P.G. Wodehouse, the doyen of English humour writers, had a series of novels featuring a dandy-about-town called Psmith. The p is silent, and was added by Psmith to distinguish himself from the mass of mere Smiths.
Pete Pfitzinger also packs a silent p in his surname, though thankfully not in his first name as well. Not knowing the man, I couldn’t tell you how dandyish he is – but he has certainly cut a dash in Olympic marathons, finishing 11th in 1984 and 13th in 1988.
And he has distinguished himself further as the co-author of Advanced Marathoning, a hugely popular training guide for experienced runners. (Beginners or marathon novices should use the equally-popular Hal Higdon plans instead.)
The other writer of this book is Scott Douglas, who tends to get less attention, left in the shadows, out of the limelight – the Hal David to Pfitzinger’s Burt Bacharach, if you will. The irrefutable proof of this? Pfitzinger has a Wikipedia page but Douglas doesn’t.
Perhaps that initial silent p really works. Come on, Pdouglas, get with it!
Anyway, this all comes up because my Dublin Marathon 2014 training will start soon – and I’m thinking of following a Pfitzinger and Douglas training plan.
I haven’t followed someone else’s training plan for my recent marathons, although last spring I used the Red Intermediate Plan from Daniels’ Running Formula for pre-marathon training. For last year’s Dublin Marathon I added some of Daniels’ methods, notably threshold runs, to my usual training plan.
Pfitzinger and Douglas have also been influenced by Daniels – they thank him in the acknowledgements page of their book, and their training principles use Daniels’ VO2max scale for calculating paces for training and racing.
So why will I use Pfitzinger and Douglas’s method for my next marathon? Curiosity, mostly. I’ve heard that duo’s book being mentioned in forums, articles and podcasts, so I thought I’d check it out. Also, their plans are similar to what I’ve already been doing – threshold runs, marathon pace runs and regular recovery days.
If I do go ahead and use Pfitzinger and Douglas’s book, I’ll follow their 18-week, up-to-55-miles-per-week schedule. My usual marathon training plan has a weekly peak of around 42 miles, so I’d be adding a bit of distance. And that extra distance will be complemented by extra pace – I note that week 2 has a 13-mile run with 8 miles at marathon pace. Yikes! That’s a bit early in the process if I’m targeting a new race pace.
With 4 weeks to go until I start my Dublin Marathon training, it looks like I need to start training already just to be ready for Pfitzinger and Douglas. Pfft!!