I recently read a book from Runner’s World – Run Less, Run Faster (from now on, I’ll refer to it as RLRF). It was interesting… it’s based on the theory that running fewer miles but making them more focused will result in running faster.
It’s definitely worth reading (I’m not getting paid to say this – I purchased the book off Amazon with my own money and am just giving an honest opinion here). Even if it’s not a plan which works for you – though I can’t think of any reason it wouldn’t – it’s still a fascinating read.
Who wouldn’t want to run less and run faster? For real?
The training plan is based on a 3plus2 program – three days of running, two days of cross training. No running day should ever be next to another running day. Run #1 should be track repeats, run #2 should be tempo runs, and run #3 should be the long run. Cross training should be non-load-bearing so that your muscles have time to actively recover. You can double-up and do weight lifting on running or cross training days. Rest days can be replaced with cross training, but they recommend having at least one rest day per week (I plan to have two). Seems pretty simple…
Learning Point #1: I didn’t know “junk miles” were a thing… and I bet the majority of my training to this point has consisted of junk miles.
What can I say?… I love going on group runs. They make up 90% of my social time. There’s a 99% chance of me saying yes to anyone who asks me if I want to meet up for a run. It will be very hard for me to stop saying yes to every run and focus on my training plan.
Learning Point #2: I desperately need to start doing some speed work. Even if I don’t care about getting faster (I really kind of don’t, but it’s still fun to see gains in my pace!), speed work would definitely help me become a better, stronger runner.
Learning Point #3: Cross. Training. Is. Necessary. And what you do for cross training matters. It’s so easy to hop on the elliptical and say it’s cross training… it’s not. The purpose of cross training is to use your muscles in a different way so they can actively recover.
I guess I’m going to have to get friendly with the stationary bike and rowing machine at my gym. Womp womp.
Learning Point #4: Up to this point I’ve spent so little time caring about how fast I run that I genuinely didn’t know anything about my pace. When I want to run fast because it feels good, I run fast. When I want to run slow, I run slow. When I want to walk, I walk. Whatever.
There are handy charts in this book which help you determine your goal finish time for 10K, half, and full based on your 5K finish time. I had arbitrarily picked a time I thought made sense, and as I worked through some planning for my upcoming training I realized it was WAY TOO FAST. Unreasonably fast, and therefore impossible.
People who have successfully used RLRF as a guide have indicated that training was difficult, but not impossible. So… I had to revise my 5K finish time back by an entire minute to make 16 weeks of training feasible, but still difficult.
It seems like it would make more sense to use this program than to randomly pick a 12 or 20 week program (which I did for my first half marathon). It’s an exact guide on what to do, and when, but its customizable based on you and your current pace.
I have spreadsheets, people. I have no idea how to run on a track for repeats (and they’re all covered in ice right now anyway), so I converted everything to miles so I can do them on the treadmill. I’m not starting this plan until June, when I begin training for Wineglass Marathon. However, I want to start playing with some of the concepts while I train for Tinker Bell Half in May.
Have you read Run Less, Run Faster? Did you use the 3plus2 plan? If so, to what result?