I have heard nothing but good things about the book Run Less, Run Faster. Finally, I decided, “I’d like to run less and run faster,” so I bought the book to check it out for myself.
You run 3 times a week. One run is intervals, one run is a tempo run, one run is a long run. Each run is done at a specific pace based on a recent race PR. You do two days of cross training. The book gives you specific suggestions of activities and paces. The other two days of the week are for rest.
The book has training plans for a variety of distances and has charts, charts, charts of pacing information. They even include information on stretches, strength training, specific Boston Qualifying plans for every age group, nutritional information, and more.
Things I liked about the book:
The book is comprehensive! You could read just this book and no other running-related literature and be set for life. Some of the information is stuff I won’t use (metric conversions, tips for aging runners, the nutritional info), but it’s good that it is there. They really thought of everything.
The pacing they suggest is scientific and based off tons of research. This isn’t stuff that they guess about; it’s tried and true. I also like that they have pacing information for everyone from 15 minute 5kers to 45 minute 5kers. That’s a range!
Things I less than love about the book:
The book includes two marathon plans, one of which has you run five 20 mile runs. Whole running insanity! I will not be doing that. They say that you can do the novice plan, which only has one 20 miler, but they strongly recommend the other plan. It might work for some people (or most people!) but I know myself well enough to know that I won’t be doing that.
Like all the workouts, they give you a specific pace to target for long runs. It’s slower than your actual marathon pace, but it’s faster than other plans recommend. I’m a big fan of running long runs slowly. (I firmly believe that it helped me get faster between my first marathon and my second.) Not sure how I feel about running the long runs faster.
The speeds that they have you running at are very specific. As in, they say that deviating by 5 seconds is too much. Specific! I’ve only attempted one workout from the book so far, and it was really tricky to hit that pace while running around the neighborhood. I’m sure it’d be easier on a treadmill, but I don’t plan to do all my runs indoors. Plus, sometimes don’t you just wanna run? You just want to hit the pavement and zone out and not make the workout so much work.
They included letters/e-mails from runners who have used the plan to great success. I liked hearing from runners about their own success, but most of the letters they included were from people who qualified for Boston. I wish they would have included letters from people of all abilities who saw improvement. (Not a huge negative, just me being nitpicky.)
When I first heard, “run less, run faster,” my brain interpreted that to mean “easier.” Now that I’ve read the book, I don’t think it is easy at all! I don’t think this is a plan for everyone. If you’ve only run one or two marathons, you could keep doing what you are doing and see improvements. If you have hit a plateau, if you are aiming for a goal a little out of reach, if you want to BQ, if you have been running for a long time and need to try something different, you should totally follow this program.
Despite the things I don’t love about the book, the good outweighs the bad. I really believe that if you do what they tell you to, you will run faster! That’s enough to get me to sign up. Now, if only I had a race.
How many days a week do you run when you are training for something? Do you prefer to zone out and not think about your pace or are you all up on your Garmin when you run?*