Marathon Handbook

💪 🧠 Train less, and run faster (yes, it IS possible)

Published 23 days ago • 4 min read

Here's the free but abridged version of the Run Long, Run Healthy newsletter. See the links below to subscribe to the full-text edition with more articles and deeper, more specific running advice. - Amby

Train Less And Run Faster (Yes, It IS Possible)

I first met Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss almost 20 years ago. I had heard about their Furman Institute of Running & Scientific Training (FIRST), which claimed that you could “Run Less, Run Faster.”

Of course, I was skeptical. That’s my nature. So I traveled to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, to check them out. We did several workouts together during my visit.

I learned they were serious, reasonable runners (with advanced academic credentials). Also, the workouts were hard! No wonder their runners often improved by running less; they were running faster in training.

I wrote then that the Furman program was “the most detailed, well-organized, and scientific training program for runners that I have ever seen.” When Pierce and Murr wrote a book about the FIRST approach, it became a big seller that is now in its third (and updated) edition.

Here’s a new article about a 45-year-old Canadian woman who’s also getting faster by running less. She’s been running for 20 years, which is a point where it becomes increasingly difficult to improve.

Kate Guy often does just three runs a week: speed work, hill repeats, and long runs with tempo segments sandwiched in.

These less/faster approaches aren’t short-cuts. It’s more difficult to run faster than it is to run longer. You’ve got to focus, and work hard.

Here’s another thought:

There’s no reason someone can’t combine several different programs while building up towards the next big race. You could do six weeks of Galloway run-walk, followed by six weeks of FIRST training. Just be a bit cautious when transitioning from one program to the next.

There are many ways to improve your running. You often have to get out of your rut (the same basic training you’ve followed for years) and try something new. More at Canadian Running.

RELATED ARTICLE: Run Less, Run Faster: Low-Volume Focused Run Training Method

Kickstart Your Friends To A Successful Beginning Running Program

Getting someone (family, friend, co-worker) to begin running is a bit like getting someone to begin losing weight. The early days and early successes are relatively easy.

Then things get real. Life gets in the way, and continuing an obviously healthy program becomes much more difficult.

In this report, researchers followed and intensively interviewed new runners “through their first 6-12 months of running.”

The goal was to find the biggest obstacles these new runners faced as they struggled to continue running.

Result: The runners who succeeded were those who identified a meaningful "Why" for running. A “meaningful reason to run that related to their identity, values, special memories, relationships, enjoyment of running, or a personal goal.” This Why was particularly important when life got complicated.

In the best-case scenario, a strong Why was sufficient to help people “learn they could run and experience progress.”

Nonetheless, the Why was not universally successful. Some runners discovered their Why, and still stopped running. The reasons? “Social inequalities like gendered experiences, wealth, and health differences created more barriers for some runners.”

Conclusion: The authors offered these four ways to help people maintain a running program:

#1: Support people in identifying their meaningful reason for exercise
#2: Reflect how people’s broader life circumstances and sociocultural factors influence their involvement in exercise
#3: Support with building confidence and independence
#4: Help people prioritize exercise by planning for life getting in the way and by cultivating pleasurable experiences.

More at Psychology of Sport & Exercise with free full text.

RELATED ARTICLE: Consistency: The Essential Pillar To Long-Term Running Success

Our Soldiers Should Be Wearing “Super Boots” (Like Super Shoes)

When you look at the big picture, it’s nice that a few elite marathon runners get to wear $500 sneakers. The shoes help them reach the finish line several minutes faster than in older, more traditional (and less expensive) racing flats. But is that the ultimate use for AFT (Advanced Footwear Technology)?

Maybe not. There are, after all, global events more important than marathons in Boston, London, Beijing, Sydney, Cape Town, and hundreds of other major cities. There are wars.

Napoleon supposedly said, "An army marches on its stomach.” He would have been more accurate to say an army marches on its boots. And if those boots included AFT, the army would be more efficient.

That’s the conclusion of a recent paper that looked into the theoretical benefits of military boots constructed more like marathon super shoes. The researchers included U.S. Army experts and New Balance Sports Research Lab personnel.

Result: AFT boots could improve soldier running times over a 2-mile distance by about 8 to 15%. This would also lower the “heat strain” experienced by soldiers, often a significant issue in hot war-time environments.

Conclusion: “These findings highlight the impact that innovative military super boots would have on physical performance and heat strain in soldiers, which could potentially maximize the likelihood of mission success in real-world scenarios.” More at BMJ Military Health with free full text.

RELATED ARTICLE: Are Super Shoes Worth The Hype, Or Are They Just A Hoax?

SHORT STUFF You Don’t Want To Miss

Here's what else you would have received this week if you were a subscriber to the complete, full-text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy.” Why not give it a try? SUBSCRIBE HERE.

  • How to be younger than your birthdays
  • Ten ways to conquer pre-race nerves
  • What we can learn from 6-day runners
  • Shorter strides reduce total ground impact (and maybe injuries)
  • How women runners can reclaim pelvic floor control
  • Muscle power: Strength training also beats back depression (like moderate aerobic exercise)
  • Coffee or Caffeine Capsules? Capsules or tablets deliver enough power to boost endurance
  • A great motivational quote from 9-time U.S. Cross Country champ Lynn Jennings

Don't forget: I spend hours searching the internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles so you can review them in minutes.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. See you again next week. Amby

Marathon Handbook

The world's most-read running newsletter

Expert running tips, the latest news, shoe and gear reviews - and the occasional running meme.

Read more from Marathon Handbook

Here's the free but abridged version of the Run Long, Run Healthy newsletter. See the links below to subscribe to the full-text edition with more articles and deeper, more specific running advice. - Amby You’re Already Fit, Here’s How To Get Even Faster How can you keep improving, even after already being in very good shape? It’s not easy. After all, the “law of diminishing returns” sets in at some point. Some believe you need to apply a little “shock therapy” at this juncture. A dash of...

2 days ago • 3 min read

Running News :: Expert Training Guides :: Training Plans :: Shoes+Gear Hey runners, Katelyn here 👋 Newsletter #263 is going to push your limits! Here's what I have for you today: 💪🏻 Track workouts to improve your speed, strength, and endurance: We all want to get faster. Check out my top workouts, and let me help you get there. 🏁 How to find a running track near you: If you need help finding a track to try out my speed workouts, we have tips to help you out. 🏃🏽 Eliud Kipchoge’s former...

4 days ago • 2 min read

Running News :: Expert Training Guides :: Training Plans :: Shoes+Gear Hey runners, Jessy here 👋 Newsletter #260 brings you the latest drama from the local level all the way to the Olympics. Here's what I have for you today: 🏃🏼♀️+🏋🏻♀️ Cardio AND Weights on the same day? Is it worth it? 😬 How this woman's 5K runs landed her a two-year prison sentence. 👟 👻 Best. Ghost. Ever? Our reviewer Alex Cyr tests the Brooks Ghost 16 🤓 The top five exercise science findings that will change the way you...

6 days ago • 3 min read
Share this post