Metric Hal Higdon Marathon Training Plans

This post showcases the spreadsheet for the metricized and beautified Hal Higdon’s marathon training plans.

Update May 15, 2017: an improved version of the plans has been posted, now including full and half marathon plans, in metric and imperial units. The downloads below were updated too, but if you are interested in the spreadsheet, imperial units, or half marathon plans, click here.

In December 2016, I started training for my first marathon: the 2017 Rotterdam Marathon. Like many first time marathoners, I chose a Hal Higdon plan and grabbed his book: Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. Hal Higdon features 5 plans in his book and a total of 14 on his website (all freely available). Interactive versions are available on TrainingPeaks. I ended up choosing the Intermediate 1 plan and was very happy with it. I recently revisited a spreadsheet tool that I wrote, while planning for my next marathon, and decided to share it out here. The sheet adapts the free plans from Higdon’s website to be more clear, to use units I (personally) can related to, and to make it look neat for printing and posting on a wall.

The sheet was created in LibreOffice Calc. The plans, generously provided by Hal Higdon, needed a bit of work. In general the units in the plans are mess: most are imperial (but not all), and long, tempo and interval workouts miss units (they are: miles, minutes, and meters, respectively). Moreover, the values of the table are wordy, for example “7 m run”. I could have (perhaps should have) typed them over instead of copying the tables literally. But since I enjoy screwing around with spreadsheets, I instead wrote a bunch of formulas that form a highly specialized Higdon interpreter to extract all information from each cell. In theorhal_higdon_novice_1_metric hal_higdon_novice_2_metric hal_higdon_intermediate_1_metric hal_higdon_intermediate_2_metric hal_higdon_advanced_1_metric hal_higdon_advanced_2_metricy the formulas should be compatible with all tables from Hal’s website. There are two sheets: the schedule sheet, displaying the schedule for printing with some settings, and a raw sheet containing the copied tables from the website and all the conversion magic. The formulas turned out horrible and super hacky, please don’t look at them.

The sheet has the following features:

  • Selection of 6 Hal Higdon marathon training plans: Novice 1 and 2, Intermediate 1 and 2, and Advanced 1 and 2.
  • All units are clearly stated for each workout: either kilometer (km), minutes (min), or meter (m).
  • Small calendar dates are displayed above each day, based on a settable marathon date (assumed to be on a Sunday).
  • Color-coded days distinguish eight separate types of training and rest (legend at the bottom).
  • Layout is optimized for A4 printing, leaving plenty of space in each cell for making small notes.
  • Total distance is reported for each week. The distance is estimated based on user-definable constants for training types such as interval, tempo, etc.

You can download the sheet below (works with LibreOffice Calc; Excel or Google Sheets are untested, but should work?!) or you can download the ready-made PDFs for each of the six plans. However if you get the PDFs you will miss out on the calendar dates at the top of each day (showing the day number instead), weekly totals optimized for you, and any other customization fun.

Hope you find this helpful! All credits go to Hal Higdon for providing these plans for free. His site has a ton of accompanying info for each plan, which you should check out (along with his book or TrainingPeak plans) if you use any of these plans. You can get the latest edition of “Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide” on Amazon.com.

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