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Best Training Plan for Improvement

BY Hal Higdon

By suggesting a few options, Hal helps a reader by providing some options for taking their training to the next level.

Have 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’ve been using Hal Higdon training plans since I started running three years ago. Thus far, I’ve run 5-Ks, 10-Ks, Half Marathons, and two full Marathons. Half’s are my favorite. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed that my body and mind are too tired to train with any consistency since my last half in March. To help with this matter, I’ve designed the following training schedule:

  • Strength Training: Twice a week (Monday and Thursday),
  • Running: Three times a week (Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday)
  • Cross-Training: One time a week (Saturday)
  • Rest: One or two times a week (Monday and Friday)

On my three run days, I run short, semi-long and long, sometimes with speedwork on the short day. I find that my muscles are sore after my long-run days and my strength- training days. Should this be a worry? I’m not sure what to do next. What do I do to get better? Are there programs other than the Hal Higdon programs that can take me to the next level?


The pattern of your current training certainly matches many, if not most, of my programs. The only difference would be the details, as each runner moves from Novice to Intermediate to Advanced. Once you have done as many races as you have, you probably have figured out which parts of my programs work for you and which parts do not. You can continue to maintain fitness using the well-established pattern with which you apparently are comfortable. Then when you have a goal race to run, when mentally as well as physically it is time to accept a new challenge, you can select whichever program is aimed at that distance race, being careful to choose the right level based on your development.

Or you are free to break loose. Now that we have been introduced, feel free to remain friendly, using my programs when you need them, but also experimenting with some of the other training options available in books and on the ‘net, including here on TrainingPeaks. But don’t go too far away. I’ll continue to be here to help you.

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About 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 over a quarter of a 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 on his website.