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Glover's Programs 1988 vs. 1999

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Another forumite posted the following on the Running Times forums:


“I'm quite familiar with what Pfitz has in his book Advanced Marathoning and what Glover included in The New Competitive Runner's Handbook (published in 1988). Did Glover replace these with something new? If so, I haven't seen those.”


The following was my reply:


Yes, Glover changed the training schedules in the 1999 edition of his book....he dumbed them down from the 1983 and 1988 editions. It appears to have been his nod to the ridiculous "less is better" movement that infiltrated running throughout the '90s.

I have used Glover's book to guide my training since 1984 when I first "discovered" the 1983 edition. I currently have the 1988 and 1999 editions. The following are some differences between them. In this comparison, I discounted the first 2 weeks of the 1988 schedule to compare 16-week training periods of both. Where details are mentioned, I used the Advanced Competitor's schedule (his definition of Advanced Competitor is about the same in both editions....depending on age, 2:40-3:40 male marathoner and 3:00-4:20 female marathoner).

1. He shortened the training schedule from 18 weeks to 16 weeks for all levels from novice to champion.

2. He reduced weekly, peak and total mileage. For instance:

  • from 55 miles in week 3 of the 1988 schedule (following 50 miles/week in weeks 1 and 2) to 40 miles in week 1 of the 1999 schedule
  • Peak weeks of 65 miles reduced to 55 miles. 1988 schedule includes 10 weeks of 60-65 miles vs. 5 weeks of 50-55 miles in the 1999 schedule.
  • Total mileage, not including the marathon race, of 894 in weeks 3-18 of 1988 schedule (994 including weeks 1 & 2) vs. 750 miles in 16-week 1999 schedule.
  • 17 off days in weeks 3-18 of 1988 schedule vs. 21 off days in 16-week 1999 schedule.

3. Five races during 16 weeks of both schedules, but 15% more racing miles (47.9 miles vs. 41.7 miles) in 1988 schedule. 1988 schedule races - one HM, one 20k, one 10m, two 10k's. 1999 schedule races - two HM's, two 10k's, one 5k.

4. Long runs:

  • Eleven runs of 15 miles or longer (six of 20 miles or longer) in weeks 3-18 of 1988 schedule vs. eight of 15 miles or longer (five of 20 miles or longer) in 1999 schedule.
  • Total of 251 miles in weekly long runs in 1988 schedule vs. 200 in 1999 schedule.
  • Zero weeks with a long run of less than 10 miles in 1988 schedule vs. five weeks (including 2 weeks with an off day on LSD day) in 1999 schedule.

5. Hard sessions - Excluding weekly long runs, 21 "hard" days (intervals, LT workouts, hill repeats, "advanced fartleks") in weeks 3-18 of 1988 schedule vs. 14 in 16-week 1999 schedule. All 21 hard workouts in the 1988 schedule are run faster than MP vs. 2 of 14 workouts at MP in the 1999 schedule.

6. Medium long runs - Excluding weekly long runs, 27 runs of 10-12 miles in weeks 3-18 of 1988 program vs. none in 16-week 1999 schedule, which contains no run longer than 8 miles. Except for the taper period, the mileage range of the "daily" runs is wider in the 1988 schedule, generally 6-12 miles vs. 6-8 miles in the 1999 schedule.

7. Phase structure - He dropped the 4-phase structure (endurance, strengthening, sharpening, and tapering) of the 1988 schedule.

8. The taper was extended from 2-weeks (1988) to 3-weeks (1999).

As you can see, the schedule in the 1999 edition contains significantly less work than that of 1988. Be glad you still have the 1988 edition to guide you.

I haven't read the Pfitz/Douglas book. I guess I should get a copy for self-education purposes and to satisfy my curiosity as a student of the sport. The only thing I know about Pfitz/Douglas' program from the forums is that a fundamental element is lots of MP runs. (As many as one of the two weekly "speed" workouts?) I'm not a fan of dedicating hard workouts to MP training. I believe greater benefit can be had from the more intense interval, LT and hill repeat workouts with MP running relegated to portions of long runs and/or "easy runs".

I really doubt if many programs will prepare one better for a marathon than those in Glover's 1988 book. However, if one wants to train to be his/her best, then I would look at alternatives before blindly accepting the 1999 edition. I know that I would have bought the Pfitz/Douglas book long ago if I didn't have Glover's 1988 edition.