3 Runs Per Week Schedule

Successful?

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03/12/2008 at 16:23

This is a great thread and I am quite intrigued to give it a go for my upcoming spring marathon in April.  I'm a relative novice when it comes to racing - I did 2 halfs & 2 full mara's this year and have never ever raced before in my life.  My mara times were 4:07 and 3:54 respectively, so I'm quite slow.  I'd love to break the 3:45 meaning I'd achieve a GFA (yep, I'm old).

I'm just ever so slightly confused - all those run of the mill training plans put huge emphasis on SLOW runs and sticking with a low-ish heart rate in order to optimise your fat metabolism, etc.  When I look at the FIRST times I know already that my heart rate will be anything but ...    So, how does it all come together?  I do like the fact of doing lots of runs at target MP, though as I found that your average training plan doesn't cater enough and come race day your body's in for a bit of a surprise.

Anyway, enough ramblings.  Any insight is greatly appreciated.

03/12/2008 at 18:11

schmidtinator you say 4:07 and 3:54 for a marathon are "slow".................give us a break!

03/12/2008 at 18:35

3:54 is hardly slow....

The plan takes a different approach. The long runs are mainly 30-60 seconds slower than race pace so you do get some leeway. Best to take a look at the website (google Furman FIRST) and loads of threads here and elsewhere. I just bought the book and will read it this weekend.

It puts emphasis on quality rather than quality. You still exercise 5 or 6 times a week but only 3 of those sessions are running, and there's no aimless recovery runs to rack up meaningless miles. Instead you improve aerobic fitness by cross-training on non-weight-bearing activities.

All I know is that a lot of people are reporting good results.

03/12/2008 at 18:38

It worked for me.

I got less niggles than previous marathons.

03/12/2008 at 18:47

I've just bought the book and was interested to read re cross training that when cycling most runners tend to push the big gears, but that cycling is probably more beneficial when runners pedal more quickly, they recommend 80 - 100 rpm. I'd previously read that cycling transfers well to running, but not the other way round, so, due to injury,  I've been cycling and doing spinning classes at he gym. I noticed that I had no trouble at all 'going up the hill', but had great difficulty sprinting.

 Just thought I'd pass this little of nougat of info on!

03/12/2008 at 18:47
I meant nuggat. I think.
04/12/2008 at 09:53

Thanks again, everyone.  I've just ordered the book on Amazon & will deffo give it a go.  I'm a sucker for racking up pointless miles just so my training log adds up to some insane numbers.  I know it's stupid but I do get some strange sense of satisfaction when I see that I've managed yet another week of 60+ miles.  It's all quantity and more or less zero quality on a lot of those runs. 

The FIRST schedule would still enable me to do my spinning classes which I LOVE but usually have to put on hold during marathon training because it's just run, run and then run some more.

Roll on, January!!

04/12/2008 at 20:22
The FIRST schedule could be right up your street if you like spinning, as they cite cycling and swimming as the preferred cross-training options. I understand where you're coming from re the high mileage. We've been reading for years that marathon training is all about racking up the miles and 'time on feet' that it's hard to shake off that mindset. If you read what other people say about this plan, a number of people report significant marathon PBs while running no more than 25-30 miles a week max.


05/12/2008 at 22:02

Mozzy it's "nugget" and the bike advice is appreciated.  Though, I am planning to predominantly use elliptical trainers - they are the most closely related x-training activity to running but without the impact.  I have read that all x-training should be equivalent to an interval or tempo so no easy sessions.

I have been practicing the sessions over the last month and once you get past the psychological barrier of how hard and fast they are - you actually gain confidence in yourself and the possibilities of the schedule.  This is from somebody who has trained hard this year and run many a quality interval so don't go into the First Furman schedule lightly (Furman First might be better if you haven't prepared to this point).

Has anybody else noticed that the starting week is the Christmas week? a true test of mental will.....

05/12/2008 at 22:39

Quickstepper, you're absolutely right. I've always been shit at spelling and can only remember how to spell anything if I make up a ryhme as a prompt. It's the same when I have an interview, I memorise my preparation notes using the same method and thus bore the pants of the interview panel because I don't stop waffling until I've completed an entire verse . But that's the sart of a whole new thread....

06/12/2008 at 19:47
ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz
06/12/2008 at 21:24
What is the actual title of this book - my search results on Amazon have not come up with anything close ... one of them was decidedly seedy and nothing to do with running at all.
06/12/2008 at 23:59
The book is called "Run Less, Run Faster".

Google "Furman FIRST" if you want to read some background on the plan from the college where it was devised.

Incidentally, I emailed them the other day to ask for clarification on something, and had a helpful reply back within 20 minutes from the prof who wrote the book. Very impressed with that.


07/12/2008 at 12:38

Thanks RC, my christmas present sorted ... just in time for the flm training!  My best is 3.37 on 4 sessions a week (no specific schedule) so it'll be interesting to see if I can better this on less!

12/12/2008 at 15:53

I've had a look at the first schedule on their website...I'm too slow for it.

 The timings table only goes up to 30 minutes for a 5K, and I'm 38 minutes (I know - crawling not running)

12/12/2008 at 16:09

Have you looked at this page?

http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/news/article.asp?UAN=2493

 It seems to me that according to your 5k tim your 10 k time would be 79:13 (using the RW calculator here: http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/news/article.asp?UAN=1681)

 which means that your mile pace is: 13:12...so to this you add the increments on the 3 times/week page above 

 ie your long run pace would be 14:12 - 14:30 per mile...

 unless i've completely forgotten how to do math...

 so i think that you can still do it, just adjust the pacing to fit your running times! maybe the book would be better for this as I know there is beginners programme as well in the book. I intend to look at it over christmas - I'll post when I know more!

oh and we all eventually feel like we're crawling who cares - you're out there RUNNING a marathon - and that gets big props!

 Merry Christmas everyone. 

Edited: 12/12/2008 at 16:11
12/12/2008 at 16:15
No, you're not too slow for it! You've misunderstood -- you just have to extrapolate.

I'm slow too -- pretty much at the slowest edge of the tables they provide. But they have to stop somewhere. They are not saying that if you're slower than the examples, then you can't follow the schedule. Mostly the runs are based on your 5 or 10K time, and the key runs are along the lines of "your 10K time + 20 seconds", or "your marathon pace + 30 seconds", so you have to work out what times to go for.

Essentially, the plan is 3 key runs per week i.e. an interval session, a tempo run and a long run. Plus 2 or 3 cross training sessions. That's it. Regardless of your time.
14/12/2008 at 14:56

Hi All

This is a interesting thread with some great advice.I will give this training plan a go for flm 09.I done london this year in 4hrs 09 mins on 4runs aweek with some of them being just recovery runs.I only did 3x 20 mile +runs which is clearly not enough.

By following the furman first i would hope to crack london in under 4 hours and the hopefully edinburgh in under 4 as well    

14/12/2008 at 16:12

I'm doing lochaber in April - trained for edinburgh and lochness last year with an incomplete version of FIRST plan- incomplete 'cos I'd wrecked myself on a 5-day a week schedule BOTH times (how stupid can you be..) did the first timer plan for edin, came in at 4:18 then the "first to the finish"  for loch ness- 4:13, but I'd was  injured during the race 'cos of the hills.

Gonna try the first to the finish plan again this time, I have found conflicting info about paces in various websites, but think I've got it sorted now......... buying the book, too.

I'm aiming for 4hrs at lochaber- picked as it's the flattest course I could find in scotland.

RR- you're brave going for 2 so close together- I couldn't run for a whole month after both my previous 2 attempts, due to niggles picked up on race day.

14/12/2008 at 16:37

Just ordered the book of amazon will be here just in time to start my training, sub 4 hrs here we come (hopefully).

Tricialitt - I am a bit  worried about the lack of time between london and edinburgh but i didn't think i would get in london next year and i had already signed up for Edinburgh because 3 of my mates are doing it. Just have to hope the legs will hold up and stay clear of injuries.Felt ok after Snowdon marathon this year and that was a tough one, so my recovery seems to be getting better after each marathon so hopefully i will be OK.   

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