The Run Less Run Faster Experiment – Week 2

Don't I look like I've been a GPS wearing runner for longer than 2 weeks?
Don’t I look like I’ve been a GPS wearing runner for longer than 2 weeks?

Welcome to the recap for Week 2 of 14 of the RLRF Experiment. The highlight of this week occurred during a piddly 2 mile run on Friday. I had been quite sore from Thursday’s workout (more on that later) and so I went into the run assuming I would feel like crap. I was judging the run before I even took one step. In fact, I did this for an entire year. Last year to be exact. ย The running by feel method I had ย put on blast all of last year was actually misleading. Nearly every day, I was running sluggishly because guess what?

I was depressed. Sure, slogging for a few miles each day was a mental break but in the grand scheme of things, I felt like shit no matter what I did.

As part of my experiment, I am using a GPS and following specific paces for each run. Had you told me to do this last year, not only would I have not listened, I would have also assumed that any pace you gave me was too fast. I’d rather go by feel. So on this little evening run of 2 miles, I had an old thought: Gosh, I’m sore. This run is going to suck. I wish I could just slog it!ย But, I didn’t give in and guess what? I had to hold back! The pace on easy runs this week called for 9:23. I averaged 9:16, trying my hardest to keep it slow for the sake of the experiment. Had I used my old mental attitude, I likely would have gone slower than 10 minute pace, reinforcing my often negative association with pain, this time the pain of sore legs.

Here’s how the rest of the week looked:

Monday: 20 minutes on the elliptical and lifting session. I’ve been focusing on key strength training exercises at the gym, such as machine-assisted pull ups, lunges, and sit ups. I have a mini goal on top of all this training to be able to do a pull up or two unassisted. I’m getting close!

Tuesday: 3 miles @ 9:19 pace. Felt fresh.

Wednesday: 11.3 mile bike ride @ 14 miles per hour. I don’t have the best of bikes so this was pretty tough. It gets the job done though and I used the GPS to track my pace. Can you use a GPS watch on a bike ride? It was quite enjoyable to see the pace dip into sub 4 minute miles!

Thursday: 4 miles with 3 x 800 meter repeats @ 3:32 pace with 400 meter jogs in between each repeat. I have not run 7 minute pace since last year so I was a bit nervous going into this one. However, I thought that I could manage three repeats. Well, I was right in both aspects. I went 3:28, 3:31, 3:32 (with the slow down intentional). As much as I worked to be controlled, it was hard to find a rhythm and the workout was a bit taxing. Have to start somewhere, right? Also did some light strength training afterward.

Friday: 2 miles @ 9:16 pace. Amazing how even two miles can bring about introspection!

Saturday: 10.5 mile bike ride @ just under 13 miles per hour. Beautiful weather.

Sunday: 9 mile long run @ 9:18 pace. For the last mile, I incorporated an errand for my friend and loyal customer. I picked her dog up and ran him to my house for his daily exercise. He stayed on pace with me and we carried a great rhythm together.

Totals: 18 miles running, 21.8 miles cycling, 20 minutes on the elliptical.

Preview of next week: 4 days of running with a 3 mile tempo and a 10 mile long run and 3 days of cross training or rest.

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. Gotta love it when a run feels easier than you think it’s going to! I remember you said your program is from Smart Coach, but are you following the suggested paces in the Run Less Run Faster book, or does Smart Coach give you paces?

    1. Smart Coach gives paces. Each week, they get faster, but only mildly faster. I think the program was free when I signed up years ago on the Runner’s World website. However, I think now if you sign up, you have to pay.

    1. Good to hear, Susanne! Thanks for the encouragement. After this round, I would be open to trying this approach for a half and full.