>General Running>Pfitz Questions
Not dead. Yet.
I'm soon to begin marathon training with Pfitz 12/55, but I have a few questions. I'm used to running 6 days a week, but this plan has only 4 days in the beginning and 5 days later on in the program. Is it okay to add easy 3-5 milers on my days off if I'm feeling good? I guess I know they have to be run very easy so they don't mess up my key workouts. I just wouldn't mind getting a few more miles in and it seems like the obvious place to put them.
There are two tune-up races, which I think I will run a half marathon and a 10k. I'm a little worried that the plan has a long run the day after the half marathon though. I think I could pull it off after a 10k, but If I race a half-marathon all out, I can barely walk the next day, let alone run 17 miles. So did I read something wrong or am I not supposed to run the tune-up race all out? I'm still reading the book, but I thought I read places where he says you need several days to recover after a tune up race. But he can't seriously expect us to skip a pretty big long run... It seems like he is contradicting himself. Also, it's rare to find races around here on Saturdays. Maybe I should run the long run on Saturday, and then race the half on tired legs. It would be a challenge and would solve the problem, but wouldn't give me a true assessment of my fitness.
I thought I had more questions, but that's all I can remember at the moment. Thanks in advance for your input.
How can we know our limits if we don't test them?
It actually says in the book not to do the LR the day after the tune-up race if the race is longer than 15K. In my 2nd Edition copy this is on p. 60 in the section called "When to Do Back-to-Back Hard Days". He also advises (in the section on "Tune-Up Races" in the 1st chapter), to do a mini-taper before tune-up races longer than 15K. I know one thing a lot of people do if they're running a half is do a pretty long warm-up/cool-down to get to around 17 for the day. I haven't done Pfitz myself, but I have done that before to get miles up when I race a half.
PRs: 5K: 21:25, 10K: 44:05, HM: 1:38:23* (downhill), M: 3:32:09
Thank you! I remember reading that, but it didn't register. I guess I just didn't believe he would have you skip a 17 mile run during marathon training. I like the idea of adding warmup/cooldown miles to make it add up to 17, but they will have to be before the race. I doubt I will be able to convince myself to run 2 more miles after I finish a half.
Sultan of slug
I used Pfitz last year and had great results. Yes, you can always add miles when you feel you don't need that extra day off. So long as you feel recovered, more miles will obviously be a good thing.
Having read a lot more about training since I did the Pfitz plan (and having done a lot more training too), I wish I had realized that the book's plans are, in fact, flexible. He says as much in the book itself, but when I used the plans I wasn't confident enough in my own knowledge to embrace that flexibility. Of course, having a day-by-day schedule was really valuable for me, because it kept me on track.
As for the race: First, make sure the half is your first tune-up race. That is, give yourself plenty of time to get over it before the marathon. Personally, I wouldn't do a race that long as a tune-up because it takes too long to recover from, eating too much into the next week and affecting workouts. Second, Pfitz does specify that the LR after a race is done closer to recovery pace, not your normal "slightly-faster-than-easy" LR pace. Plus, as I recall, by that point in the program you've already done a couple 16-milers and an 18-miler, at least, so hopefully you'll be able to handle it.
I didn't realize there was much flexibility in the plan, but that's probably my inexperience. I guess they all must be flexible because shit happens. I will try to stick to the plan as much as possible this time. Some of these weeks will be tougher than anything I have ever done, so I need to be able to prepare myself for whats coming next, and just learn to execute each workout.
I also think I will follow your advice on the tune-up race. Another 10k would be much less disruptive, but still fun and would give me a good idea of my fitness. I really want to do the half properly anyway so I can get the best time I am capable of, so maybe a few weeks or a month after the marathon would be a better.
How many weeks before the marathon is the half? I can't see skipping a half marathon because it interferes with marathon training. That's nonsensical to me. A half marathon is about the best workout you can do in marathon training.
I used to struggle with how to work a half into Pfitz plans. I always prefer to do a half as a tune-up race, because it's the best fitness indicator you'll get.
If you look at the 85+ plan, page 200, there he does incorporate a half, on a Saturday. Then Sunday's long run is reduced to an 8 general aerobic. This seems reasonable to me. But it is best to do some warm up / cool down to get the Sat miles up over 13.
As for the race: First, make sure the half is your first tune-up race. That is, give yourself plenty of time to get over it before the marathon.
This is also how Pfitz has scheduled it in the 85+ plan. But I prefer to do it closer to the marathon, to get the best indicator possible. Plugging a half time into McMillan or something and seeing your goal time pop out is a real confidence builder. You probably won't get that if you do the half early.
MTA once I did the scheduled 18 the day after racing a half hard. Bad idea. Gave me Achilles' problems for a few weeks, and I wasn't quite where I should have been when Boston rolled around.
Thanks for the advice, all. I might just try to run a half after all (because I really want to) and then like DCLoafer mentioned, get a little creative with the plan to make everything work out nice.