With so many things on your plate, you’d want every second of your training to count. Here’s how you can run less, yet clock a faster timing on race day.
It’s another crazy, busy day at the office and you can’t find the time to run, yet you are determined to do a personal best at Shape Run 2019 on August 25. Running is fun, but you don’t want to give up your HIIT or spinning class. You may even be thinking about how to build up enough running mileage to complete a half or full marathon this December. Well, here’s great news: there is a training plan from SSTAR.fitness that lets you run less, yet run faster on race day.
Running less does not mean training less
First things first: Running less does not mean working out less. What it really means is, by running three times a week, and training at slightly faster paces, you can improve your fitness while spending less time running. This is unlike other training plans that want you to run more than three times a week by adding extra miles and focusing less on distance and pace targets. To complete this program, ideally spend another one or two days a week on cross-training, so you don’t have to drop the exercise classes that are already part of your routine.
Running faster can be fun
Running fast doesn’t mean going at a lung-bursting intensity all the time. In fact, the longer the race, the slower your training pace should be. Someone preparing for a full marathon, for example, would run almost 90% of all the training at a comfortable, conversation pace. Running fast involves doing some speed workouts, ideally on a track. Similar to a HIIT session, these track sessions are enjoyable because they add lots of variety to an otherwise tedious run.
(Also read: How to Run 5K in Under 30 Minutes)
How is it done?
Focus on three quality runs a week that include one session of track repeats, a tempo run, which is a continuous run at a comfortably hard effort, and a long run of at least 45 minutes if you are preparing for a 10k race. Track sessions should have a variety of distances from 400m to 1600m with rest intervals in between. Your tempo runs should also be done at different paces. Do long runs at an easy, comfortable pace. We designed this trio of workouts from the fastest speed workouts, to the slowest long run such that they work together to improve your aerobic endurance, lactate-threshold running pace, and leg speed.
Cross training adds fun and variety
For cross training, choose workouts that help build some aerobic fitness; these include swimming, rowing, spinning, HIIT, aerobics, and dance. These cross training workouts will improve endurance, and at the same time add variety to your training. Don’t have a gym membership? Do stair climbing – it’s a great way to say hello to your neighbours in the block!
Why does this training plan work?
By not running so often, your muscles get a break and you reduce the risk of overuse injuries. By incorporating cross training, you don’t have to change your fitness routine drastically, and that makes exercising more fun. With this approach, you are making the best use of your limited time. Make every run count – by running less, and running faster. We typically run a race with a specific time and pace goal in mind, so logically we should train based on pace and time as well. After all, training can be viewed as a series of rehearsals for race day.
What is the best way to get started?
Running with a group often proves to be more fun, so join us at SSTAR.fitness, where we offer three key training sessions a week. Tempo runs every Thursday are free for the public. We group runners according to fitness levels, so you will run with people of a similar pace as you. Shape Run pacers will also be there to guide you. Sign up by joining our page at Facebook/SSTAR.fitness Crew.
About the program
The ‘Run Less Run Faster’ SSTAR.fitness training program is made available in collaboration with the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) from the Furman University. The developers of FIRST has been endorsed by Runners World as one of the top ten Super-coaches world-wide. This program is evidence-based, backed by 10 years of data and has helped more than 10,000 runners worldwide achieve Boston qualifiers since 2007.
About the author
Andrew Cheong is the founder and head coach of SSTAR.fitness, an endurance sports coaching service. Since 2010, Andrew has been dedicated to training runners of all abilities, for races ranging from 5km to the Marathon and beyond. He has a Diploma in Sports Science, is a certified Distance Running Coach by the Road Running Clubs of America, a qualified FISAF personal trainer, an IAAF Track and Field Certified and a Mental Toughness Coach. Andrew has completed more than 30 marathons and Ironman races. He and his wife were the first Singaporean couple to be awarded the Abbott Six Star World Marathon Major recipient in 2017.