Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary FIRST Training Program by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss
The authors of Run Less, Run Faster aim to help all people in achieving their highest running potential. They acknowledge that the majority of runners are real people who lead busy lives filled with families, work and errands to run. Through extensive research, they have developed The FIRST program, which not only fits nicely into "real people's" busy lives, but actually only works if you incorporate the rest days and cross training days.
What they Recommend: 3 days of running, with 2 days of cross training. Of those 3 running days, one is a track workout, one a tempo run, and one a long run. (Note: Not Long, Slow Run- this workout is meant to be faster than your typical LSR). You are not supposed to run on 2 consecutive days, and ideally, your forms of cross training should be different (i.e., bike and swim).
The program also addresses other aspects that will help improve your fitness such as cross training (biking, using the elliptical, swimming, etc.), stretching, strength training, and nutrition. They also discuss various other performance factors such as, injuries and running in extreme conditions.
In Addition, the book includes times and paces for runners of all abilities and includes a bonus section on "Getting to Boston." (um, yes please!) It is further enhanced with personal success stories, thank you notes, and "Real Runner Reports".
Pros and Cons of the FIRST Program
Pros 1.) Almost a guaranteed PR
2.) Built in recovery days to prevent injury
3.) Easy to schedule workouts when you only have to run 3 days a week.
4.) Scientifically proven to work for runners of all abilities.
Cons 1.) I am a RUNNER! I don't want to cross train, I want to RUN! And more than 3 days a week...
2.) The workouts are HARD. All of them. If every time I go out for a run, it is for a HARD workout, I worry it will cause me to dread running...
3.) In order to prevent injury and keep your body strong, the authors strongly discourage running more than 4 races a year. Furthermore, of those 4 races, each should be a different distance, (i.e., 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, marathon.) 4 races?! Thats all? Last year I ran 16...oops. I love racing too much to cut it back that much, and while I understand their reasoning, (injury prevention, giving your body time to recover, etc.) I just don't think I could do it. I am not and will never be an elite runner, and while I do want to reach my full potential, I am not sure I could make that sacrifice...
My Thoughts After reading Run Less, Run Faster, I have decided that for me, it is not a philosophy I can adopt ALL THE TIME. I LOVE to RUN and therefore, would probably go crazy if I could only run 3 days a week and every time I went for a run it was HARD. I would miss just heading out after a rough day, without my watch to clear my head and just RUN, not worrying about time, speed, or distance. Its why I love running so much. HOWEVER; I think this is a great book and a great program and I would be happy to adapt my running route for a mere 16-18 weeks to improve my running ability and marathon times! Ultimately, I want to use it to qualify for Boston.
Have you read this book? What do you guys think about running 3 days a week and cross training 2 days?
*Also, please let me know if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments. This is my first book review, so let me know if I missed anything!