Hal Higdon: Marathon Training Review Part 1

Happy Friday everyone! There is just something about Fridays that brings me so much joy & I know I’m not the only one!

I can’t believe it, but I’m officially halfway through with my 18 week marathon training plan. I say this every week, but things are getting real around here! Because I’m at the halfway point, I wanted to do a post about my thoughts thus far on the plan that I chose.

When I first starting looking for the perfect plan for me, I was only looking for 2 things:

1. A plan that was 16-18 weeks long – I knew I wanted to follow a plan for this long to give me plenty of time to prepare, both physically and mentally. I knew I didn’t want to go into the marathon feeling unprepared because that definitely messes with my mentality.

2. A plan with no more than 4 days of running – I know some people like to run 5 or 6 days a week, but with my schedule I felt that 4 days would be perfect for me. I figured this would give me time for rest, and also time for strength training. I was worried that if I was running any more than 4 days, I wouldn’t have enough energy for quality strength training, which is really important to me.

So with these two things in mind, I looked to Google to help me out. I bookmarked a few that I liked, but Hal Higdon’s plans definitely stood out the most to me. I’ve heard of Hal Higdon many times in the past, but I’ve never used one of his plans. Actually, I’ve NEVER used a training plan for any of my previous half marathons. I kind of always just did my own thing, and made sure to get a long run in each week. However, I knew with my first marathon, I absolutely had to follow a plan, or I would be doomed!

One of my best friends, Jordan, ran her first marathon in April, and highly recommended using one of Hal Higdon’s plans. She used his Novice 1 marathon training program. After comparing both his Novice 1 and Novice 2 programs, I decided to go with Novice 2.


This plan fit perfectly with what I was looking for, and I felt confident that it would prepare me for 26.2.

For the first 3 weeks, I really had to hold myself back on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the plan only called for 3 miles. I wanted to run longer on those days! My friend Jordan told me to “trust the plan,” so I did. It wasn’t easy, but I took her advice since she had just ran her first marathon and broke 4 hours! When I got to week 4 and saw 11 miles on Saturday, I was thrilled! I was so excited to start increasing my mileage and really start challenging myself.

There have been a few instances where I have had to adjust the plan a little either for pain, or a long run just not fitting in my schedule on Saturdays. So far, I have skipped 2 4 mile runs (on Thursdays) and have done my long runs on a Thursday or Friday instead of Saturday, but I still got the miles in.

Overall, I absolutely love Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Training Program thus far! It is challenging me, but definitely not making me dread runs. I love that I only run on 4 days, have a couple days for rest, and time for strength training as well. I will be honest that even when the plan calls for rest, I will do some strength training or a quick 30 minute workout, but nothing too strenuous because I know my body does need rest.

From here on out, I don’t foresee having to adjust the schedule at all. The only reason I would is if I’m having pain, but hopefully I can finish out the next 9 weeks injury free!

I’m anxious to start Week 10 on Monday, because that means we are on the downward slope to October 20!

I plan to do Part 2 of my review after the marathon :)

Do you always follow a training plan for your races?

Have you used Hal Higdon’s training plans?

What are your plans this weekend?!

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11 thoughts on “Hal Higdon: Marathon Training Review Part 1

  1. Sarah @ Sweet Miles

    I’m going by this plan too! Can’t wait to read more about your training!! Also, congrats on running 13.1 in sub 2!!! HUGE goal of mine, and it’s nice to see it’s possible :) Way to go!!

    1. fitfortherun Post author

      Thank you!! I never thought I would be able to do it, and I did! So you definitely can too :)

  2. running4cupcakes

    Nice work so far. And thanks for sharing your thought on your training plan. I would have the same problem with holding to shorter miles during the week while training. . . I will be interested to see how you feel about the training after the marathon so make sure to keep us posted!

  3. Sarah

    I did A LOT Of searching for a marathon training plan too and I also picked Novice 2! It really is the perfect balance for me so far and I LOVE IT! I am starting week 6 TODAY so Im right behind you!

  4. Pingback: Return of the Happy Dance | My DDP Yoga Journey

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