Hal Higdon: Marathon--Novice 2

Average Weekly Training Hours 01:00
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 01:00
Training Load By Week

Hal Higdon: Marathon--Novice 2: Let me introduce you to Novice 2, designed to fit comfortably between Novice 1 and Intermediate 1. Novice 2 is designed for runners who may already have run and finished their first marathons and want to add just a bit more mileage while training for their second or third marathons, hoping to improve their times, perhaps even qualify for the Boston Marathon. Every day I will send you emails telling you what to run and offering training tips. For more information and directions, visit the marathon screens on my website: halhigdon.com.

Sample Day 2

Run 3 miles at a comfortable pace. Over the next 18 weeks, you will add only a few miles to your Tuesday workouts. In Week 7, you'll do 4 miles. In week 11, you'll be up to 5 miles. (This is a slight increase in distance from Novice 1.) By that time, you'll be so used to doing much longer runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays, that a run of that distance will seem easy. It's all part of the progressive buildup of total mileage designed to get you ready to run 26 miles. Don't be tempted to push the pace. Undertraining is often better than Overtraining.

Sample Day 3

Wednesdays feature another difference between Novice 1 and Novice 2. In the former training program, you do what I call Sorta-Long runs at an easy pace. In the latter program (this one), you do Pace Runs, the same workouts that Intermediate runners do on Saturdays. Today, do 5 miles at marathon pace. You need to implant in your mind what it feels like to run the exact pace needed to meet your goal on marathon day. Pick a measured course where you can catch your time each mile. Measure the course yourself with a GPS watch or run on a track if necessary.

Sample Day 4

Run the same workout that you did on Tuesday: 3 miles. Follow the run by doing some stretching and strength training for about 15-30 minutes. . This might be a good workout to do in a health club, since you can do your 3-miler on a treadmill before heading to the weight room.

Sample Day 6

In the Novice training programs, both 1 and 2, the long runs are on Saturdays. If necessary, you can flip-flop your workouts and run long on Sundays, moving your cross-training up one day. Run 8 miles today. As the marathon approaches, I will ask you to do long runs of 18, 19 and 20 miles spread out over a period of 5 weeks.

Sample Day 9

Today's workout is a run of 3 miles at a comfortable pace, the same as last week on Tuesday and the same distance you will do Thursday as well. This workout shouldn't take a great deal of your time: a half hour or less if you run at a 9:00-mile pace or faster. But forget I said that! The time estimates on the toolbar are simply that: time estimates. I don't want you to go out and time yourself for 3 miles. In fact, your course doesn't need to be precisely 3.0 miles. It can be about that distance. The easiest way to pick a course of 3.0 miles would be to get in your car and figure out how far you need to run to go about half that distance (1.5 miles), either from your home, from your office or from wherever you plan to run on Tuesdays. Then run this 1.5-mile course out and back.

Sample Day 11

Run 3 miles at a comfortable pace and do some strength training afterwards. Consider using several different courses at this distance--and for other road distances. Tuesday I discussed how to find a 3-mile course, suggesting that you simply get in your car and measure approximately half that distance, then run it out and back. For a second course, you might measure a loop course, meaning you circle around without retracing your steps. But as you run this and other distances, consider utilizing completely different courses, perhaps one in a scenic area frequented by other runners. Be inventive. You might as well make running as pleasant as possible.

Sample Day 14

Do some cross-training today for an hour, but only at a very, very easy level. It may not seem like you need to rest after only a 9-miler yesterday, but you will be thankful for this relatively easy day as the program continues. Also, evaluate how you felt after this second week of training.

Hal Higdon
Hal Higdon Communications

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).