A few weeks ago I checked a book out from the local library titled Advanced Marathoning by Peter Pfitzinger and Scott Douglass. This book provides several sets of training plans designed to prepare a runner for a marathon. One set of training plans peaks at 55 miles per week. Another set peaks at 70 miles per week and another set peaks at 93 miles per week. I have not read the 2nd edition of this book. But, having read the table of contents of the 2nd edition, it looks like there are four sets, instead of three in the latest edition.
Pfitzinger was an elite marathoner in the early 1980s, finishing marthons at around 2 hours and 15 minutes. His training plans ask runners to do the bulk of their miles at a pace 10 to 20 percent slower than their goal marathon pace. So, if one were hoping to run a marathon at a 9 minute mile pace, one would do most of the training runs from 9:54 minutes per mile to 10:48 minutes per mile pace. There are some threshold runs, some VOmax runs and some runs at goal marathon pace sprinkled into the training plans as well. And each set of training plans contains a 24 week, a 18 week and a 12 week training plan, depending on how much time you have to train for the marathon.
Two other books that I am interested in read, but have not yet read, are Hansons Marathon Method: A Regegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon by Luke Humphrey and Daniels Running Formula by Jack Daniels.
In the final analysis, I tend to think that the best training plan is the training plan I can actually stick with. But I am always trying to find the right balance between lots of long, slow distance (aerobic) running with “quality” runs which are at a faster pace. I don’t want to do what I did a few years ago, which was try to do most of my runs at goal race pace. That got my fatigued and injured. But I plan on doing some more reading on this as we move towards the spring racing season of 2014.