No, I don’t mean that, do I? Ok, then, as long as you just read it for the pictures, it’s okay to keep it.
Actually, I have nothing against the popular running hobbyist magazines. However, you must realize what a magazine is. Magazines have several new messages every issue. Otherwise, why would you need the next issue?
While some may even take issue with some of the advice presented in the articles, I think there’s a greater danger: lack of consistency. Just like you can’t chase every mutual fund that a money magazine recommends, or go with the diet that you’ve obeyed the best that day, you can’t change training plans on a weekly or monthly basis.
Yet, that is just what will happen if you take the articles to heart: you’ll switch plans. You’ll switch because the first thing that will happen is the doubt that you can pull this off, that this plan is right for you. It happens on term papers, on novels, on investments, and certainly on a 16 week training plan. To compound the psychological effects, your body will be giving you feedback through all of the tough workouts, through all the pushing yourself a little further. Your body has to restructure itself to grow, and while that process should not cause excruciating pain, it will probably cause some discomfort.
Whether you’re going from couch to 5k, training for your first half-marathon, or taking the plunge for your first marathon, stretching your limits is not comfortable. Stepping out of your comfort zone is how you grow. Revisiting that feeling, again and again, is how you excel.
If you’re doing you first training for a specific distance, any plan that increases weekly mileage an average of 5% per week and mixes in different speed runs will work. Go fast once per week, go long once per week, and enjoy all of your runs.
Added from an @runtowin comment: