Ok so I'm looking at Higdon's Novice 2 program or his Intermediate 1 program.
Novice 2 looks good because it has 4 run days a week which is what I'm used to and 4 days a week keeps me from getting burned out. It allows me time to rest in between and leaves time for work. But doing "what I'm used to" isn't necessarily my goal here. I'm looking to raise my mileage and get more fit. Also this summer I have a fellowship so don't have to physically appear anywhere during each week--I'll just be working from home. So I have more flexibility than usual.
Intermediate 1 looks good except there's one thing that concerns me: he has you doing runs at race pace the day before a long run. Am I seriously going to be able to, for instance, in week 7, run 7 miles at race pace and then the very next day do a 14 miler?? Holy crikes. Anytime I do a race-pace run I always have a rest or cross day after that. I'm afraid I might not be able to *DO* this one... and how demoralizing would it be to start my first marathon training program and feel like I'm failing the whole time from not being able to keep up with the program? I have to say that as a runner feelings of failure are the biggest thing I battle--more than any kind of physical limit, I know I'm really held back by demoralizing thoughts and negativity. I should post about that sometime.
But Novice 2 looks easy. It's very much what I'm used to and thus maybe too easy? Except that it has 3 runs back to back mid-week and higher mileage, of course (I usually run Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sun... this is getting mixed up a little now that I've been doing Saturday long runs, though...but as you see I'm used to having rest days or cross training between run days).
So should I "man up" and try the more challenging program and see if I can do it? If I *can* do Intermediate 1, I'd feel a lot more prepared for the race than I would doing Novice 1, I think.
I'm also going to continue my swimming lessons this summer so there will be some swimming mixed in with the program, as long as I can handle it.
Also, I have to confess that I've made a running splurge. I've been eyeing Vibram Fivefingers literally for a year and a half, and couldn't afford them/didn't want to spend the money, but I promised myself that I could get some if I wanted them when I finished the first bit of my dissertation. And it's not quite done yet, but it almost is, and these were backordered until mid-June, so it all seems like perfect timing. And after my brother and 2 other friends have gotten some, I can hardly stand it I'm so green with envy. So I'll be needing some low-mileage runs as I ease into the barefooting thing...so for awhile my midweek runs will have to involve running a loop around my apartment for a shoe-change, or some other sort of plan that injects short runs (and we mean really short here... like you start running 0.5 miles because you have to strengthen your feet and calves.) This is largely going to be an experiment and I do not have the goal of barefooting this marathon AT ALL... just hopefully working with barefooting to improve my form and correct my overpronation, if possible. But, more on that later.
Opinions on the training program? Can a runner like me who's used to putting in only about 25 miles a week seriously adapt to doing a run at pace followed by a long run the very next day?
Really surprising how timid it's making me feel to step out of my half-marathon comfort zone...