Doing the Pfitz

I have decided to try a new training plan for my next marathon.  It is called the Pfitzinger 70/18 week training plan since it was developed by Peter Pfitzinger and it is an 18 week schedule and peaks out at 70 miles for the weekly mileage.  I am in week 5 however, I had to skip second half of week 4 and the first half of week 5 because I was traveling.

Aside from the increased mileage, there are some major differences between the Pfitz plan and the Hal Higdon plan that I used previously.  It is broken into four “MesoCycles”.  Endurance, Lactate Threshold + Endurance, Race Preparation and Taper.  There are regular speed workouts which include intervals, lactate threshold runs and race pace runs.  One last thing that I like about it is that each type of workout is run at a different pace.  General runs are at an aerobic pace, middle distance runs are at a mid-long pace while recovery and long runs are at a slow pace.  Speed workouts also have varying paces.

I have never trained like this before and am really surprised by how effective this is.  It is easily noticeable how much easier it is to do a long run when the previous run at a recovery pace.  It makes the long run that much more effective.  It is also crucial to do the long run at a slow pace to prolong the amount of time that you are on your feet.  The reason you do long runs is to build endurance and completing it too fast is simply wasting the opportunity to do so.  You are not going to build any speed on a long run so why try.  Save that for the speed workouts.

One of the defining characteristics of the Pfitz is that in addition to the long run on the weekend, you also do a sizable runs in the middle of the week that range from 11 to 15 miles.

I am hoping that the increased mileage and regular speed workouts will be enough to cut another 15 minutes off of my marathon time.   That is if I survive.

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