Hal Higdon Novice 2 Training – How’s It Going?

Well, I can honestly say this training cycle couldn’t have been any better for me at this time! Last year I trained using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate training plan, you can read more about that here. However, after spending 6 months side-lined from running any great distances {not much over 5-6k} because of a hamstring injury, I decided to take a step back and just focus on building my base again. That’s where Hal’s Novice 2 training plan comes into play.

I feel like I ended 2014 in really good running shape but all that changed when I pulled my hamstring playing soccer. And yes, I’ll be playing soccer again this winter 😉 I won’t bore you with my injury details but I was very limited as to what running I could do and it took until May to even start to feel better and August until I was 100% released from Physiotherapy.

To recap….

In 2014 I used Hal Higdon Intermediate (red in kilometres since I run in km) for Valley Harvest Half Marathon.


This year, I chose Novice 2 for Maritime Race Weekend Half Marathon {and 5k}.

I changed everything to kilometres, again…I run in km not miles…I’m Canadian 😉

MRW HALF Training Plan

So why did I choose Novice 2 over Intermediate? 

After getting injured I had to stop running, attend physiotherapy, massage therapy and I saw an osteopath for treatment. This was over a period from January 10th to the beginning of May. It all helped but I couldn’t run more than 4 or 5k outside without being in lots of pain. Bit of a fail it you ask me. In May, I saw a sports physiotherapist who literally turned my injury around and spent from May – August with him.

I chose Novice 2 as I felt it was a less running, less demand on my body and enough to focus on building my base back up again. I work full-time, my husband works out of Province on shift work and we have two little girls; 2.5 and 5 years old. This training cycle just worked better for me this time around = less stress!

What were the benefits to me?

Running four days instead of five. Having Monday AND Friday as rest days was weird at first but I thoroughly enjoyed this. I loved the flexibility of changing one of my rest days to a cross training day of cycling or yoga.

I wasn’t focusing on speed {NO SPEED WORK in the plan}. Overall, it was a realistic training plan for me while recovering from my hamstring injury.

What I missed from the Intermediate:

I did miss speed work and hill work but managed to add that in every once in a while. As I got a little more comfortable I did more hill work.

What I loved about Novice 2:  

I really loved rest days on Mondays and Friday’s – it just worked for my lifestyle. I also feel like it’s prepared me to run my 3rd half marathon and NOT get injured. It was enough of a plan to follow, yet I could change up the days as I needed and felt like my body wasn’t being pushed towards another injury.

mrw to date training 2015 aug 31

Cross Training: 

I loved having the cross training day on Sunday’s or after my long run day. I would have liked to hit up the GoodLife Fitness Gym if I lived closer, especially on the hot and humid days this summer. Let’s be honest, I would have probably lived at the gym.

What I changed or added:

I added in some hills and the occasional fartlek’s.  I always tried to run my last kilometre of each run faster. I did some cross training – not much (on the bike and dvd workouts) and wish I had done better at this – next round, right! {Which starts right after Maritime Race Weekend as I have 5 weeks to go after that until PEI Half Marathon}.

What would I change next time:

One day for speed work or hills – maybe alternate weeks. I’d focus better on my cross training days and add another cross training session (a light one) to a 5k run day (not on speed or hill workout days).

What’s your favourite training plan?

Ever take a step back from a training plan?

What would you do better the next training cycle you do?

10 thoughts on “Hal Higdon Novice 2 Training – How’s It Going?

  1. Glad you’ve got a plan that works for you! I tried to follow a Higdon plan for my second half last year, but between my customizations and missing runs due to being busy, what I actually did wasn’t really Higdon when all was said and done. I kind of suck at following plans.

  2. I love Hal. Such great plans and easy to customize to your needs. We have over 160 people running for our charity and only one Canadian. I love reading the banter in our group about miles vs kilometers. It gets pretty funny.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.