I get bored easily with training programs. It’s a curse. Perhaps I watched too many action flicks as a kid where the hero was shown doing all the cool “training to fight” scenes or maybe I just like variety on the run, but I change training plans after every major training initiative it seems. I’m always trying to find a better way! I was a devout Hal Higdon follower when I started this whole weight loss/running phenomena and then I converted to the wise musings of Saint Galloway toward the end of last year. I’ve even dabbled in the teachings of the Wizard Yasso. I guess I take the approach that if I can take a little bit from each program and add in some common sense then I’ll eventually come up with a kick-butt training program to last me for a while.
So here I go! I’m in the process of reading the book Run Less Run Faster which covers the FIRST (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) Program. Oddly enough, I found that after reading a bit of the book that I had inadvertently adapted my current training program to be almost like the FIRST Program. I had everything except the intensity at which the program trains for its three weekly runs.
The program focuses on quality workouts rather than a quantity of runs 5-7 days a week as many runners (including me) have done for training in the past. So I thought I’d give it a try since the creators of the program have years of research supporting how well the training works along with a plethora or runners heaping accolades on how they’ve cut 20-30 minutes off their marathon times. Testimonials are great, but they don’t hold water for me unless I see hard data to back up the claims. The FIRST Program has both.
The program works around a “3plus2” philosophy. That’s three runs a week and two cross training workouts a week. For the three runs they have specific goals in mind and really ramp up the intensity. This week so far I’ve completed two of the cross training workouts (also intense) and Key Training Run #1. I won’t go into too much detail as you should really go buy the book (see picture) if you’re interested. Plus, you’ll need the pacing charts in the book to really get anything out of the program’s weekly plan.
That being said, I’ve been training weekly 5-6 days a week to train for multiple half-marathons and other races over the past 18 months so I feel I’m pretty well “fit”. After three days on this program I’m happy to say that my butt is dragging! Due to the intensity of the runs and cross training I’ll say that I realize why there are only three quality runs a week. Before I was just putting in the mileage apparently. Now, I feel like I’m putting in quality miles and really need the rest/recovery before my next run! It’s awesome!
Best of all is with three runs a week (plus the occasional Goofy Challenge weekend double workout!) I can look forward to less worry as my schedule gets hectic this coming fall when I’m still working full-time, finishing up wedding plans, traveling, taking 6 credits toward my PhD and still finding time to enjoy family and friends. Heck, I might even be able to sleep at some point! 🙂
And here’s a bonus for all of you who are chasing a BQ time. This program is designed to get you there regardless of age. The book has a couple chapters devoted to that end.
I’ll blog further updates on my FIRST experience as I train this year. If you want to follow my training more closely then feel free to join me on the Daily Mile.