Juggling Speed Workouts


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.


First let me say I used your Advanced 1 program for my first three marathons (PR: 3:15), then took a two-year break for personal reasons. Now I am training again using Advanced 2. So far so good. My questions is: Due to my work schedule I have to juggle a few days, mostly the Sprint/Hill workouts on Tuesdays and the Tempo/Pace workouts on Thursdays. Would it be a bad idea to put Sprint/Hill and Tempo/Pace workouts on back-to-back days? I know you suggest an easy run between those days on Wednesdays for rest/recovery, but I am not sure how to fit everything in.


Given both the quality of your PR and the fact that you have done three marathons using pretty tough programs, you should have a pretty good idea how much punishment your body can absorb. But in answering your question, let me offer one thought. There is no reason why you can’t modify the program by shifting workouts as the mood strikes you. Each week needs not be the mirror image of the one before. Consider, however, that the Tempo/Pace workouts probably are easier to do than Sprint/Hill. In “Pace,” you’re simply running at the pace you will run in the marathon, but for a much shorter distance. And Tempo Runs are completely intuitive, meaning it doesn’t matter how fast you do your Tempo Run as long as it has that rounded bump in the middle. In fact, for an accomplished runner like yourself, a Tempo Run can be very easy, thus can be part of your recovery from Hill/Sprint the day before. When I designed the advanced programs, I somewhat arbitrarily juggled these harder workouts, letting them fall when they might on different days, mainly so runners don’t get bored following the same routine week after week. So with all that in mind: Game On!

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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