Marathon Training Preview–Run Less, Run Faster

Choosing a training plan for the Marine Corps Marathon this October took me some time. I used a Higdon plan for my last (first) marathon and I liked it but was curious and decided to explore what else was out there. I kept hearing a lot about Run Less, Run Faster.

So I bought the book to see what it was all about and much of it intrigued me. Enough to use it as my plan? At first no, but after thinking long and hard, and researching other plans, I have decided to try RLRF out. Here’s my Pro/Con list that I made in coming to this decision.

* 3/2 system. The plan has you only running three days which is definitely an appeal to me since I’ll be returning to work in the fall.

*However, the plan insists on 2 cross training days so it’s really not like you’re only running 3 days and then doing nothing the rest of the week. I’ll still be very busy 5 out of 7 days (as I would be with any plan).

*It’s very structured. This is a plus for me because I like being told what to do when it comes to plans–if a plan says I need to do it then I just do it. The three days of running are structured so that you run one tempo run, one speed work day, and one long run each with specific paces (that vary each week).

*It’s very structured. I’m worried this might take some fun out of running. There will be no “easy” days (a major goal of this system is to eliminate “junk” miles) so each run will be very intense.

*It’s very tailored to your goal time. I’m not a big numbers girl so this took me a while to “get” but the way you figure out what paces to run your 3 days is by determining your 5k time. That time lays out the foundation for what will ultimately become the plan for your marathon goal. (I did not choose my 5k PR time because that would result in a ridiculously, unrealistic marathon goal.)

*I’m worried that because the plan is very goal oriented, I’ll become super disappointed if I’m not able to maintain the paces needed in training to reach my goal.

*When I reached out to running friends who had tried RLRF, all of them had good things to say about it.

*When I googled RLRF Reviews, yeah, not so much lol!

*As I compared this plan to others I’d reviewed, I noted that the total mileage was very close to the total mileage of other plans. So even though I would be running “less”, it’s less in the sense of days per week.

*It’s a 16 week plan. Higdon’s is 18 and I believe Hanson’s is 18 as well. RLRF would have me starting two weeks from today but I’ve decided to add a two week ease-into-training period testing out the paces.

*They have two marathon plans–one for novices and one for experienced runners. I’m going with the former as it has one 20 mile long run. The latter has 3 (no, thank you).

*The book has a section for post workout stretches that I really like. I”m looking forward to incorporating them in my training.

Ultimately, I’m very curious to see how this plan works for me. I’m always up for trying something new and different and at the same time, if I’m not feeling it, I’m totally okay with re-evaluating the game plan.

We’ll see how it goes! Cheers to the beginning of marathon training!! šŸ˜€

–Have you heard of/tried Run Less, Run Faster?

–Do you put a lot of time in to creating a training plan? (Was my pro/con list overkill? lol!)

–What are important factors for you in choosing a training plan?

37 responses

  1. Never heard of that plan before. Thought you gave a really good breakdown of what you like and what you see as challenges. I agree with you, my biggest concern would be not being able to maintain the pace on some of the days. Keep is updated on how it’s going.

  2. Haven’t read it yet, so no opinion, but I am very interested to see what other people have to say about this. Right now I’ve been looking at the Higdon Intermediate and also may be talking with a coach. I’m curious to see what he thinks of it.

  3. I’ll be interested to hear your thought on the RLRF plan once you get going with it. I follow the Galloway plan, which is also based on running 3 days a week. Although his plan doesn’t dictate when you should do cross training, its highly encouraged. Because I’m a huge fan of the run-walk method, I’ve found his plan very manageable.

  4. I love the philosophy behind it and started it when I was training for Boston. I had to stop bc of an injury but I maintained a lot of what they laid out with the 3 day a week training and lots of xtraining, I just had to take out the speed sessions. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts as you start it! Good luck!!

  5. Great post… I like
    *When I googled RLRF Reviews, yeah, not so much lol!

    I too reached out to other blends and I went with Pete Pfitzingers plan. It’s a real high mileage plan. Last week 50 miles and this week 54. The peak is 55. I’m intrigued about the 3/2. I kinda like that especially for a busy bee like me. I’m doing SF half (july), America’s finest half (august), and then 5 straight fulls (1 each month til January, so far). So, maybe if pete’s doesn’t work out, I might give this one a shot. I’m looking for better times and better results. But I think if you find one that works for you, then stick with it. Good luck!

    • Totally agree with if you find one that works for you.
      You’ve got a busy second half of the year! I do too, the “season” starts for me in October and I’m booked through the end of the year šŸ™‚

  6. I used the RLRF app for training for the Phoenix half marathon this past March. While I didn’t do the cross training regularly, I did (generally) stick to the prescribed mileage and running workout and I found it worked well for me and my schedule. I used to get fixated by numbers/times, but I’ve changed to thinking of race day as a celebration of my training. I felt strong during the run and I finished almost 15 min faster than my half time from November 2013.

    Good luck with your training!

  7. So glad you are giving it a try! As you know, i loved it. I used it for my half marathon and haven’t used it for a full before so this will be a first, I hope I like it as much! I also altered it a bit…it had me at 6 20-milers…ummm, yea, who has time for that? I also am going to alternate speed work and hill workouts instead of just straight speedwork! Good luck, can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!!

  8. so, i tried out the run less run faster method. i loved the idea of only running three times a week. however, i didn’t like that all the runs were so intense. i like doing speed work and all, but only having speed and tempo…without any just short, brainless runs kinda stressed me out. apparently i need to build my marathon training on lots of junk miles. that’s how i roll šŸ™‚

  9. I seriously love your pro/con list! I would be terrified of not having any easy runs on the schedule, but I can see how that would be really appealing. I like my junk miles though, that’s my de-stressing time šŸ˜€

    YAY marathon training! I love that you’re a roll with the punches kind of woman. If you find it doesn’t work, you’ll just switch to something else.

    • My kids have def taught me to be more roll-with-the-punches lol! It’s good though because you can tie yourself to something that’s just not working. I’m hoping RLRF does work but I won’t be hugely disappointed if it doesn’t šŸ™‚ Oh, and I also think I’ll do an extra day of easy, low mileage–just so I can keep running with my running group on that day šŸ™‚

  10. Thanks for the pro/con list. I’ll be following a plan by my running group (I believe at minimum it requires 3 runs + cross training). I bought the RFRL to read after my marathon training – for round 3 perhaps šŸ™‚

  11. I hope you like RLRF as much as I do šŸ™‚
    When I first started using it, I kept running 4-5 days a week so I could enjoy some easy runs with my run club at the time, and my lunchtime runs. So I wouldn’t worry about feeling limited to 3 days a week, I don’t think a couple extra days hurt as long as you take them slow.
    That being said, I took the cross training days seriously – I’m convinced they are the reason I’ve remained injury free *knock on wood* šŸ˜‰

    • Yeah, I was thinking of doing one extra day of low mileage (just so I can keep running with my running group lol!) I agree that it looks like the cross training days are essential and remaining injury free is def a priority. šŸ™‚

  12. I used RLRF to train for my first marathon and I’m using it again to train for the next one this fall. It’s very structured like you noticed, but if you follow it, and don’t skimp on the XT days, know and appreciate the difference between being tough and stupid in terms of when to push yourself harder and when to rest. Follow the program and trust the process. You’re in for a fun ride! Good luck!

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