As each week passes, I feel more and more excited about the upcoming marathon. I really do love running and have had solid training so far. Before choosing a marathon and a plan, I spent a good bit of time researching. I read a few running books – Hal Higdon’s Marathon, Jack Daniels’ Running Formula, and even Steve Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning – to get an idea of the logic behind training plans. Note: I had NO intention of following an advanced plan, just like learning about the logistics of different types of runs and their purposes.
Eventually, I settled on the intermediate Hal Higdon plan, as his plans are generally recommended for first time marathoners. However, I have struggled that it may not be the very best fit for me.
I missed having runs with more purpose and felt like I was running just to tally up miles. I could feel running 5 days a week beginning to wear on me and I missed other forms of cross training. So, I went back and re-read and re-studied another book I had looked at when deciding to run a marathon.
The Run Less Run Faster (aka FIRST approach) book has training plans focusing on three key runs a week, then rounding out the training with quality cross training instead of, what the authors call, “junk miles”. I had been feeling like a lot of my runs were turning into “junk miles”. The two longer runs on the weekends were wearing on me. The Higdon plan felt like a GREAT plan, but simply didn’t feel right for me, if that makes sense.
When thinking back to the training that worked well for me in my first half marathons, I realized I had followed a plan similar to the FIRST plan. And really enjoyed it. So…I may be crazy…but I’m adjusting the last 10 weeks of my training plan to the FIRST method, which will leave my week looking like this with 2-3 weight workouts added in through the week.
My plan actually doesn’t look too much different from what I already had scheduled. My long run mileage jives with what I already had scheduled out. The way I can schedule my runs with this plan eerily fits with my favorite cycling classes for cross training and other activities we have going on. It’s basically the same thing I already followed, but with 2 less runs a week.
It felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders to make this change. I know many believe the overall mileage during the training isn’t enough to fully prepare for a marathon. I also know friends who have found great success and enjoyment in training following the FIRST method. Perhaps I shouldn’t change plans halfway through and finish what I started? Perhaps its idiotic? I don’t know.
I will do my best to approach it safely. I am using this week as mostly recovery, to prepare for my half marathon this weekend. Then, based on my finish time there, I will use the FIRST plan to train at my current fitness level and not pushing to the set out paces for every workout if my body lets me know differently. I may not max at a 50 mile week, but I feel I have to make this switch. I have no doubt that the Higdon plan is a quality one, as well as many others out there. But I also believe each runner…and each person with a fitness goal…has to find a plan that suits him or her personally. Here’s to trusting my gut….and my legs.
- Have you ever adjusted your training halfway through a plan?
- What training plans do you like? Ever done FIRST?