Last week was not the best week of training as I had to have a few days off resting whilst unwell. Not to worry though, I am all back in working order, feeling fit, healthy and blessed as per usual so I'm back to old tricks!
However, while I was not running I had plenty of time to read about running. I was recommended a website by my running mentor after asking her about how I could take time off my next marathon and how to add speed training to my marathon training. It is called the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST), and as the name suggests, they have done plenty of research themselves! You can access that site here, it is absolutely awesome and my new go to for any training advice.
So as I was surfing their site I came across the name of a book that they have written along with Runners World, found it at my local library and it is now my running bible. The book is called Run Less, Run Faster and you can find it on their website (as above) or here, where you can see a preview of some of the content. This is what it looks like:
Their theory is that you can get away with running only 3 times a week, which I love, and do two other training sessions a week (such as cross training like swimming, biking, weight training, etc). Their 3 run sessions consist of one speed session such as track repeats at a sprint pace (or as fast as you can consistently run them that is faster than your usual steady running pace), one tempo run (e.g. running 10km total but the middle 6km are done slightly faster than the rest), and then your one long run per week (self explanatory). They call this their 3plus2 training method.
Now, you might like to look into different tried and true methods of training but I have to say that I think Furman have it sorted. I like the idea of only running three times a week as the busy-ness of life can sometimes get on top of you and the stress of having to go for a long mid week run, or training run every week night, can sometimes just become too much. Also, I am a big fan of cross training as it mixes up the training and keeps things fresh, fun and interesting. As much as I love running and am a keen advocate for it, I have to admit that just running all the time can at times feel a little monotonous.
Anyway, I have done three sessions so far this week, one spin class on Monday, strength and weight training Tuesday and tonight I did 6 x 800m repeats with a 200 metre walk in between. This sprint session killed me but I kept thinking as I was running that this is going to make me fitter, faster, and just all round more awesome! Well, I had to tell myself something to get me through it didn't I? Tomorrow night I am doing a 5km time trial which will be a good progress indicator towards my training.
I did my sprints on a 400m running track that's on the field at the High School just up from my house (how convenient), but you could use a running track (which you may be able to hire for an hour or so if there's one in your town). You could also map out a loop near you to repeat, go to a local school, or you could just do timing sprints, such as sprint 4 mins, jog/walk 1-2mins, and repeat that pattern. Whatever one works for you, but I may just add that you will want to do it on the flat as it is hard yakka! We will get to hill training in another blog post.
So here's my conclusion...
I think that sprint training, as hard and awful as it may feel at the time, is beneficial for the following several reasons:
- It improves fitness for running, no matter what distance you are training for, as well as pretty much any sport you may do too (I am also a hockey player so it's great for this)
- It will help to improve your race time (with other added training)
- It will keep you in good shape
- You can boast about how awesome you are because you do sprints
- You'll finally be able to challenge that annoying 'someone' to that running race with the confidence that you will actually be able to beat them :)
Did I miss anything?
Until next time I will leave you with this food for thought and watch this space for speed vs distance #3.