Marathon Training Update: Run Less, Run Faster

Dear friend Lisa Cook gave me this helpful training book.

My training for the Chicago Marathon has taken a minor step backward since I pulled my left hamstring two Fridays ago.

I probably was a bit dehydrated and definitely didn’t stretch enough, but, fortunately, have shifted gears to riding the exercise bike at the McGaw YMCA.

Even more fortunately, dear friend Lisa Cook sent me a copy of the Runner’s World book, Run Less, Run Faster, a work that outlines a 16-week training program that should allow me to complete the race without injury.

The book’s premise is that many runners train by simply piling up miles, rather than running each run with purpose.  This lack of strategy tends to deplete runners, leaving them more susceptible to boredom, illness and injury.

Instead, the authors advocate thrice weekly runs supplemented by two cross-training workouts.  One of the runs is more of a speed or “repeat” workout, the second is a tempo run and the third is a long run.  Each of the workouts increases a specific part of cardiovascular fitness necessary to complete the marathon.

The book also makes the point that runners differ by age, gender and speed, and include a host of different training regimens for races from 5K to the Boston Marathon that vary according to where one falls on these variables.

The book also has chapters that discuss different types of cross training and familiar statements about the importance of stretching and nutrition. 

Run Less, Run Faster does have a few too many gushing testimonials with effusive praise for the method’s superlative results.  This aside, the book did enough to convince me.  I will resume and continue my plans until 16 weeks from the marathon, then move into following the plan they advocate.

What training methods do you use? How is your training for different events going?

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