I realize that it has been a long time since my last but this Pfitzinger training plan takes up a lot more time and energy than I thought. Seriously. The Pfitz Plan makes the Higdon Intermediate Plan that I used previously seem like a walk in the park. The most I had ever run in a week before starting this plan was 50 miles. Last week I ran 70 and it was the second time this summer that I dinged 70.
Like most marathon plans, The Pfitz has a long run on the weekend. Advanced plans include workouts such as intervals and hills. The Pfitz includes at least one day of intervals but also adds lactate threshold runs in the middle and late weeks.
What really sets Pfitz apart from the standard cookie-cutter plan is the mid-long run smack in the middle of the week. These are between 13 and 15 miles and should be run somewhere between long and aerobic pace. These are typically followed by a recovery run the next day and another run two days after of a length about 2 or 3 miles less. For example: 15@mid-long pace on Wed., 6@recovery pace on Thu., 12@mid-long on Fri. These mid-week runs are the essence of the Pfitz.
So far, everything is going well. My body is holding up great and I am still having fun. I have to admit however, that I am reeeeaaaallly looking forward to being able to sleep in again. To get the 15 milers in before work, I get up at 4:45 am and am out the door by 5. I will say, however, that it’s pretty cool to be in the crowded cafeteria at work and think to myself “Nobody in this entire room ran 15 miles this morning”. Most didn’t even drive that far.
What seems to make these mid-long runs so effective is that by doing 12, 15 and 20 milers on a weekly basis, it changes the whole scale of running 26. When you start running 15 milers as easily as you used to run 8, the idea doing 26 is a lot less intimidating. In every marathon I have run, I reach a point where I tell myself “You only have X miles left to run. You run that distance all the time. You got this”. That distance used to be 6 or 8 miles. Now it’s 13 or 15. By running several 12+ milers each week all summer long, they actually do become easy. You also find yourself running them at the same pace that you used to run 6.
I will admit that while it’s a cool too see the improvement in my running, it’s also kind of bittersweet. Last week I had an especially good 15 miler in which I beat all of my PR’s from 10k to 15 mile distances. At first I was excited but then it hit me. I came to the realization that I have been marathon training non-stop since January and will most likely never train this hard for this long again. Next year I turn 50. These PR’s are probably going to be for life. Maybe that’s when I need to turn my attention to swimming where age isn’t quite as big of a factor. Oh, it’s a factor. Just not as much. Who knows, I might even have a few more years to get a PR or two on the bike.