Hal Higdon Marathon Training Guide

Hal Higdon The Best Marathon Training Guide

Hal Higdon is known in the marathon running community as an expert in training and preparing for your first race. The Hal Higdon Marathon Training Guide is among the top resources for beginners and experienced runners alike. Higdon has published thirty-five books, including the best-selling Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide.

Higdon’s experience with marathon training and racing began in 1959 when he competed in his first marathon at Boston. Although he did not finish the race, Higdon ran with the leaders up until mile twenty-two. Higdon then went on to place a personal best of 2:21:55. He has raced over one hundred marathons, competed at the Olympic trials eight times, and also won several national championships. Higdon has been the longest contributing writer for Runner’s World magazine and is featured as the top expert in marathon training and racing.

Foolproof Marathon Training Guide

The elements of the Hal Higdon Marathon Training program are foolproof. Higdon incorporates long runs, quality runs, and rest into the training programs to avoid injury and ensure a successful first marathon race. Higdon offers eighteen week programs for beginners, intermediate runners who have run several races and want to improve their time, and advanced runners looking to set new personal records or qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Hal Higdon Marathon Training For Beginners 

For beginners and intermediate runners, the Hal Higdon Marathon Training programs focus on gradually increasing the distance of weekly long runs. Higdon suggests running your weekly long run on the weekend so that you have enough time and energy to dedicate to this important element. In all of his beginner and intermediate marathon training plans, Higdon never requires the runner to run more than twenty miles during their long run. Rather than running miles for the sake of making it to twenty-six, Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training program emphasizes quality long runs. Higdon encourages runners to keep their long runs slow, but can pick up the pace at the end if they are feeling good.

Like Jeff Galloway, another expert in the marathon running community, Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training programs for beginners and intermediate runners allow walking breaks during long runs and the race. Instead of pushing a runner to the point of exhaustion, over-training, and injury, Higdon’s program is designed to make sure every runner finishes the twenty-six miles strong.

In an interview in 2010 on his approach to marathon training, Higdon said, “I feel that runners need to start easy with a program that doesn’t extend themselves too much in the early weeks and months, then eventually figure out what works for their own interests and lifestyles.” In 2011, he reasserted the importance of rest for marathon training when he was asked what the most common mistake made by runners training for a marathon is. Higdon’s response was, “I’ll keep this answer short. They don’t know when and how to rest.”

Hal Higdon Marathon Cross Training Program

Hal Higdon Marathon Training Guide BookHigdon also places a lot of emphasis on cross-training and rest during marathon training. For cross-training, Higdon recommends aerobic activities which use forward motion. He discourages sports such as tennis or basketball as these require more side-to-side movement and may cause injury to a marathon runner during training. The Hal Higdon Marathon Training plans put rest days between hard workout days. During this time, runners should take time off to allow their bodies and minds to recover and stay fresh during the training program.

The Hal Higdon Marathon Training plans are designed to be flexible. This is why Higdon’s plans are popular among runners who have busy schedules and work full-time. The flexibility of Higdon’s plan also allows runners to join a local club which may schedule its long run on a Sunday instead of the typically scheduled Saturday long run. As long as runners keep the rest periods before and after their quality runs, the Hal Higdon Marathon Training plan can be slightly modified yet still prepare runners well for their first marathon.

Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training Conclusion


With all of the free marathon training programs available online, it can be difficult for a beginner runner to know which is the best for his or her training. Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training program stand out among the best for marathon runners of all ages and abilities because of the extensive research Higdon put into each program. Drawing from both his personal experience as a champion masters runner, the experience of racing over one hundred marathons, and several decades of working with runners of all abilities in marathon training, Higdon created several options for runners.

The Hal Higdon Marathon Training plans are designed to ensure a successful race for a new runner or a more experienced runner while preventing injury and over-training. See best-selling Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide.


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