Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning

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This plan is specifically for experienced marathon runners looking to improve their performance. There are no beginner or intermediate plans, but there are multiple plans depending on miles per week and number of weeks. The book includes some interesting plans with basic guidance around training, but not as sophisticated as Jack Daniels or FIRST. The plans involve a lot of long and medium Long Runs, and some speedwork, with the higher mileage plans having little rest and recovery. (This article should be read in conjunction with my Comparison of Marathon Training Plans.)

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  • Key Characteristics
    • Depending on the mileage, you run from 4-5 days/week up to 7 days/week, with the two highest mileage plans requiring you to run twice a day (doubles).
    • One or two medium Long Runs per week in addition to the Long Run. The higher mileage plans require you to run 13-15 miles midweek, with the highest mileage plans having two runs totaling over 20 miles midweek.
    • Initial Ramp (mileage increase/week from start to 16): You need to be doing 16+ mile plans regularly before considering this plan.
    • Core Ramp (mileage increase/week from 16 to max): Low to moderate at around 0.3 to 0.6.
  • Pros
    • The focus on advanced runners and the marathon gives the book some useful specificity.
    • These plans take in to account the runner's weekly mileage, providing four unique sets of plans.
    • This plan prescribes far more Long Runs than any other except Jack Daniels elite. Depending on your mileage, you will have 10-16 runs of 16 miles or more and 3-8 runs of 20 miles or more.
    • While there is no speedwork per se in the Long Runs, a number of the Long Runs include segments at marathon pace.
  • Cons
    • There is remarkably little rest and recovery in all but the lowest mileage plan. I am concerned that the high levels of Training Monotony make the higher mileage versions of these plans a poor choice for most runners.
    • Some broad guidance for training paces and distances provided. For instance, there is a note that the Long Runs should be 10% to 20% slower than goal marathon pace, but there is no advice on how to do the calculation, or tables to use.
    • While the plans adjust for mileage, they don't adjust for fitness levels.
  • Modifications
    • I would drop some of the Recovery Runs in the higher mileage plans and use of those days for rest.
  • Overtraining risk
    • The Overtraining risk varies with the plan; sub-55 is moderate, 55-70 is moderate to high, 70-85 is high, 85+ is high to very high. I would be extremely cautious of the higher mileage plans.
  • Good For::
    • Beginner: 0. Don't' even consider this plan. Look at Galloway or Higdon instead.
    • Novice: 0. Don't' even consider this plan.
    • Ringger: 1. The lowest mileage could work well for you, but only if you're an experienced half marathon runner that incorporated over distance training runs.
    • Maintenance: 0. This plan is far too intense for someone simply wishing to maintain an marathoning ability.
    • Improver: 3. This is most likely to be too intense, but depending on your level of fitness and commitment the lower mileage plan might work for you. Overall, I think Jack Daniels Plan A would be better.
    • Enthusiast: 3. This is likely to be too intense, but one of the two lower mileage plans are worth considering if you want to run higher mileage. Overall, I think Jack Daniels Plan A would be better, or even Jack Daniels Elite Plan.
    • Elite: 3. This is a worthy contender for elites, especially if you want to run high mileage. However, beware the risk of Overtraining, and the lack of recovery that may devalue your efforts. You're probably better off with the Jack Daniels Elite Plan.
    • Limited Training Time: 0. This plan requires a lot of training time.
    • Traditionalist: 4. This plan almost defines the traditional approach of high mileage runners.
    • Triathlete/Multisport: 0. This plan leaves little or no time for much in the way of cross training or other sports.
    • Prior Overtraining: 0. This plan is likely to increase your risk of Overtraining, rather than reduce it.
    • Sub 3:00: 4. This plan is focused more on faster runners.
    • 3:00-4:30: 3. This plan is probably a stretch for mid-pack runners.
    • 4:30-5:30: 0. Trying to do this level of intensity and mileage is too much slower runners.
    • 5:30+: 0. Use Galloway.
    • Speedwork. This plan generally has one speed work sessions per week, , but it's mostly about pounding out the mileage.

Comparison With Other Plans

Main article: A Comparison of Marathon Training Plans

  FIRST
Marathon
FIRST

Novice

Jeff Galloway's
You Can Do It!
Hanson's
Marathon Method
Just Finish
Hanson's
Marathon Method
Beginner/Advanced
Hanson's
Marathon Method
Elite
Jack Daniels
4Week
Jack Daniels
2Q
Jack Daniels
Plan A
Jack Daniels
Elite (AKA 12 Week)
Pfitzinger's
Advanced Marathoning
Hal Higdon's
Ultimate Training Guide
Waitz's Run
your first marathon
Running With Lydiard
Beginner 0 2 5 2 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 3 2 0
Novice 1 3 4 1 1 0 3 1 2 0 0 3 1 0
Ringger 2 4 2 0 2 2 3 3 4 1 1 2 0 2
Maintenance 2 2 3 2 2 0 3 2 2 0 0 4 0 0
Improver 4 3 3 0 3 0 3 4 4 3 3 2 0 1
Enthusiast 4 2 3 0 2 1 3 5 5 4 3 2 0 2
Elite 3 0 1 0 1 3 1 3 3 4 3 0 0 3
Limited Training Time 4 4 0 3 2 0 5 5 5 4 0 2 2 0
Traditionalist 2 2 2 0 0 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 1
Triathlete/Multisport 5 5 4 0 0 0 5 5 5 3 0 2 3 0
Prior Overtraining 3 3 4 1 4 1 5 4 4 0 0 0 0 0
Sub 3:00 5 5 2 1 2 3 4 5 5 5 4 2 0 3
3:00-4:30 5 5 4 2 3 0 5 4 5 3 3 3 2 1
4:30-5:30 3 3 5 1 2 0 2 2 3 0 0 2 2 0
5:30+ 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Like Speedwork 5 5 0 0 3 3 5 5 5 5 3 1 0 5
Hate Speedwork 0 0 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 5 0