Archived: A Non-Training Problem


Got a question about running? You’re in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon’s Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


I need advice on a training program. I have been trying to qualify for Boston in my last few marathons. I ran one in December 2012 (trained for 18 weeks), didn’t make it, took two weeks off, then trained for a trail marathon: more variation, not as many long runs and some weight training. Did well got 4 weeks to run a marathon in April to again try to qualify. Got close, but didn’t make it. Then I put in 240 miles running and 160 biking in the month of May. Then I took June off. No running. Lots of rest and relaxation. Now I would like to give it one more go before September 22 to qualify for Boston. Is there a training plan out there, or do you have a combination of programs, or any advice at all? I feel good and ready to train. I just need some direction.


I hate to be critical, but your problem is not with your training, but more with your nontraining. You obviously have some talent, but you have not learned how to focus that talent. Example: All those miles in May. You basically threw them away when you took the month of June off. Research at the University of Texas says that for every day you skip running, it takes two days to regain what you lost. That doesn’t include rest days or tapering, but you need to avoid big gaps where you do not run (or cross-train) at all. Even a few miles every other day will maintain most of your fitness, but skip a month, and it will take you two months to get back to where you were. I do have one 8-week program, my Senior program. It probably does not have enough miles to satisfy you, but you can always fill in with some easy runs on the strength days. Good luck.

About the Author

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for'Runner's World'and author of 34 books, including the best-selling'Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that more than a quarter million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks.Hal uses'TrainingPeaks'to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans.'Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here'or on'his website.

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