Friday, October 2, 2009

Would You Do FIRST?


Wow I'm just realizing it wasn't such a good idea to drink that 16 oz pumpkin pie latte right before I ate that bowl of spicy chili. Something is brewing up big time. It's a good thing I work from home. So excuse me if I need to rush away for a moment. See what happens when I don't run? I lose all sense of reason and combine things I would never regularly combine. I am just not right without the running.

My discussion in a previous post about wanting to try the FIRST training program from the book "Run Less, Run Faster," brought up some good discussion. As a reminder, the FIRST program has you running three key runs per week (speed, tempo, long) and cross training at least two other days.

Katie A. said, "I can't imagine how three days a week of running will get you anywhere. Plus, it sounds like you really love running, doesn't that plan defeat the purpose?"

Marcus (who has used this program) added, "FIRST is not for people who like to run. It's for people who want to run fast. Most workouts are hard... none of that oh-nice-refreshing-five-miles-with-my-friends stuff. My specialty is long distance, FIRST accentuates speed."


These are good points, although I don't believe that running three days a week "won't get you anywhere." With the right cross training and strength building it can get you lots of places, as many people have experienced. But the points about the program not supporting someone who loves to run and not allowing for just getting out and doing easier runs are valid ones. The runs in the FIRST program are ALL intense. It doesn't seem you get any easy, feel good runs in there.

So I am still left somewhat on the fence about this one. I ask you: if there was a chance you could PR and remain free from injury, would you choose a program that had you running less and cross training more?

Did you see this in Runner's World? This dude seriously deserves first place even if the marathon took him 10 hours (sorry for the crap quality pic, but you get the idea):




What are you going to be for Halloween?

I think I'll be this desperate housewife (or maybe it's better suited for Jamoosh):

21 comments:

  1. I just read the new runners world! crack me up! I agree, structured workouts are not always "fun times lets meet and chat" but the are necessary for speed--as some of my fellow runners learned the hard way when they did not PR a marthon this weekend--guess I might have friends for my "boring" speed works on the track!

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  2. I think a lot depends on what you consider to be "feel good" runs. Speedwork sessions left me literally gasping for breath with my hands on my knees. Did it feel good at the time? Hell no. But did it leave me feeling good when it was done? You better believe it. The same went with my tempo runs, which I decided to always do on the treadmill. They were gut-wrenching, sweat-drenching workouts but when they were over, there was no drug on the planet that could top the high.

    I actually came to consider my long runs as the "easy" ones since they were intended to be done at a slower pace. Even if I was scheduled to run mileage in the teens, I relished the long runs as easy-does-it, feel-good workouts with my favorite music in my ears and long stretches of glorious road ahead of me.

    I think what the FIRST program did most for me was instill my love for running again after being burned out on it. When I only ran three days a week, I came to really look forward to the next run, even if it was a grueling session of speedwork. It gave me more confidence when I knew each workout was making me a better, stronger runner instead of just slogging through meaningless junk miles day after day. Thinking of it that way, the FIRST program makes a lot of sense for people who truly love to run.

    Good luck in deciding what's right for you!

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  3. I can't wait for halloween! its my FAVORITE!!!!

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  4. I started off on FIRST, but given that my 3 running days tend to be lumped together, I couldn't pull it off.

    I DO believe in the cross-training though. Gives my legs a happy break, & I really think the swimming's starting to add to my stamina.

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  5. I think the cross-training is the key. When I took up cycling, within a few weeks I was seeing the results.

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  6. To answer your question, I think it's important that runners mix it up. Running the same route, or in the same weather or anything too consistent for too long can burn you out or bore you. The First sounds like a cool way to improve at the sport and mix up your training! Go for it.

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  7. I DID see that in Runner's World, in fact, I just read the little article today! Too funny.

    YES! YES! YES! on your question on cross training. But I'm sure that you already knew I would say that....
    I am running on a terrible, horrible foot that my doctor told me I needed surgery on if I was to continue to run long distance (I need to correct my first metatarsal). I truely believe that the only reason I am still able to run the distances that I can is because of cross training.

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  8. I adhere to the theory that girls are allowed to dress as slutty as they want for Halloween and no one can say anything. :o)

    I could never do FIRST since I love junk miles too much.

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  9. I would do first, but that's because if I could get faster in only 3 days that would be great and you know my skd, I barely have 3 as it is! For Halloween I'm going to be a Pink Lady. I figured I have the tight black pants, the black shirt and scarf, just need the pink jacket and I found one at Walmart for 25 bucks! Now I have an email for you:

    Bracelet at Tiffany's

    A lady walks into Tiffany's. She looks around, spots a beautiful diamond bracelet and walks over to inspect it. As she bends over to look more closely, she unexpectedly has to fart. Very embarrassed, she looks around nervously to see if anyone noticed her little woops and prays that a sales person wasn't anywhere near. As she turns around, her worst nightmare materializes in the form of a salesman standing right behind her. Good looking as well. Cool as a cucumber, he displays all of the qualities one would expect of a professional in a store like Tiffany's. He politely greets the lady with, 'Good day, Madam. How may we help you today?' Blushing & uncomfortable, but still hoping that the salesman somehow missed her little 'incident', she asks, 'Sir, what is the price of this lovely bracelet?' He answers, "Madam.. if you farted just looking at it you're going to shit when I tell you the price."

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  10. That costume is just plain creepy! I'm looking forward to the new rw after my kiddo goes to bed tonight. Saturday night fun!

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  11. I would cut back on running if I was injury prone and it kept me from getting injured. But I think there's a way to run much more and stay healthy. You have to be smart about it and balance your easy/long runs appropriately. I run 6-7 days a week and have been for over 2 years straight now and I feel great.

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  12. Haha "crap quality pic." Please tell me the pun was intended. ;)

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  13. As a new, and very slow runner...I'd love to hear your opinion on how to increase speed slowly without causing a heart attack?! ha ha (I will buy a Garrin too!) :-) Also, do you think there is an efficient way to run? Is there an optimum gait or stance that conserves engery while improving results? (When no one else is looking at McIntosh, I will run a short distance as fast as I can...giving it 100 %...I feel like I am flying, when I know anyone else would say I just looked like a fat-lady-wanna-be-runner! Any thoughts or words of wisdom for us wanna-be runners? I don't want to be a "jogger" or a "wogger" anymore...I want to be a runner! :-)

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  14. i think a program with running lesls and cross training more is just fine. you should check out hal higdons plans. i love the one im one right now. tuesday and thursday are low mileage. wednesday is medium and saturday is long. monday and friday are rest days (although friday i usually do some sort of yoga) and sunday is cross training. i feel like- based on what i read on your blog- taking running down an notch would do not harm at all...you are already a beast. that will never change haha

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  15. Would I love to PR yes...however I love to run more so I don't want to only do 3 days a week.

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  16. Interesting comments. I've never lookied into the FIRST plan myself, but I can defintiely see the merit in three quality workouts and replacing those "leisurely" runs with cross-training. Of course, it wouldn't work for me since I hate cross-training.

    Wow, sweet costume!

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  17. You know, I am nursing an injury myself right now, the second one of the summer. Thankfully, neither require crutches, surgery or doctor appts, but both have kept me from running for a couple of weeks. I am on day 8 of not running and I think I have at least until the end of the week.
    With that being said, I LOVE to run and I know you do to. Keep searching out there, it is all about the cross training, and I am sure you will find a plan that keeps your running more that three days a week, cross training more and injury free! :)

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  18. A tempo run, speed work and a long run a week. I basically did that for 12 weeks after my six month, "screw this damn knee" running break. I BQed in my first marathon. I think for injury-prone people, programs like FIRST are spectacular for coming back. Granted, I biked the hell out of my trainer and spent hours in the pool - but that's what it takes. I'll back it up any day.

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  19. You can add easy runs instead of crosstraining, and still use FIRST. It's an amazing plan, it helped me BQ at my first marathon.

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  20. Hells yeah I would try a training plan that would give me a chance to PR sans injury. When you say it like that it just sounds kinda silly not to try it, don't you think?!

    I have heard lots of good things about it.

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