Archived: Back to the Future


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.


Thank you for your Novice 2 Marathon training program. I followed it to a T and ran the California International Marathon this past Sunday with a finish time of 4:23. Some seriously wet and wild weather, but it was so much fun, and I’ve already signed up to run my next full marathon on March 24th in Modesto, California. Here’s my question: I really enjoyed the Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule for runs in Novice 2 with two rest days (and cross-training) nicely separating everything. If I start back into the Novice 2 program next Tuesday (a week after the marathon), at what point in the program do I pick up? Fifteen weeks will remain until the race. Should I start at week 4? Or is there another approach to take?


Let’s back up to the program you “should have” started on Monday last week after your marathon. My Marathon Recovery Program begins with a “Zero Week” and continues with a 4-week build-up to a 10-K that signals you are ready to start another marathon or half marathon program, if you so choose. So let’s wait a while before you jump back into Novice 2, overlooking the fact that you might be “losing time” on your next marathon build-up. Once finished with Marathon Recovery (and hopefully recovered) segue into Novice 2 at whatever week will get you to your next goal race. If my math is correct that will be: 15 minus 5 weeks = 10 weeks. That would put you somewhere around Week 8 of the program. There’s a mileage gap between your recovery program and your marathon program, but you should be able to bridge that easily. I’m glad you had so good a time at Sacramento, despite some minor weather annoyances. I like your attitude, and good luck in your next marathon.

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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