3 Runs Per Week Schedule


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24/12/2008 at 04:46
Have considered this but what put me off before was rthe sudden start - first week LSR = 8 miles!!

Also the cross training specified looks intensive and so the 3 days/week is misleading. Should be 5 or 6 days/wk with 3 running.

I accept that many people improve their time with FIRST but it doesn't seem to be an easier plan.

Your comments before I plunge into the Runners world 5 day week scheme?

24/12/2008 at 08:35

Hasher, I take your point, but I don't think the plan is suposed to be 'easier', I think it's supposed to offer a workable training schedule for people with busy lives (ie most of us) with the added benefit of reduced risk of injury. In fact, now I've worked out my paces, my training is going to be damn hard, I'm going to have to work much harder than I have for previous marathons, but the schedule works for me as I won't be wasting time clocking up miles (and a substantial amount of time) with questionable benefit.

The cross training is optional, but highly recommended. It depends upon your own personal aspirations and time commitments.

I've not tried this schedule before, but according to everything I've read it suits me well.

You can dip in to the schedule at any point, if 8 miles at week 16 seems a bit much, then slowly buid up your miles to week 12 and hop on there. You can be flexible with the plan, so make it work for you.

Anyway, if you decide to give it a go, best of luck!

24/12/2008 at 15:44

I don't think the cross training is optional -- in fact the book takes pains to point out that it's an essential part of the schedule. That said, it may be wrong to use words like "essential". This week for instance, with Xmas commitments (and a gym that's shut) it looks like I may be able to get my 3 runs in but will struggle to do any more. It's not the end of the world. All training plans have some wiggle room, and can be knocked about a bit. I strongly suspect you'll still get round your marathon with 3 good runs a week and nothing more, but the 2 or 3 x-training sessions definitely add some cardio-vascular fitness and seem  likely to help you reduce your time. There again, I started off really quite unfit so it was easy to notice changes. If you're in good shape to start with, perhaps it wouldn't matter quite so much.

But I think it best not to think of the XT as optional as that's not quite in the spirit of the plan.

27/12/2008 at 13:37

Oh dear- the trouble is, if you set a new 10k pb, like I just did yesterday you've to re-calculate all the FIRST training paces- they've all gone up even further-ARGHH (I proved totally incapable of managing my first intervals session on the old speeds!- I'll have no hope now!)

I agree with Mozzy this isn't an 'easy' plan, actually more intense, but less frequent. I think the crosstraining is not optional- although you can either do easy runs, or crosstrain, between the main 3 runs- doing easy runs kinda ruins the point of this plan for me, as my problem is the need for a days recovery after each run, to avoid the build - up of various niggles

27/12/2008 at 17:39
I'm going to try this plan for London next year.  It would be interesting to hear how everyone else is getting on with it and compare notes!
27/12/2008 at 21:16

Sorry all, I could have sworn I read that the cross trainng was optional (though granted it seems to underpin the entire philosophy so I'm not sure why I latched on to that) I'll be cross training like mad by the way.

One more week of gluttony and half hearted jaunts around the park then we're off! Can't wait to hear how everyone get's on! Good luck guys!

27/12/2008 at 23:04

Wow!  I started this thread then came down with the dreaded lurgi and have been ill for a month, so have not even logged onto runners world!  Sorry!

 There are some really interesting comments here.  Mozzy - I usually go between a couple of schedules.  I generally start well ahead of them, level out about half way through but by the end I am way behind.  This is why I am interested in the 3 day a week plan.

 I did a hard session with the club on Tuesday night and survived so I am going to try a 10 miler tomorrow, then get into serious training.  I just cant decide whether to follow the usual RW 3:30 schedule or the Furmin.  I'm off for some further bedtime reading to decide.

 Perhaps it would be good to post target marathon times and regular training times to help encourage each other through the next  16 weeks?

27/12/2008 at 23:05

Mozzy - my PB is 3:31 - 3 years ago.  I would really liek to get under 3:30 too.

28/12/2008 at 09:48

Right my plan is sorted for w/c 5/1/ 09 it will be :

mondays-run, tuesdays-rowing machine, wednesdays-run,thursdays-exercise bike,friday-rest,saturdays-long run,sundays-rest with a hangover.

I don't know if this sounds any good but hopefully it will be enough to finish london in under 4 hrs.

Mozzy- I have used all our goose fat on the roast potatoes so swimming in the north sea is still not a  X-training option    

28/12/2008 at 10:52
Well here's how I'm getting on... I managed to pull a calf muscle 5 miles into my Boxing Day run, so looks like I'm out of the game for a couple of weeks. Very annoying, as my 16 weeks is due to start tomorrow. Am RICE-ing like mad, and will aim to get extra x-training in to try to build/maintain fitness but I doubt I'll be running much for a little while. I also had 2 races booked for this week which are now out of the window.
28/12/2008 at 11:04

Minni - welcome back, glad you beat the lurg!

RR - shame about the goose fat!

R.C - poor you! I can empathise completely!

I'm only up to 60 minutes max per run as I'm prone to shin splints and still building up slowly so the long runs for the first few weeks may have to be a little shorter than the plan. Also don't want to miss my Thursday morning run with my mates, so that will be my long run day, 5 - 6 miles with them then I'll head off in to the peaks whilst they go for their customary latte (sob).

Rest Monday, Intervals Tuesday, Spinning Wednesday, long run Thursday, rest Friday, Tempo Saturday, spinning Sunday for me.

28/12/2008 at 13:46

Did my first lsr of the plan today- actually, didn't do it all- I'm trying to follow the "first to the finish" plan, but as it dives straight in at a 21km LSR, and I did a 10 k race on boxing day, I decided to go a little easy on myself, and go for 17km instead-felt OK though, and managed to up the pace for the last km to planned marathon pace (I read somewhere that this was a good idea).

My aim this year is - Lochaber marathon, 19/4/09, in under 4 hours (previous PB 4:11.32 at loch ness last year) 

28/12/2008 at 15:03

Sounds great everyone!  Right okay, maybe if I put this on the forum it will make me go out and train hard!  My PB is 4 hrs 03 so really keen to get under the 4 hours.  Was on course for that last year but got injured.  Dream time would be about 3 hours 45-50.  I went for a ten miler on boxing day and felt not too bad - first longish run in a while.

I plan to start the FIRST programme on Sunday 4th January.  I'll be doing my speed work on a Sunday, Tempo on Tuesday and Long on Friday to fit in with the rest of my life!  Cross training will be fitness classes which I teach 5 days a week.

 Good luck everyone!


28/12/2008 at 16:26

There have been numerous articles on this kind of training over the years.

The fact is that running is a sport where the first 70-80% improvements are quite easy to get and are largely a case of just running consistently.  You can get pretty fit training two or three times a week and you will seem to improve effortlessly for the first few years where you do so, more or less regardless of what programme you follow, if any.

For my first marathon I only ran twice weekly (and only at weekends) and got to 3:13.  I needed to train much harder than that to get significantly better.  However, there's no doubt that 4 a week is better, 5 better still and 6 even better again.

28/12/2008 at 18:20

Minni - hope you're ok now  I wondered where you went!!!

Well, I've followed Furman pretty closely for the last 4 marathons, each one going sub 3h35 and did 3h29.47 in Berlin 07. I've always stuck to speed sessions and threshold runs but found I didn't feel confident with the lack of long runs so tweaked it slightly to do a few more longer runs.

I like the idea of following a schedule that you can stick to without too much problem.

28/12/2008 at 19:26

Hi AA! 

I did 5 miles today at 7.47 pace (planned to do 10 but got invited out for Sunday lunch so had to cut it short!).  After my lurgi I'm please how good that felt.  Having a very energetic 11 month lab will help with the training!

29/12/2008 at 11:43

There are two Furman schedules, well there were last year. The first one is for first timers and the second one is for those wanting to improve. I followed the latter one last year which had 5/6 20 mile runs which I think is adequate. Last year, I losely followed the three runs a week schedule but also changed things a bit depending on how I felt. In addition, I occasionally did a 4th run and often swam once a week and that was it and ended up with 3:12 in my first marathon and a few weeks later 3:09.

What I did find hard was that every run was tough, but what I liked was that if you were pushed for time as I am (working mum of 3), you could at least squeeze in the 3 runs. I then aimed to cross train too but rarely did.

I agree with Tmap though. I think you can initially make rapid improvements with any schedule so long as you are running. This schedule just gets you there quicker and it suits the way I like to run. For me to get better now, I am going to follow it again this year but try to do the cross training properly too and lose half a stone of flab. If I manage that, I suspect the schedule will have got me as far as it can.

I have recently bought the book and it all makes perfect sense to me. What does worry me though is that all the cases studies are circa 3.30 marathon runners. There aren't any sub 3 marathon runners using it so I guess that speaks volumes.

Lou - I'd like to be in one of your classes after your LSR!

29/12/2008 at 12:32

Astride - those are amazing times you have run and I'm feeling guilty now for not doing my planned run this morning!  The person I was running with cancelled so I stayed in bed.  I'm off to the pub now to meet a friend for lunch so no hope of running later!

 I agree with what you are all saying about the schedules but I just feel the 3 day a week should work for me and I don't normally follow a plan exactly so the structure will help me.  I got the book and spent all of christmas day reading it!

Being in one of my classes after my LSR would give you a good laugh if nothing else!  I was previously doing 18-20 miles and then teaching a Body Pump class straight after (ouch!).  This is the reason I have now moved my long run to a Friday night when I have no classes.  I don't know which is worse!

Good luck everyone - I'm all geared up for Sunday and my first official day of the programme.  I'm going to try and get a couple of runs in this week to set me up!

29/12/2008 at 13:53

Lou7 - don't feel guilty this week, there's plenty of time for that. I'm using this week to try to stop drinking and eating as much and start running a bit.

I meant to add as well that I didn't get too hung up on the pace times, I just did the interval and threshold run at the fastest pace I could maintain throughout the whole workout. I then occasionally checked that my times tallied back but I usually found that I did the long runs quicker, the threshold about spot on but I was rarely even close to the interval paces.

30/12/2008 at 22:08

Ok, its official - I'm going to follow the Furman First Schedule.

Tuesday - Speed session

Thursday - Tempo

Sat or Sun - Long run

Cross training will be running and cycling.  I will be doing something 6 days out of 7.

I've calculated all my paces which are a bit frightening but we'll see how it goes.

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