Friday, October 28, 2011

Q&A: Run Less, Run Faster

After my last RLRF recap I got a few questions and comments about what I think about the program so I thought I’d answer and address them here.  If anyone else has any other questions leave me a comment and I can do my best to answer them from my experiences with RLRF.  

RLRF stands for Run Less Run Faster.  The book, which is published by Runners World is titled Run Less Run Faster:  Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary FIRST Training Program and is written by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss.  The FIRST Training Program is based upon a 3plus2 training program --- three quality training runs {including a track workout, a tempo workout and a long run} plus two cross training sessions per week.   

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AJH from Age Groups Rock asked:  What are the things you like most about the program?  I have heard of it but I don’t know much.  Do you train less frequently?

Yes, the premise is that you train “less” with three quality run workouts per week with specific pace goals and two cross training sessions per week.  What I like best about the program is only running three days a week.  While I’d LOVE to run more days I decided this approach was best for me right now.  I’ve had injury after injury and several set backs the past couple of years so when I was coming back from severe shin splints earlier this year I decided to read the Run Less Run Faster book to see if training three days a week would be a viable option for me.  I was already going to the gym a few days a week to cross train and I was already running only three days a week as I was coming back from taking time off for my shins and rebuilding my running base.  I really wanted my summer and fall training to go better than last year so I decided to adapt a training program for myself based upon the info and sample training programs in the book.  I determined my pace goals from my 5k time in May of this year and ever since I started the training plan I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my running and my paces.  I’ve set new PRs for the 5k, 10k {twice} and half marathon.  I feel like I’ve become a faster and stronger runner.  I’ve trained smarter and I’ve learned to listen to my body better.  I know when I can push myself and when I need to step back a bit.  Eventually I’d like to add in an additional day of running but I’m afraid of my shin splints flaring up or of getting another injury so I’ve continued to stick with the three day a week running and the 2+ days a week of cross training.  I don’t follow the program exactly; instead I found what aspects of the program would work best for me and I applied those to my training and my training plan.

JenWa098 from Will Run for Cupcakes said:  I like to look over various plans and piece-meal them together.  I imagine that will NOT work out for me at some point!

I have to say I disagree.  I think the best training plans are the one you put together BASED on specific training plans with aspects that will work best for YOU and YOUR training goals.  I looked over the training plan from the RLRF book and the website and then built my training plan based around it.  I run Tues, Thurs, and Saturday.  I knew my starting long run mileage was going to be shorter than the training plan in the book so I extended my training plan to accommodate my goals.  I also knew of some races I was going to be doing so I added those to my plan and then added in my long run mileage around my races.  And I don’t follow the pace suggestions for my long runs very often --- instead I run comfortably without pushing too hard and often I do run/walk intervals since that is what I will be doing at my marathon in December.  I think you should always find a plan, or build a plan, based upon what is best for yourself.  Not every plan will work for everyone and sometimes life will get in the way so its also important to have a flexible training plan too.

That Pink Girl said:  I’ve followed RLRF for my last two marathons as well as my upcoming race {MCM in Oct}.  I swear by it!  I have a wonky hip that’s prone to injury and the lower mileage {I think} helps keep me injury free.  And then speed work is fun!  Plus, only running 3 days a week means NO EXCUSES for not running AND leaves me plenty of time for cycling, my favorite cross training activity!

I agree about the speed work.  Although I’m usually cursing it while I’m doing it, I know how important it has been these past few weeks to help me increase my speed and my endurance.  Its nice to have a specific workout to follow once a week instead of just pounding the pavement at a specific pace to get the miles in.  The first few weeks I was hitting up the track to do my speed work but the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing my speed work off the track and its been a nice change also.  I also agree that only running 3 days a week leaves no room for excuses or missing a run and there is plenty of time for other activities including cross training :)

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So there you have it --- a little bit more in depth info from my experiences with the RLRF program.  If anyone has anything to add from their experiences with the program please leave a comment to share :)


Carrie @ Maine Mom on the Run said...

I love using the RLRF program. I am still up in the air on the long run distances for the half marathon training that I will be starting in December. I'm planning a post soon about this too. On the one hand, I want to be prepared for the race and the long runs go over 13 miles. But on the other, I want the race to be special and want that to be the first time I reach that mileage. Silly?

ajh said...

I just starred this so I don't lose track of it. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.