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Friday, July 24, 2009

Decisions Decisions

The beginning of marathon training is just around the corner and I need some help. With all the training programs out there, how can I know which is best for me? Trial and error with different plans over the course of a running career is probably the best way to hone in one the perfect program, but I've only got one marathon under my belt so far. For that marathon, I loosely followed a Runner's World program and it worked ok. My goal was to finish and I did. When I was training for my second program, I followed Coach Hal (Higdon), but that ended when I got injured. I am interested in seeing the Coach Hal program through, but when I was injured, I got to thinking that maybe there was a better program out there...one that promotes staying injury free. That's a BIG deal to me.

There's Jeff Galloway, who says that incorporating short walk breaks while running is the way to go. He argues that it can even improve your time, which (side note here) I'm not really interested in PRing cause my first marathon was so long ago. It would be great, but I just want to run it and finish it and not get injured in the process. That's not too much to ask, is it? I know people who swear by this method of running/walking.

And then there's the FIRST training plan, which promotes "run less, run faster." I hear that Melanie and Spike are following this plan. I'm kind of a slacker, so running 3 days a week sounds alright to me, but those 3 days of running have to be KEY workouts, which means lots of pace running and speed workouts and lots of using a stopwatch, I believe. I'm not so keen on that.

Now let's take a look at a sort of opposite method of training called RUNNING YOUR ASS OFF. Amy is currently following this plan with her 70 freakin miles per week (you overachieving showoff hussy you. just kidding. sort of.) and it seems to be working for her. However, this plan requires hard work, time, and lots of dedication, which lets be honest here, I'm not always willing to put forth. Like I said before, I'm a lazy biotch sometimes. RunnerMom is also just getting started with a high mileage, but slow pace marathon program and I'm very interested to see how that goes for her. The benefit of this plan is that I don't have to worry about killer paces and such. Plus, I'd like to be able to say that I run a helluvan amount of miles every week. I'm very vain like that. I like to portray myself as a bad ass.

So you see, I have a decision to make. Won't you please chime in with your .02?

Oh and...

Good Luck Amy!!!

14 comments:

Jill said...

I'm a big fan of Hal Higdon...if you have a 20 mile a week base though. Like, pick the beginner schedule if you're on a come back. As for the "Amy showoff 70 miles"...that is insaniety (sorry Amy)...I think running 4 days a week is plenty...and no more than 50 miles ever.

Hopefully that will work for you!!

Amy said...

Another vote for Higdon! There's also the Hanson plan... I've got it saved somewhere on my computer, I'll email it to ya. The only thing with it is that their longest runs are only 16 milers.

It's easy to run your ass off when you've got nothing else going on in your life, like moi.

Chris said...

It's tough picking the right training program. I like Hal Higdon's plans and I LOVE the Jeff Galloway technique of walk breaks [Hal Higdon plans recommend that too] but Galloway's plans are high mileage, which doesn't work for me. When I read plans, I think "Can I REALLY do that?" and if the answer is "yes", I go for it!

April said...

Yeah, I've actually got the Hanson plan. I think you already gave it to me, Amy. Anyway...the 16 miles maximum thing turned me off of it. I just think I need something closer to the real deal, ya know?

Melanie said...

I love, love, LOVE the FIRST plan, and I'll tell ya why. I did 2 other marathons using 2 other plans that had me running 4-5 days a week. I was always tired, hungry, and cranky.. and my running wasn't that great. I switched to FIRST, felt great the whole training cycle, and shaved 26 minutes off my marathon time. I love feeling like running is always something I love, and when I was doing it more often I was cursing it. I sometimes have to alter the paces a bit... I can't always go hard and fast at every single workout. And I definitely make sure I get the cross training in because it totally helps. But in the end, I always feel well-trained but also well-rested.

Jim said...

I have been running easier since I dropped 23 lbs while eating raw food. And seem to recover faster after my workouts.

To Your Health!
James Reno (editor)
Raw-Food-Repair.com

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

I have run several marathons and what works well for me is to create my own program. You have to be sort of a running nerd to put as much effort as I do into it, but I like to do it because that way I can cater to what I like to do and how I like to train. A canned program is much easier and less time consuming but for me it is worth the effort to create a program that I can be excited about that fits my personality. I like to train hard - tempos, track, hills, long runs. So my program includes the details that I like. Good Luck!

MrsCJ said...

I'm still using RW Smart Coach becuase it has helped me PR in the HM and I was healthy so I don't want to change something that's working. They have recently updated their formula which I like too.

CJ

lawmonkey13@gmail.com said...

I'm running my first full marathon this October, and I've worked up my own plan which seems to change every other week. Right now, it's 2 weeks of 40-50 miles a week at a slow pace and then 1 week of 20-30 miles for recovery. Mix in some cross-training, sprinkle in some healthy eating, and shake it all up with some blogging and here I am! Good luck!

Steve said...

I'm running a key workout type plan at the moment for a 30m terain race in september. Time is a constraint for me too with a business and a family.

The plan looks similar to this Runners World training plan:
http://www.runnersworld.com/article/printer/1,7124,s6-238-244-255-9215-0,00.html

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

I think if your main concern is injuries, Galloway is going to be your best bet for the first year back. But like Chris said, the Galloway key is really the walk breaks, and you can add those on any plan. So do Higdon or RW, both of which sound like they'll work for you. On fast days, do a walk break at the end of a repeat or mile, on long days, do at least a minute per mile, maybe more.

RunnerMom said...

Yes, I'm curious how it's going to work for me, too. :-)

JohnPDC said...

I've done 6 marathons using Hal Higdon's beginner programs. I'm working on #7. It's a solid program that just works. I would like to try one of the "more intense, less running" programs to see how it compares. Regardless, someone else touched on it... if you are serious about getting better, feeling stronger, you need to cross-train. I rarely do, but the 2 years I did triathlons as well my marathon running felt SO much better. Good luck!

Danielle in Iowa said...

I hate actually working during my workouts, so I think the FIRST plan would be a no go for me :-)