Run Less Run Faster Training Plan Review

To read about the start of the training plan read here, and a midpoint review here.

This round of marathon training is just about a wrap. I should probably wait until the marathon is over to give a review of my plan, but I will discuss it more in depth now and then let you know what I briefly think according to the marathon results.

Notice the hole in the side of the shoe. Love my Mizunos.

I chose this plan due to my past history of over use injuries. The problem is not so much that I run or workout more than anyone else, but rather the biometrics of my foot. According to my orthopedic surgeon as well as my sneakers that have holes on the outer edges, I strike on the outside of my foot, causing stress, strain, and in fact fracture.

This plan calls for three days of running a week-1 day tempo, 1 day speed, 1 long run. It adds in two days of cross training. Essentially you begin the plan by looking up your recent race results, choosing beginning, intermediate, or advanced and plugging in the numbers. I chose advanced because this is not my first marathon, I have run consecutively (minus injury time) for 6 years, and my times are average.

Pros of the Plan:

Page 1 of the finished plan. What is typed is the actual plan.

  • I loved the speed workouts and tempos. For all other training plans I have merely run a certain amount of mileage or times during the week and then the long runs. It was nice to have structured workouts that kicked my butt.
  • I like having two days of cross training-perfect for ski season and mountain biking. But, I also wanted days of shake out or easy runs.

Page 2 of the plan. What is written in is what I did.

Cons of the Plan:

  • It starts out fast and long. The first tempo run called for speeds two minutes faster than I usually run. My first long run was 13 miles, then 15, 17, and 5 20’s. You really need a strong base.
  • It called for 5 20 mile runs every other weekend. The weekends in between were 15-18. Mentally this was tough to run. Also, I never felt like there was a break in long runs.

I don’t know yets of the Plan:

  • It called for 20 mile long runs. I never did over 20 miles, I don’t know how those last 6 will fair.
  • The overall weekly mileage is low. I am not sure how that will fair either

The predicted times for everything in this plan coincide with The McMillan calculator, so I don’t think that the authors of “Run Less Run Faster” are too far off in their science. Sometimes I need to be pushed more and this was definitely the plan to do it. For the time crunched runner, this is the plan. It’s very manageable and I saw results in my speed and distance.

Have you ever used this plan? Would you use it again?  I would use it again, but probably tweak the long run schedule.

Are you thinking of using this plan and have questions?  Not like I am an expert, but it could help you decide if you want to spend money on the book or not.

Anyone go over 20 miles in a long run? Anyone keep them at 20 miles? How does that work for you? The last time I trained I went up to 24 miles. This time I never went over 20.


6 responses to “Run Less Run Faster Training Plan Review

  1. I’ve been thinking of trying this plan out for my next marathon! I’ll be interested to hear how you feel after but it seems like a concept that would work well for me. And on the over 20 mile thing, I’ve read up about that and I guess your chance for injury increases more than the increase in benefit you get from running these distances so that is why many plans never have you go over 20ms. No clue how they measure such things but it seems to make sense I guess? Enjoy your last few days of pre-marathon prep!

    • Ya, I’ve heard it both ways that the 20 mile rule is newer to the field of marathon training. Until recently, most had you run over 20. Now, like you said-whatever they use to measure-they say that the benefit is not there. I am interested to see what happens in the marathon with never going over 20 this training round.

  2. I have never used RLRF for a marathon, but I used it successfully for the 5K in Dec. 2010 (took 2 minutes off my post-pregnancy PR), the Bolder Boulder 10K in May 2011 (took 1 minute off the post-preg PR from 2009 and three minutes off my time from 2010) and the half-marathon (achieved my first sub-2-hour half and a seven-minute PR with it despite having a nasty upper respiratory infection and poor sleep during taper week).

    The only reason I didn’t use it for the marathon were some of the same things you mention here–I wanted more days of running per week, I wanted a couple of long runs of more than 20 miles and I wanted more variety in the workouts. I haven’t ever had a running injury and so thought I’d be OK pushing it (my back injury wasn’t really caused by running).

    Overall I’m a huge fan of RLRF and think for runners who want to improve while dealing with overtraining or injury issues those guys have it nailed.

    • Thanks for all your input and for sharing the great success that you had with at shorter distances. I want to try it for shorter distances as well.

  3. I have the book and like the very focused training, but I’ve never tried it, mainly because I don’t want to run less than four days per week. For my 50K I’ve actually gone back up to running five days per week, and I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. It sounds like you’ve made the plan work well for you. I usually don’t go higher than 22 for my long runs when training for a marathon, but don’t think the extra two miles make any difference other than build mental confidence. You’re going to great in your race!

    • Thanks. The marathon did go well. I actually threw in some extra days of easy/fun running just because my fitness was building and I wanted more. It was nice to just have the prescribed 3 runs a week. I never did more than 20 in a long run and I don’t think doing more would have made a difference. I ran a half this last weekend and I am running one in November again. I decided to try Run Less Run Faster for the half and see what happens to my time.

Thoughts? Ideas? Questions? I love hearing from you all!

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