Which Daniels’ Marathon Plan to Follow?

The last week, I’ve been meaning to work backwards from G’ma’s marathon (June 18th) to see when I’d officially have to begin the Daniel’s marathon plan.

Good thing I did… because turns out, I should be starting THIS WEEK.

Oh, man.

I still haven’t decided which of the Daniels’ marathon programs I’ll attempt: 1. stick to the general program I did for TCM? Just add mileage and bump down the target times? Or 2. Move to the elite program?

What are the major differences, you ask? Good question.
In the Elite plan, Phase 2-4 are one continuous 18 week phase. The plan is set up to steadily increase the various types of stress being imposed on the runner rather than changing which system is being stressed during different periods of time.
Looking through the program, it mixes up interval pacing, marathon pace, and tempo pace workouts throughout. You can see that in the first two workouts (week 1):

1. 2 mile WU, then 30 minutes MP, 4:45 tempo pace, 25 minutes MP, 4:45 tempo, 4:45 MP, 2 miles easy (~14 miles)
2. 2 mile WU, 8 miles at MP, 2 mile CD

Vs. the General plan, which focuses first on interval training, then adds marathon and tempo pace. (Working one system at a time).

With that said, I don’t know which one will work better for me. I feel like I have a good interval/VO2 max base from this winter’s plan, which are what the first 6 weeks of the General plan works on… is that a good thing? Or is it unneccessary to continue to work on that system for that long? We’ll see what Jerry has to say, he’s very objective & is smarter than me when it comes to an overall plan. I’m pretty sure either will work really well, as long as I can pound out the mileage, get the quality in, and remain healthy and motivated.

Whichever it is, though, I’m excited (although also apprehensive) to begin! Let the mileage/work/general feeling of exhaustion begin! 🙂 (Oh, crap…)

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  1. The elite schedule requires one to immediately hop into doing 22 milers with more than half of it faster than projected marathon pace. Unless you're in that kind of shape already, I'd stick to the other one.

  2. Yeah, the Elite plan looks pretty tough… the first workout is 70 minutes of MP or faster.

    Having focused on interval training for the majority of the last 7-8 weeks, would you take the General plan as is and continue for the next 6? Or make modifications to add more tempo/marathon pace (sort of a blend of the two plans)?
    I usually don't like to change a plan (it's written one way for a reason)… just not sure what to do.

  3. The Marathon Plan A has hard intervals as the second workout during the first couple of weeks; it appears the idea is to start hard, then work to build up the number of fast miles, while decreasing the intensity. As you've been doing hard interval work, following Plan A as written would probably work, but this is the time to talk to your coach!

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