According to my calendar and Hal Higdon, I should officially start marathon training on Monday, June 4. That will give me 18 weeks to get through either his Novice 2 or Intermediate 1 plan in preparation for the Chicago Marathon. I will be doing my long runs with the local CARA group.

But I ask you, wise blog followers, which Hal Higdon plan should I follow? I’m debating between the Novice 2 plan and the Intermediate 1 plan.

According to Hal, it sounds like I am a strong enough runner for the Intermediate 1 plan. But thinking about my current running schedule, following the Novice 2 plan wouldn’t require any additional runs. Usually I do 4 runs per week – 3 shorter weekday runs and 1 long run on the weekends. Occasionally I throw in a 5th run – a shorter-distance weekend run, but that happens maybe once a month. Following the Intermediate 1 plan would require that additional shorter-distance run every week.

So, should I follow the plan that closely mirrors my current amount of training (obviously my long run would get longer, since I’ve never trained for a full marathon), or should I follow the plan that would add an extra run each week? With either plan, I would try to do at least one day of strength work, and my shorter-distance runs would include one speed session or tempo run each week.

I guess it boils down to:

  • Do I have time to add an extra run each week? Usually I go long on Saturday OR Sunday, and rest the other day. My weekends aren’t so busy that I can’t add in another run. Or maybe I could do the run on Fridays, since I work from home. Usually Fridays are either a rest day or I occasionally go to a core class at my gym that is over for the summer anyway.
  • Can my body handle losing a rest day? I think so. I don’t usually have any soreness or pain, as long as I stretch and foam-roll after almost every run, and sit in a cold water soak after my long runs. I plan to continue doing all of that. Really that extra rest day is more because I’m allowing myself to be lazy, not because I feel like my legs need the rest.

I’m think I’m going to follow the Intermediate 1 plan, which would give me room to skip a shorter-distance run every once in awhile if I need the extra rest day or my schedule is hectic one week (or weekend). It also gives me room to switch to the Novice 2 plan if I feel like it’s too much.

If you’ve trained for a marathon before, what do you think? 


This has nothing to do with marathon training, but here are some pictures from the parade I walked in yesterday to support my sister-in-law’s dance studio.

My brother and sis-in-law are holding the sign.
Of course I have to include a picture of my niece. Her mom (my other sis-in-law) teaches poms at the studio.