Hal Higdon: Marathon: Chicago 2017, Novice 2: This program is designed specifically for those running the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2017. If you are planning to run another race, you need to pick another program. But let me introduce you to Novice 2, designed to fit comfortably between Novice 1 and Intermediate 1. Novice 2 is aimed at 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.
Run 3 miles at a comfortable pace. Over the next 18 weeks, leading up to the Chicago Marathon, 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.
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, 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. Revisit the introductory screen for Novice 2 runners on TrainingPeaks or on halhigdon.com for more directions on how to do Pace workouts.
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.
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. If your work schedule dictates, you can do your long runs on any day of the week. 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.
Similar to Novice 1 runners, Novice 2 runners cross-train for an hour on Sundays, following their long runs on Saturdays. If you want to flipflop workout days, you are free to do so, even varying from week to week as long as you maintain the general pattern of consistency. Cross-train for an hour in an acitivity that is aerobic. That would include walking, biking, swimming or cross-country skiing in season. Aggressive sports such as soccer, basetball or touch football probably would be poor choices because of the increased risk of injury, particularly as your long-run mileage moves into double digits.
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! 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. Don't wear a watch, at least for the time being.
Run 5 miles. Last week on Wednesday, I asked you run marathon pace (the pace you hope to run for the full 26 miles of the Chicago Marathon). Next week, you will be asked again to do 5 m pace. Today, simply run at whatever comfortable pace suits your mood. When you see the word run in my training charts, this is what I mean.