Here’s the verdict: I am going to follow Hal Higdon's Advance 1 Marathon training program for my second NYC marathon. I’ve read Hal’s Advance program for marathoners before, and I crossed my eyes at the sight of three 20-milers and thought it was beyond me. Then Runner’s World came out with their “Break 4 Hours” program and I was still hesitant about it—seeing that 3 20-milers were also prescribed. If it weren't for my running buddy's encouragement, because we had nothing to lose and everything to gain, we followed it. In the end, the RW program boosted my confidence with my new PR in NY. I learned that I am capable of challenging myself to move on to harder plans. How else is progress made if you don’t push youself? I am ready to take another leap.
Why did I come to like Hal’s program? Why, it has all the ingredients that has worked for me in the past and putting it all together, it is the perfect tool to get me to my goal—which is to break 4 hours. I am merely 12 minutes away. First, it has the Yasso workouts, my favorite speed workout. It has the hill sprints and the tempo runs. I have been enjoying running the hilly trails by my house and feel that I have gotten stronger in the past 8 weeks. The hill sprints, tempo and speed are all done every 3 weeks, alternating. That means I can give my muscles a rest. I like the idea of confusing the muscles, ala PX-90 style. Compare that to doing hillwork every week for 8 weeks, and then speed workouts for next8 weeks. That seems too grueling for me. In fact, that might have contributed to my past injuries.
I like how the program incorporates a “sorta-long-run” in the mid of the week.
It also has the harder pace run strategically placed the day before Sunday’s long run. The significance of this it will teach me to run on fatigue legs for the long run, which simulates the late stage marathon fatigue. In essence, it will force me to run slow for the long runs, which is what Hal emphasizes. (Don’t get me wrong, I already run slow. What I am saying is, in my head, I can be okay with running it slow as opposed to beating myself up for not being able to hold say a faster pace for the long runs.) It has a pull back on the LR mileage after 3 weeks, which gives my body a chance to get stronger before diving into the progressively harder workouts.
As the weeks develop, it gradually builds up the number of miles, which is key for the body to adapt to the stress. I notice that the harder workouts are reserved for the end of the week. In the beginning the week, the workout eases into the harder workouts. Hal says it is okay to knock one of the easier days, Mondays, to cross train. I am opting to do that so that I can incorporate different cardio exercises. I will probably alternate cycling with cross-aerobics to hit different muscle groups. I have high hopes.
The 18-week program starts next week, Monday, the 4th of July. How fitting to start the training with a bang! I signed up for the Pozo 5k in Santa Margarita. My goal is to get near 24 minutes and some change. In preparation for that race, here's what I came up with:
Mon—cross-train for 30' cycling
Tues—ladder workout 800-400-200-100-100-200-400-800 w/ 100 recovery walk
Wed—easy 3 (supposed to be 2000x3, but need to rest legs since back-to-back quality runs is too risky)
Mon—Race Pozo 5k
Stay tuned as I am excited to share with you my experience with this program. I forgot to mention earlier that it is the Hal Higdon’s Novice Marathon Program that I used for my very first Marathon in LA in 2002. Over the years, I tweaked it to fit my schedule and my ability. For some reason, I adhered to the Novice program, never giving the intermediate programs a second look. Now it seems I am jumping from one extreme to the next. Thanks also to my fellow blogger, “run with lipgloss” for bringing this to the forefront. It was “Lipgloss” who planted this seed in my mind. But I believe that I can do it. This time, I will follow it to the T. The only two changes are moving the workouts for SPEED/TEMPO/HILLS to Wednesdays and to X-training for Mondays instead of easy runs. Wish me luck!