Recently bought this book and really liked it. Am considering using the level 2 general conditioning followed by level 2 marathon plan for my 3rd marathon (after 2 Pfitzinger 18/55 cycles) - has anyone actually used one of his plans and have any thoughts on it?
Sjhuk - I am no expert on this but I would not sweat about a few beats either way. Your HRM will not be completely precise and your HR has a natural variability anyway depending on temperature etc, just keep it there or thereabouts.
Nayan - i had VO2 max, lactate threshold and max HR tested at the London metropolitan university. The max HR was determined by a controlled exhaustion test on a treadmill, with the speed being steadily ramped up until you reach your limit. I have read elsewhere that your HR at the end of a hard run 5k is close to your max HR and that seems to be the case for me assuming I "sprint" the finish.
Training like this took me in the last 6 months from someone who struggled to run 3 times a week without getting injured to someone who can run 50 mile weeks without getting injured.
from personal experience:
- ensure that you have the right HR calculation, this is really important. If you are using a % of HR Max, ensure that you have your Max HR measured Properly. The 220-age formula usually used is very inaccurate - for example I had mine measured in a lab on a treadmill (backed up by wearing a HRM for flat out 5 k races) and it is 193. The standard formula says it should be 180 and if I were to set my HR zones on that basis I would have to walk! I read Phil Maffetones book and used his simple formula (google it) for aerobic base HR and it worked well.
- it takes time to show results training like this, and in my experience (backed up by some reading on the subject) volume makes a big difference. Low volume meaning slow progression. I trained steadily going from 20-30-40 miles a week and I saw very slow progress until I started getting 30-40 miles and 5 runs a week after which my aerobic pace dropped from 10:30 to around 9:15 in about 3 months and my fitness rocketed. Of course everyone is different, the key is to take it slow as if you ramp up volume too quickly you will just get injured and be back to square one.
- results did not seem linear for me e.g I seemed to be making no improvement for 4-6 weeks and then suddenly I would be looking at my pace and thinking "wow, where dis that improvement come from?"
- training this way made a huge difference to training for my second marathon, for my first I was always injured, I could really "feel" the base I had when I started training for my second and I was able to execute and recover from training much better.
- getting home feeling like you have not done anything is how it should feel. you should almost feel more refreshed than before you started.....
Good news is that it sounds like you have come out of it better that I have - I could barely walk yesterday and I am still having trouble with stairs today and i am generally absolutely shattered, heavy chest etc - running again is some way off I think!
Whilst i am very happy with my time I think it would have been nicer to have started slower and had something left at the end, rather than being at the limit of blow up pace for the first half and hanging on for dear life for the second. It is pretty clear I pushed myself to the absolute limit.