plan for my debut marathon.  You'll know that it is a very straightforward plan, which is one of the things that I like about it, and I tended to add a tempo run into the midweek, but otherwise stuck very much to easy pace and "race pace" running.

    Before my next marathon I joined a club and got into the habit of interval training.  When it came round to marathon training again I kind of re-tweaked the plan so that there was an extra quality session, but once I was familiar with the weekly schedule I'd essentially written my own plan.  So you could do something similar, i.e. stick with what you know, but tweak it in whatever way you feel is necessary to bring you on to the next level.  HH is obviously very light on faster than race-pace running, so you might want to add in some tempo runs and longer intervals.

    On the other hand, if you feel more comfortable following a written schedule by the book, the adaptations I've suggested would get your plan looking more like a P&D plan anyway.  The key thing for me would be that whatever plan you do, it allows you to adapt reasonably comfortably from what you're doing now, in terms of how many days per week (e.g. maybe think about going from 5 running days to 6?), when key sessions are scheduled, etc.  One of the best things about the P&D book is the first section before the actual plans, which explains the various elements of fitness needed (endurance, threshold, VO2 max, etc) and how to exercise them.  Maybe read that and see if it gives you any pointers.

  • Pretty much as Phil says image. A lot of these plans are guides so you can adapt them to suit you. I like the P&D but have to adapt it due to work/shift commitments.

  • Cheers Phil and Jeremy...i have been off work today so i printed off both schedules (HH Advanced 2 and P&D 55-70 miles) and also all my work shifts between now and April. Then i have collaberated some plan that is a mixture of both and includes medium-long runs midweek and the long runs on Sunday are the lengthier ones.. can't wait to start. Thanks

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