The Run Less Run Faster Experiment – Checking In

Turtles are given love in Oxford, Massachusetts!
The last two weeks included travel. In Oxford, Massachusetts, turtles are given love and respect!

Eight weeks complete, six to go in my RLRF experiment. I decided to do a round up post of the last three weeks of training as this plan is quite monotonous. On one hand, the monotony helps create a sense of predictable structure. On the other hand, it makes for boring weekly training log posts.

During Week 6, I continued to incorporate cross training into the plan on my non-running days. I also had a decent track workout in which I gained some insight into what it means to run “in control”:

Running in control doesn’t mean running without discomfort. Rather, it’s remaining controlled despite the discomfort.

I hit my target pace of 3:28 for all four 800 meter repeats. This also happens to be the race pace that the Smart Coach Training Plan thinks I will be able to hit on July 4th. So, I focused on imagining I was racing. This left me a bit unsure if 6:57 pace is possible as it felt quite fast. However, I still have six weeks left until race time and a lot can happen then. I also had a rough long run during Week 6, in which I had to walk/crawl during the last two miles. This was a fluke though as it was my first hot run of the year and I did not hydrate properly.

Weeks 7 and 8 presented some challenges as I added travel to the mix. Prior to leaving for a 10 day trip to the East Coast, I did a 4 mile tempo at 7:50 pace. The plan called for 7:47 pace but I was a bit sluggish on the first three miles. However, I ended with the last mile as my fastest in 7:35. This workout was done on the 5k course so it helped to visualize racing. After the workout, I left for New Haven, Connecticut.

My goal during travel was to get all of my suggested runs in and play the cross training by ear. As a result, I completed the runs but took off on the non running days. Because my travel included work and vacationing, this didn’t bother me one bit. Week 7’s long run also went much better than the previous week, 12 miles on a bike path at 9:06 pace, no walking needed.

My workout during Week 8 was 3 x 1600 at 7:15 pace. I ran this one early on Friday morning with a friend helping to pace me. I hit the repeats in 7:13, 7:16, and 7:09. So far, this has been my easiest workout as the paces felt comfortable and my legs, strong. Week 8 also included my first Hashing experience, thanks to Cinnamon and the Hudson Dusters. My mother hash is now New York City!

9 years ago, I took this picture on a trip to NYC. Low and behold, this was the site of the On In (the bar) after my first Hashing event!
9 years ago, I took this picture on a trip to NYC. Low and behold, this was the site of the On In (the bar) after my first Hashing event!

I concluded the last three weeks with a 13 mile long run at 8:56 pace, slightly faster than suggested pace of 9:10. I couldn’t help it though. I was bored! So far, I would change the long runs in this program to be shorter but run at a faster pace and increase the distance of some of the weekly runs, which doesn’t have to be too much, just more than 2 miles.

I’ll be back in another few weeks for an update. Until then, On-On!


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I write about mindfulness, mental health, and the professional sport of running with the occasional poking fun at the sport. When I am not running, I'm either helping people as a counselor or trying to make them laugh as an amateur open mic comedian.

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  1. Two miles is just way to short to run. I don’t feel like it’s a good run unless I get at least four in. Are you doing a 5k specific plan? I am doing the rlrf 10k and the short tempo and speed workouts are never less than four total miles. The long runs always feel too short though, topping at 10 miles, and now that the weather has changed to Summer temps–the times are way too fast. I guess I just like going long and slow anyway. Since it’s so hot here, I’ve added a few miles to the long runs and let myself take it easy until the final third of the run–then I just bring it home. I’ve also added an easy run once a week on one of the cross training days. Running is part therapy for me. I’ve gotta have my time just chatting with my running friends!

    I can’t wait to see your times at your race! I’ve added a few time trials to my program (every third week, I go off the program.) Speed workout for that off week is the time trial. I’ve seen a vast improvement in my 5k-dropping from 25:12 sixish weeks ago to 23:17 last week. I’ve loved seeing the seconds (and minutes!) drop.

    1. Thanks for checking in as well, Erin! This plan is 5k specific, generated through the Runner’s World Smart Coach training system, which focuses on RLRF principles. I agree that 4 or more miles is better. Luckily, I didn’t have any 2 mile runs this week!

      I can’t wait to race. I like that you added time trials. That is one thing I miss. After seeing how this goes, I am thinking I will continue to use the program as a general guide and then tweak things with time trials, faster long runs, and longer easy runs. I just wanted to stay true to the experiment this first time around!

      Also, great looking time trials! When is your race?

      1. I technically don’t have a 10 K race. The one I thought I’d do fell through, my husband is going to be out of town and the race was out of town. I’m just going to do a time trial. My real goal is a 10 miler in October and I want to sub 4 a marathon next Spring. To do that, I need to get comfortable going faster. It’s already working! I’ve dropped a full minute off my conversational pace in just a few months.

        I have a hard time being true to the plan because I want so many different things.

  2. I’m excited to see the results of your training as well! I ran a 5K last weekend and finished nearly a minute slower than my PR from last spring, but I’m also training for an early fall trail marathon so I haven’t been doing any kind of speedwork or fast running. The 5K is my favorite distance, so after this marathon and subsequent recovery is over I’m going to probably do a modified RLRF again to try to get under 21:00.

    1. Nice! Sounds like a great idea. Funny thing is I’m thinking about doing a half in the fall! Thanks for the well wishes. Happy training to you, too!