Hi there!

I'm at a very transformational time in my running.  I started about 6 years ago, just getting out there and running a lot, and wanting to run a marathon.  I did that, but not well.  My time was 3:15, but I hit the wall half-way through and dragged butt for the last bit.  I tried again the next year, following Hal Higdon's Intermediate II plan, and while finishing at 3:09, I still didn't feel "good".  I ended up taking a couple years off for one reason or another, and last year gave it my 3rd attempt.  I wasn't in as peak shape as what I had been the previous races, but I was determined to feel good at the end of this run, while still having an aggressive time.  This meant paying attention to my heart rate for the first time.  I did well in that race, finishing with a 3:20 time, but I did feel great and I had a negative split between halves.  So now, my goal has been to combine feeling good with perfecting my pace as best as possible.  I have a marathon scheduled in October, where I'm hoping to do between 3:09 - 3:15.  BUT, my ultimate goal is to do a sub-3 hour, as soon as possible (I'm turning 30 this month).

Through this last training, I've read Born to Run and have been playing around with my stride a lot.  I tried doing barefoot, but have very sensitive skin on my feet so that was quite painful (and probably wasn't doing it the best way possible), got some Vibram KSO's which were nice, but have also been giving me bad blisters and even breaking the skin and drawing blood (where the seam between the rubber sole and fabric top rubs against the top of my foot).  But I seem to have found success with the Nike Frees.  I've been transitioning in to them from my previous stability shoes, and it's been going great so far (I've built up to going as far as a 30km in them, as well as an all day 30 mile run too).  I've been now looking at my cadence and running form as recommended by Eric (which I've had a hard time changing from 20-21 steps in 15s to the recommended 23).  I find only resort to heel striking when I'm getting really tired, but I believe I'm on my way to phasing it out altogether.

So, my question is will the 20-week marathon training plan help me how I need it most?  I want to follow a plan that will embrace this rediscovered philosophy I've been learning about, but also one that will really challenge me to break new barriers and get towards that sub-3 hour mark.  Maybe I'm not ready yet, but I'd like to do whatever I can to get ready.

Any thoughts?  Thanks!


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Hi Paul! I think you should not undreestimate Eric's possibility to do miracles with runners and buy one of his programs!

The only reason I hav'nt yet buy one myself is cuz i all my motivation come from the fact that i pass from a "craling lazy slug" to an "athlete" all by myself being selfcoached!!!

Definition:craling lazy slug:Who is unable to do 5 minutes of eliptic machine and get winded by 3 set of stairs!!!

Hi Paul,

I am currently on week 4 of Eric's 12 week half marathon program, and find it is definitely building a solid running base for me.  It is based on heart rate (as opposed to the 8 week strength/speed program I did in the fall). and is complemented by my having done the 8 week program in the fall, which is based mostly on cadence and pace.  Eric adds the option for doing some of the runs barefoot or in barefoot-like shoes, but mostly the shorter runs and on off-days.  Here in the Northeast part of the country, I have been using the treadmill a lot, even being able to transfer some hill repeats to the treadmill (I prefer the hill work on real hills though, as the speed on the treadmill isn't as variable as running on land).  I would highly recommend the marathon program of Eric's, as I am sure it is somewhat similar to the half marathon program I am currently doing.  You need to have a Garmin with a heart rate monitor.  It takes awhile to get used to the Garmin, but once you do, it is pretty nifty.  The nice thing about Eric's programs is that there are also people here that can answer your questions (eventually).

Best,

John

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