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3+2 schedule (similar to FIRST)--mileage concerns (Read 1516 times)

    I got hurt training for marathon #2 last year. While some was due to inflexibility and mechanics issues, some of it was probably due to too many long miles on not enough of a base (you can check my log--this was October). I made a decision not to run a marathon again for a long time, and took many months of physical therapy and cross training, working on my gait, trying new insoles, etc.

     

    I'm now training for my first true race in a year, a half in November, following a schedule prescribed by my PT. It's a 3-run-a-week schedule, similar to the FIRST schedule (Run Less, Run Faster). The first run of the week is intervals, the second is a tempo run, the third is the long run. Most people say the risk in the schedule is burnout, but I'm actually doing fine, hitting my paces and feeling fresh every time I hit the pavement, probably because I'm just so happy to be running since I miss running every day. I get that we're minimizing some of the risk of injury by having me run only every other day. I'm being good about cross training the other days.

     

    Here's my concern, though. I feel like I'm woefully low on mileage, overall, and that my long miles are really tipping the scale of the overall schedule. As we get into the "heavy" part of the schedule, the heaviest mileage weeks are 24 (w/ a 14 mile long run) and 26.5 (with a 16 mile long run). Sandwiched between those two weeks is a week of 21 miles, where the only easy miles are the first six miles of an 11-miler. Please don't get me wrong, I don't mind running hard, and like I said, I'm really nailing my target paces. But I don't want to end up sitting out another race because I'm running hard every time I put my running shoes on.

     

    I'm just the newbie, so I'm here asking people for advice. Does anyone have more experience with FIRST or schedules like it? Thoughts?

    Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Heb. 12:1b)
    Mile by Mile

      You should be concerned about the miles. The FIRST schedule is the last program I would recommend for someone coming off an injury. I don't like it personally. It takes away from what is most important for a marathon - "BASE".  A half requires more speed but 95% of your race speed comes from your running base (miles). The speed component sharpens you up for that last 5%. Use components of FIRST  but try to build your miles (comfortably paced).

      Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

      Scout7


      CPT Curmudgeon

        Full disclosure: I have never used a program like FIRST.  I have read about it, and have heard from people that have used it in some form or another.

         

        In my opinion (and it is opinion only, not gospel, so take it as such) is that FIRST is a good program in specific instances, namely:

         

        - The person has been running a fair amount of miles for a significant amount of time.

        - The person has never really done any higher effort work, for whatever reason.

        - The plan is being used to train for a specific race, and not adopted as a regular training regime.

         

        To give more detail to the above, I think that a person who has been running consistent mileage for an extended period of time but has not seen much in the way of race performance improvements would benefit from this type of plan, mostly because the focus is going to be on "quality" over "quantity".  I have met a few people who were at a point where adding miles just wasn't doing much anymore, because they ran all of those miles at a relatively easy effort, and for whatever reason could never get a grasp on how to run harder efforts in training.  This program would essentially force this person to incorporate harder efforts.

         

        I do not believe the program is a good year-round training method, because in the long-term, you need to maintain that basic level of fitness that lots of easier miles bring.

         

        As to your specific situation, I see a few warning flags with following a program like this.

         

        First, you already stated that some of your injury issues most likely stem from running too many miles without adequate base mileage to support it.  This plan will only serve to compound those issues by forcing all of your runs to be either hard or long.

         

        Second, you have to hit Every.  Single.  Run.  There is zero room for error, or skipping.  In the end, this type of plan is a lot less flexible and far more unforgiving.

         

        Third, I do not view this type of plan as being for someone without a fair amount of running experience.  You have to have the basic fitness to support the hard workouts, you have to know your body well enough to handle the recovery properly between workouts, and you have to be able to quickly assess and identify potential issues, so that you can deal with them before they derail your training.

         

        I think your mileage concerns are definitely well-founded.  For advice, I would look into substituting additional easy running for at least some of the cross training.  However, I think one of your issues is that you probably aren't real sure about what constitutes easy effort vs. hard effort, and that is a significant portion of what has caused you issues in the past.  If you are unable to really tell the difference by perceived exertion, then I would recommend looking into using something like pace or heart rate to help you out.

          Did you PT explain his/her rationale for prescribing this plan?

          Runners run.

            I got hurt training for marathon #2 last year. While some was due to inflexibility and mechanics issues, some of it was probably due to too many long miles on not enough of a base (you can check my log--this was October). I made a decision not to run a marathon again for a long time, and took many months of physical therapy and cross training, working on my gait, trying new insoles, etc.

             

            I'm now training for my first true race in a year, a half in November, following a schedule prescribed by my PT. It's a 3-run-a-week schedule, similar to the FIRST schedule (Run Less, Run Faster). The first run of the week is intervals, the second is a tempo run, the third is the long run. Most people say the risk in the schedule is burnout, but I'm actually doing fine, hitting my paces and feeling fresh every time I hit the pavement, probably because I'm just so happy to be running since I miss running every day. I get that we're minimizing some of the risk of injury by having me run only every other day. I'm being good about cross training the other days.

             

            Here's my concern, though. I feel like I'm woefully low on mileage, overall, and that my long miles are really tipping the scale of the overall schedule. As we get into the "heavy" part of the schedule, the heaviest mileage weeks are 24 (w/ a 14 mile long run) and 26.5 (with a 16 mile long run). Sandwiched between those two weeks is a week of 21 miles, where the only easy miles are the first six miles of an 11-miler. Please don't get me wrong, I don't mind running hard, and like I said, I'm really nailing my target paces. But I don't want to end up sitting out another race because I'm running hard every time I put my running shoes on.

             

            I'm just the newbie, so I'm here asking people for advice. Does anyone have more experience with FIRST or schedules like it? Thoughts?

             

            What flexibility and mechanics issues did you have?

            There was a point in my life when I ran. Now, I just run.

             

            Well, fuckers

            He still stands

             

            The Diary of a Once-ran.

              A friend of mine used the FIRST program for 3-4 marathons, getting himself down to a 3:10.  He was reasonably active before that but not a distance runner.  After the 3:10, he felt he could do better on a more traditional program and tried Pfitzinger's 18/5 or 18/70; a hot day in Chicago slowed him but he still PR'd (again).

               

              As to injury risk: he didn't get injured while doing FIRST.  I'd expect you'd have a long run and a quality day in any approach, so FIRST is throwing a second quality day into your weeks -- and that's likely where the injury risk rises.  Risk management may entail selecting appropriate cross-training activities so your legs don't stay as highly stressed between quality days (assuming your injuries tend to be in the legs).

              “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

                So much of what you wiser runners are saying is making sense.

                 

                What stopped me in my tracks at the very end of the marathon training cycle was shin splints. The PT determined they'd been caused by my incredibly flat arches, which put stress on my hips and already-stressed knees since I tended never to stretch and/or do any cross training. He said I was one of the weirdest patients he'd ever seen--coming in, I looked like I was in great shape, but then I couldn't touch my toes. My hips were weak. Obviously, I tend to overpronate to the worst degree.

                 

                I think the idea behind the plan was to keep me from running every day while still satisfying my desire to be fast. I'm beginning to think I got hungry for speed way too fast, and I need to go back to just running for fun, being satisfied with near-sub-2 half marathons, injury free, for several years, before I try anything else.

                Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Heb. 12:1b)
                Mile by Mile

                JML


                  I used FIRST when training for my first marathon (no pun intended).  It was a sound program for me, but I was VERY dedicated to the XT (Bike, Swim) that takes the place of normal easy runs to build aerobic base.  I have since migrated to a more conventional plan that includes more base / easy mileage and I think that I am better prepared for my next marathon in that running is the best aerobic training for running.

                   

                  I primarily switched as I wanted to run more times per week and  the intensity of FIRST can be daunting if you are having an off day.  If you find that this approach works for you, I highly recommend making sure that you do the XT religiously or you will arrive at the start of the race with less aerobic capacity than you may need.

                   

                  Good luck!

                   2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...

                    Ringmaster

                     

                    How about about a basic 4 day a week program that tops out at around 30 miles per week or so with 2 bigger work outs per week with quality. Now this is not the ideal as far as miles but may fit what you are trying to accomplish. Try to build a progression with the below also.

                     

                    Day 1  (Mon)  6-8 miles easy - about 2 min below your 5K race pace with 6-10 X 100m fast striders toward end or throughout run

                     

                    Day 2  (Wed)  7-9  with 3-4 miles or so of 10K paced reps, half marathon paced reps or tempo miles in middle of  warm up miles and cooldown mile. Finish with 4-5 X 200m fast with full recovery between

                     

                    Day 3  (Fri)  3-4  easy with few striders if feeling good

                     

                    Day 4   (Sat.) 9-12  with last 2-3 miles at marathon pace or in middle or run every other mile at marathon pace or simply a faster pace. If you get  in a few runs longer than 90 minutes that would be good before the half.  Adding some quality in this run gives you more bang for your buck.

                     

                    You have 2 days with quality with recovery between. You work on a variety of paces to get you fit to run a solid half.

                    Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                      I want to thank you all for giving me your insight and advice, and especially for your practical, applicable suggestion, Tchuck. I think I will go back to a 4-day schedule like the one you suggested.

                      Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Heb. 12:1b)
                      Mile by Mile

                         Obviously, I tend to overpronate to the worst degree.

                         

                         

                          

                        Custom orthotics?

                          Sorry I missed your post, Chuck. The custom orthotic route has been suggested, but the ortho who suggested them wasn't a runner, and seemed to think that it would take a year to get used to running in them. I threw the whole thing out as soon as he said that, and now I'm wondering if I should maybe investigate that more thoroughly. He could, after all, have been talking out of his ignorance since he doesn't run. It might just be worth it. Thanks for putting the idea back into my head.

                          Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Heb. 12:1b)
                          Mile by Mile

                            Sorry I missed your post, Chuck. The custom orthotic route has been suggested, but the ortho who suggested them wasn't a runner, and seemed to think that it would take a year to get used to running in them. I threw the whole thing out as soon as he said that, and now I'm wondering if I should maybe investigate that more thoroughly. He could, after all, have been talking out of his ignorance since he doesn't run. It might just be worth it. Thanks for putting the idea back into my head.

                             

                            That is complete and utter nonsense.  I got custom orthotics ran in them that day and every day since for the next 8 years.  I have not had a running injury since using them.

                              I have never had issues with regular custom orthotics. One my DPMs I sell to suggested this company and I thank her everyday. They are wonderful running custom orthotics and amazingly comfortable and incredibly light. 

                               

                               http://www.footdynamics.com/store/product/running-orthotics-9.cfm

                              Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                                Thanks for the link. The company looks fantastic, and I think my insurance may cover a % since the doc had prescribed them already. You'll be happy to hear I added some easier-paced miles to my week. I feel much better putting in a 14-mile run when I've already done 18. Thanks again for prompting me towards the orthotics. If I prop up my arches I bet it would help.

                                Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Heb. 12:1b)
                                Mile by Mile

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