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Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

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Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Tim C on Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:48 pm

OK, I know that many of you have used Hal’s programs over the years. I have followed the Nov 2 program before and am thinking about moving more towards intermediate 1 for my next marathon, which is LA on March 17.


My question concerns doing the pace run the day before your long run on the intermediate program. It makes all the sense in the world to me, but also poses a couple of real issues for me. So I am asking how many of you found doing them in the order intended to be beneficial.


I’m running 5 days a week, 30-35 on average. Work being what it is, I run both Sat and Sun and then Tues, Wed & Thurs, resting Mon & Fri. The problem is that I run with a large group on Saturdays, which I really enjoy, and we do our long runs then. So I would like to do my pace runs on Sunday. I could do my pace runs on Friday, however this poses 2 problems. First, I would need to run 4 weekday mornings (Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri) and secondly, I would be taking Sundays off, a perfectly great day to run without the time constraints of running before work.


So again, I’m wondering how many of you have found doing the pace runs the day before your long runs to be beneficial? For what it’s worth, I’m 56 and have been running for only 5 years. I have completed 1 marathon in 4:22 and am only planning to do something around 4 hours +/- in this one, so I’m not setting any speed records. (I have run several HM’s under 1:50, but I crashed and burned the last time I tried to go sub 4 in hot conditions).


Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Jerry on Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:17 pm

The most difficult thing for back to back hard workouts is to judge well, not to over do the first one. Conversative is the key. Pace run is overrated. When unsure, save yourself on Saturday, then pick up at the end of the Sunday is easier to execute. Anyway, I decide on Saturday during the run.
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Mark B on Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:43 pm

Let's see if I can channel Hal.. (ahem)

His idea (as I recall it) was that doing the pace run before leaves you a little more fatigued on the long run which gets you more accustomed to running on tired legs (and with less muscle glycogen) - and maybe more importantly, it tires you out enough to encourage you to run the long runs at a slower pace, which stimulates more aerobic development.

But there's no need to be dogmatic about the order of those weekend workouts. Find what works best in your schedule, train with your group, and that alone will probably give you more benefits than anything else. (I gave up the back-to-back in favor of doing a mid-week pace run.)


Last edited by Mark B on Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:03 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Jeff F on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:07 am

Mark's answer is accurate.

I have used the Intermediate I and II plans. I have found the pace/LSD run sequence to be beneficial. I am also up there in years at age 53, and used this approach to BQ a couple of years back.

Actually, I will be starting a new training cycle later this month for a spring marathon and will use this approach again. The last couple of years I ran with a running group that did their long runs on Saturday, but I am not going to run with them this year so I can focus on my training, I know somewhat selfish, but I like the pace/long run sequence of the intermediate plans.
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Michael Enright on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:19 am

I'm 56 and have been running for six years (after a long hiatus prior to that). I've used Hal's Int I and II plans, and have freely adapted them to my needs, in all sorts of ways, for 8 full marathon training cycles (along with a couple that I had to bail out of when I got injured during them - my fault, not the plan's). My times have ranged from 3:51 to 4:22, with one outlier at 4:41 (a really hot day in Chicago - what a surprise!). I've (i) run the plans exactly as specified, (ii) run them without pace runs at all, (iii) run them with Saturdays and Sundays reversed, as you describe, and (iv) other variations (I've even turned them into 4 day per week programs, rather than 5).

Bottom line for me is that I did not notice significant differences when reversing the order of the pace run and long run (nor, for that matter, did I feel like the pace run really benefitted me significantly compared to just running those miles at a more typical training pace).

I think you should execute the plan as you contemplate, and I expect it will serve you well, and no worse than if you did it the other way around.
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:59 am

I have not used the Novice or Int programs, but Mark hit the nail on the head outlining Hal's approach. I do like pace runs, and I, too, run with a group on Saturdays for my long run - so what I often do is reverse them. I have found this to be beneficial for me as I am then running marathon pace on tired legs.
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:17 pm

FWIW, I did a modified Hal Int for my BQ training plan. Just beefed up the miles a lot, and instead of running pace on Saturday, I ran at a GA pace. Usually took me a few miles to warm up, but then I brought it down to MP+10 to MP+30 for the remainder. I ran an actual "pace" run on my recovery week Sundays (as part of the long run, once every three weeks) and then on the Wednesday or Thursday of the following-following week (10-11 days later).
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Admin on Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:44 pm

On lower weekly mileage base I would not do a longish pace run (assuming it's a real goal pace) the day after a long run because of injury risk. For instance, running 10 miles at goal MP the day after a 20 mile long run just doesn't make sense. The residual fatigue from the 20 mile run will make your pace run much harder, and possibly cause you to miss your goal pace, or push too hard and hurt yourself. That's why it's scheduled Pace first then long run. You can ALWAYS run your long run a bit easier and it's no big deal. If you are going to do pace runs, then do them AT PACE. Otherwise, just run your long runs on Sat and run whatever feels right on Sun.

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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Michael Enright on Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:01 pm

Hal answers your exact question on his website, here: http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51139/Marathon-Intermediate-1-Training-Program

Just scroll down to the discussion under the heading "Modifying the program."
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Jeff F on Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:08 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:On lower weekly mileage base I would not do a longish pace run (assuming it's a real goal pace) the day after a long run because of injury risk. For instance, running 10 miles at goal MP the day after a 20 mile long run just doesn't make sense. The residual fatigue from the 20 mile run will make your pace run much harder, and possibly cause you to miss your goal pace, or push too hard and hurt yourself. That's why it's scheduled Pace first then long run. You can ALWAYS run your long run a bit easier and it's no big deal. If you are going to do pace runs, then do them AT PACE. Otherwise, just run your long runs on Sat and run whatever feels right on Sun.

This is exactly the reason I do not reverse these two runs.
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Tim C on Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:28 am

Thanks for all of the replies. I think what I'll do is a combination of the two. Sometimes I'll run the pace on Saturday and do the long run by myself on Sunday and sometimes I'll do my long run on Saturday with the group and do the pace on Sunday.
Work being what it is, I have to take advantage of my weekends and run both days.
I think just getting the extra miles in will be beneficial. It's not like I'm going to place in my age group or anything...
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  mul21 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:34 am

In those weeks you decide to do the long run with the group, you might be best served to do another slow, longish run on Sunday. Something in the hour and a half plus range to help stimulate some fat burning that will be a benefit late in the marathon. Just another option and I'm guessing that would be a 10ish mile run for you?
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  T Miller on Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 am

@Jeff F wrote:
@Mr MattM wrote:On lower weekly mileage base I would not do a longish pace run (assuming it's a real goal pace) the day after a long run because of injury risk. For instance, running 10 miles at goal MP the day after a 20 mile long run just doesn't make sense. The residual fatigue from the 20 mile run will make your pace run much harder, and possibly cause you to miss your goal pace, or push too hard and hurt yourself. That's why it's scheduled Pace first then long run. You can ALWAYS run your long run a bit easier and it's no big deal. If you are going to do pace runs, then do them AT PACE. Otherwise, just run your long runs on Sat and run whatever feels right on Sun.

This is exactly the reason I do not reverse these two runs.

I've tried the long run / pace run and it makes the pace run nearly impossible and I find it to be a confidence killer.

On occasion I've done a pace run prior to meeting the group for a run. This turned out to be a decent option.
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  fostever on Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:48 am

I concure with Matt and others on reversing the Long run and pace run, just doesn't work due to the fact the long run fatigues the legs (especially older ones) to make the pace run efficiency nearly impossible. Recovery runs or rest are the better choice for that day after LSD.
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:08 am

@fostever wrote:I concure with Matt and others on reversing the Long run and pace run, just doesn't work due to the fact the long run fatigues the legs (especially older ones) to make the pace run efficiency nearly impossible. Recovery runs or rest are the better choice for that day after LSD.

Funny as I have had just the opposite experience - maybe because I would consider myself a "middle distance" runner and I tend to run the pace runs too fast. It also forces me to run the LSD slower which is often another issue that I have. As you can see, we are all an experiment of one.
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Admin on Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:22 pm

Base mileage is key, as well. At sustained higher mileage I'd have no problem banging out a pace run the day after a long run. At lower mileage those long runs take a far greater toll on the body (for many people... me included).

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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Michael Enright on Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:21 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
@fostever wrote:I concure with Matt and others on reversing the Long run and pace run, just doesn't work due to the fact the long run fatigues the legs (especially older ones) to make the pace run efficiency nearly impossible. Recovery runs or rest are the better choice for that day after LSD.

Funny as I have had just the opposite experience - maybe because I would consider myself a "middle distance" runner and I tend to run the pace runs too fast. It also forces me to run the LSD slower which is often another issue that I have. As you can see, we are all an experiment of one.

Michele's experience is like mine - probably because, I, too, tend to run the pace runs too fast if left to my own devices...
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Admin on Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:34 pm

Seems to me if your pace runs aren't a problem the day after a 20 mile run on lower average weekly mileage, your goal MP is really, really conservative.

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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:35 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:Seems to me if your pace runs aren't a problem the day after a 20 mile run on lower average weekly mileage, your goal MP is really, really conservative.

I'm not going to disagree with you there, Matt as my half marathon times would tell you that I do not run/race a marathon well (meaning up to my actual potential).
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Re: Novice 2 vs Intermediate 1 Question

Post  Tim C on Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:11 pm

Thanks for all of the replies. As I said earlier, I think I'll do some weeks where I do pace on Saturday then LSD on Sundays. Other weeks I may run long on Saturday and just do an easy run on Sunday, slower than MP.

For me, at my pace, I think more miles is more important than anything else.
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