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Picking a training plan for 1st marathon

I wanted to see if I could get some opinions from you ladies.

I am training for my first full marathon which will be December 5. I am using Hal Higdon's plan, and I began this week even though it's a couple weeks early. I wanted to have room to wiggle in case of illness/injury/life.

My questions is whether I should do the novice or intermediate plan. The intermediate plan says it is geared to people who have already done a marathon and want to improve, but looking at it, I feel I can handle it.

I have been running for 2 years, and have done multiple half-marathons. The first "long run" is 8 miles and I already regularly run that.

On the other hand, I am not going for a time goal since it is my first, so the novice would be fine and less time consuming. But, being me, I still want to do the best I can.

Thanks for any advice!

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Re: Picking a training plan for 1st marathon

  • I toyed between those two plans when I chose my marathon training plan.  I ended up going with the novice plan because I only wanted to do one 20 miler before the marathon.  That was my deciding factor.

    I did not follow the weekly runs as described in the plan at all - I just took that mileage and mixed it up into what worked for me.  I made sure to follow the long runs as scheduled.  

    This allowed me to challenge myself in a way that the intermediate plan would, but be smart about my mile build-up and the time that I had to dedicate to training.  

    Unfortunately, I never ran a 20 miler because I ended up with a stress fracture earlier in the week that it was scheduled for :(

    Good luck with your decision!

  • Thanks!

    Yeah, it has pros and cons. I don't care for running Saturday and then doing my LR Sunday. I was wondering if I could just tack Saturday's mileage on somewhere else, or if it needed to be structured that way.

    image
    The face of Kitty-Hate
  • the biggest thing for me was to keep a steady mileage increase of no more than 10% and to stick with the scheduled long runs.  Some of mine were on Saturday and some were on Sunday - whatever worked best that week.  My plan was to do the long run on the marathon day (it was a Saturday race) to keep myself in that same schedule and frame of mind. 
  • My advise would be that whatever training plan you pick, just make sure you don't over train.  While training for my first marthon I did tons of speed work and did three 18+ mile runs the four weeks before the race.  I also completely believed I would qualify for Boston (I wasn't even close!). 

    I didn't run for six months anything longer than five miles for about six months after the race! 

  • When I trained for my first marahton, I had been running for a couple years.  I had ran various half marathons, 5Ks, 10Ks, etc... and with the advice of my dad (who is a veteran runner) I opted to go with the novice.  it's obviously designed for first time marathoners for a reason.  I made modifications to fit my schedule and it worked out just fine.  Good Luck with your training!

     

    FWIW, I am training for my 2nd marathon now and using the intermediate program. 

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  • I went with Novice 2; my first marathon is October 17th. I've also regularly run longer than the first "long" weeks--until week 10, actually--but figure he's the expert and I'm well, the novice. :) The intermediate plan is geared towards those who've run 26.2 before, and I do not fit that category.

     

  • Thanks! I really have no reason to stress over the intermediate since I am just running my first to finish, no time goal. I am just uber competitive with myself and am always trying to push that next notch.

    I will prob do the novice so I will want to do a second one where I can have a goal :)

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  • image usernametaken:

    Thanks!

    Yeah, it has pros and cons. I don't care for running Saturday and then doing my LR Sunday. I was wondering if I could just tack Saturday's mileage on somewhere else, or if it needed to be structured that way.

    On the Novice 2 plan, I swap Mon/Tue (run 3, run 5) then rest on Wednesday, run Thurs, rest Friday, and long run on Saturday.

     

  • I just started training for my first marathon.... I'm not using Hal, but a plan I got from a book.  I decided to go for the intermediate plan after talking to some friends who have done marathons before because the intermediate plan has two 20 milers, while the beginner only has one.  The beginer plan had the highest weekly milage being 30 miles/week, which is what I got up to for my last half marathon.... so I felt like I should go higher for a marathon.  Personally, I figured that I could drop miles and still be at the "beginner" level if the later weeks get to be too much.

    After reading others posts i'm thinking maybe I should have stuck to the beginner plan though!

  • i toyed between intermediate and novice too, and ultimately settled on the novice 2. my #1 goal is to make it to the marathon injury free, and make it across the finish line in a "reasonable" time. that being said, the novice 2 uses 4 days a week of running, which is much easier for me to cram into my schedule than 5 days a week in the intermediate. i need the extra rest day since  i work a 14-hr shift once a week and am on my feet the entire time. i need a rest day *other* than the day i'm on my feet all day!
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  • I went with the novice schedule because I didn't want to get injured plus I'm starting grad school this fall (poor planning on my part) and don't want to overtrain.  I'd go with a novice plan to start so you don't injure yourself! 
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  • I had the same problem when training for my first marathon and I went with the intermediate (for exactly the reasons you stated...uber competitive with myself). IT was the biggest mistake I've ever made. I totally overtrained and burned out before the marathon.  Now I'm training for my second and I'm going with Novice 2.
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