Back in September, Running Times ran a great piece on maximizing your training time to still get results and even PRs. They shared profiles of other runners who train on low mileage plans and have had success. I was intrigued by the article but at the time, I still held on to the belief that in order to run any decent times, one must be running at least 30 miles a week.
Enter life then: Take a day off and feel fat. Can’t eat my pieces of dark chocolate either.
Enter life now: Eh, it’s alright to take a day off. Maybe two. Live a little! And here, have some chocolate.
Riding my new found easy-going train, I came up with the idea of experimenting with Runner’s World’s infamous Smart Coach Training Plan System. It’s gotten a lot of flack (myself included!) for misleading runners to thinking that the train less, run faster theory actually works over the tried and true high-mileage theory. Since I’m already running low mileage and looking for something new with my training, I thought I would give it a try.
My training plan starts today, although I’ve been preparing for it for the last two weeks. It will be 13 weeks in length, with my goal race date on July 4th at a local 5k. I plan to share each week with you all for your own entertainment. Right off the bat, I had to laugh at week one:
Tuesday: 2 miles @ 9:25 pace
Thursday: 4 miles with 2 x 1600 in 7:28
Friday: 2 miles @9:25 pace
Sunday: 8 miles @ 9:25
You mean to tell me, Smart Coach, that a couple 2 mile runs and a bunch of cross training is the key to breaking 22 minutes? Eh, don’t knock it before you try it, right? My projected 5k time after 13 weeks of training is 21:45. If you followed my posts from way back when about my quest to break 22:00 for a 5k then you’d know I’d be more than happy with that! And as an added bonus, I am going to go back to running by distance after a year or so of running for time. AND an even bigger bonus, I’m going to use a GPS. That’s right. Me, of all people. For the most accurate testing of this experiment, I will do my best to adhere to the exact paces and distances requested. Because the plan calls for lots of rest or cross training (XT), I will be getting cozy with a bike or the pool. And you know what? I’m looking forward to that.
So, there you have it. Or I have it. It being a plan. I already feel motivated! Over the next 13 weeks we’ll be posting my training logs to the front page so you can follow along with this great experiment!
So what do you think? Are these run less/run faster plans snake oil or might I be pleasantly surprised?