Pete Pfitzinger's training plans

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27/04/2010 at 19:22
Has anyone followed Pete Pftinzinger's training plans, and if yes have they had any success in acheiving target time? thinking about following schedule for a Sept marathon.
27/04/2010 at 19:29
I've seen a few of them, is there a link to the one you're specifying?
27/04/2010 at 19:35

No, its out his book, I'm looking at the 55-70 miles per week one with a goal of a sub 3-15 marathon, my current PB is 3-23.

27/04/2010 at 20:06

I have the Pfitzinger & Douglas book "Road Racing for Serious Runners" in my room, which I imagine has training plans that aren't totally different.

I'm not an expert on training for marathons, but the priority looks to be based around raising lactic threshold - which is a key determinant for marathon running. The midweek medium-length run seems to top out around 14/15 miles, which is pretty good. The speed workouts tend to focus around improving VO2 max with intervals at 5 & 10k pace. While some 10k pace would certainly be beneficial, VO2 max isn't a big priority at marathon level so those sessions probably aren't as necessary.

I would say it's a reasonable schedule. Good luck.

*waits for Moraghan to disprove all he's just said*

Edited: 27/04/2010 at 20:18
27/04/2010 at 20:27

I have it in front of me.  They are pretty solid plans and if you are going to go "off the shelf" it's about as good as it gets.

Agree with The Duckinator - they have too much short rep vo2 max stuff. 

I also think they probably do with a couple more 20+ long runs and overall there is a real lack of creativity with regards to the long runs and quality sessions (e.g. variable pacing etc).  You could also argue (although this depends on experience) that there is enough room to do a bit more high end aerobic running during the week (e.g steady state sections in medium long runs).

Do yourself a favour though, whatever route you take don't decide on a time until you are well into your training.  To pick a time now is completely arse about face.

Edited: 27/04/2010 at 20:28
27/04/2010 at 20:37

Thanks for the advice guys, I was basing my goal on my last half time 1 29.  One issue everyone gives me different advice on is what pace should long runs be, do you have any advice on that?

27/04/2010 at 20:44

There's no one accepted pace to do run easily at (long runs should be roughly at easy pace too, mind). I'd personally say about 60-75 sec/mile slower than your current pace.

 Yes, current pace. Something to keep in mind is that you shouldn't be running your workouts at your aspirational pace, rather for now you should be running them at your CURRENT marathon pace. 

 Imagine it as climbing a set of stairs. Running the workouts at your current pace is like putting both feet on the step below the step you want to be on - your aspirational marathon time. You then have a better chance of climbing onto the step you want.

Running them at aspirational pace all the time is like taking steps 2, even 3 at a time - you have a greater chance to fall. Towards the end of training (the last 5 or 6 weeks) you can run them at your aspirational pace to get accustomed to running at that pace.

I hope that makes sense - I'm not to good with analogies. 

Edited: 27/04/2010 at 20:45
27/04/2010 at 20:51
Thanks that makes lot of sense
27/04/2010 at 20:56
The idea comes from this article (paragraph 3 on this page, specificly) in runningtimes. Those workouts are for 5k races, but the principles are mostly the same.
27/04/2010 at 21:43
Pretty sure Pete Pfitzinger has a website, where his various training schedules are posted.
27/04/2010 at 21:48
Probably does but i have absolutely no idea how to link to it!
27/04/2010 at 22:12

Neither do I sorry.

Try Google !

27/04/2010 at 22:15




27/04/2010 at 22:18
Thanks, I'm showing myself up as dumb blonde again
28/04/2010 at 06:02


Was the Pfitzinger site helpful ?

28/04/2010 at 09:37
Yeah was helpful, but i'm looking at the schedule and am not sure how to fit in shorter races, can I for example use a half marathon instead of a long run, or should I also try to fit in a long run during the week.  Any advice would be most welcome!
28/04/2010 at 09:53

As a general rule swap out races for workouts based on the target physiology of the workout.  So, a 5k race instead of the VO2 max repeats, a 10k / 10m race instead of a tempo.

Half marathons, in my opinion are best done instead of a slightly shorter long run.  E.g.  an 18 mile long run could be replaced by a 3m w-up || HM || 2m cool down.  Although obviously the race will be a lot more stressful.

Not that I would suggest doing this all the time.

Edited: 28/04/2010 at 09:54
28/04/2010 at 09:53
Do the P&D plans not schedule warm-up races as well?  Either way, i find the easiest way of fitting in races is to do them at the end of a 'cut-back' week.  At the business end of a marathon schedule I'd be doing 20M+ long runs 2 weeks out of 3.  On the down week I'd be maintaining the intensity of training sessions but reducing mileage from, say, 75 to 60-65 with a long run ~16 miles.  This would be a good time to schedule a HM, maybe 5-6 weeks out from the marathon.
Edited: 28/04/2010 at 09:59
28/04/2010 at 09:59
Moraghan wrote (see)

As a general rule swap out races for workouts based on the target physiology of the workout.  So, a 5k race instead of the VO2 max repeats, a 10k / 10m race instead of a tempo.

Come to think of it, one of the advantages I found in training for an autumn rather than spring marathon is that there are more practical options for fitting shorter races into the schedule without buggering up the normal pattern.  During winter most road race options are on a Sunday, which generally means running a race instead of the long run, whereas in the summer there are mid-week options for 5k for example, where you can easily subsitute for a speed work out and get some race experience at the same time.

(I even surprised myself by managing a long run the day after setting a 10k pb, without my legs feeling like total shite.)

28/04/2010 at 10:44
Hi Elgin,  used the P&D 55-70 mile schedule for the first time to train for VLM2010 and got a 16 min PB (3:38), so yes, I think they do work.  You will probably curse them about 6 weeks in for making you do yet another medium-long midweek run (these are generally 15 milers) but I think the additional longish runs are crucial in your marathon preparation.  I was able to run 26.2 miles comfortably, 2 dead even splits of 1:49 each and felt good throughout.  Apart from doing my vastus medialis in at mile 17 when I stopped abruptly to hug a friend it was a very comfortable run.   Hey, I'd never thought I'd say that about a marathon.  I'm known to die a slow and painful death from about mile 18 normally  

Listen to Moraghan, he's a legend when it comes to great advice.

PhilPub:  I did struggle to find suitable Saturday races.  In fact, I didn't do a single one and just fitted in another 6-8 miler at an easy pace instead.  There are of course always parkruns but I guess 5k isn't really the optimal distance for a marathon training sharpener.

With respect to pacing:  I paid zero attention to pace on my Garmin and trained purely by heart rate.  P&D give percentage brackets of HR for the different runs and I stuck to them religiously.  I. e. training was by effort, and not pace.  Of course I checked the pace afterwards and put it in my training log - it comes with the OCD
At the beginning of the programme, pace made very depressing reading but I stuck with it and saw it improve dramatically over the final 6 weeks.
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