Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Surfer Dude's Guide to Training

Remember when this was a running blog?  Well surprise! ...for today it is again.  I wanna talk about training plans and fast shoes.

beautiful beautiful shoe
Today I tried out my new lightweight trainers (the mizuno elixir, aka the smurf shoe) on the track.  Yes, that's right.  I finally bucked up and did a non treadmill workout.  I've been scared to since Boston since I had a few bad workouts right after.  And...it went ok!  4x800 @ 3:09ish and 4x400 at 1:30ish with prolly an average of 2 minutes rest between each.  

These shoes are amazing.  I've always been a huge fan of Mizuno, but I felt like freaking Mercury with wings on my feet in them.  And I look like a Smurf.  Best purchase of the month.   

I was all excited that I can run on real ground and not a machine until I looked up some paces on RLRF for the 5k to see if I was where I wanted to be.  I'm not.  Gotta go faster on the 800s.  Or, God forbid, possibly actually follow a training plan with some consistancy???

(Dum dum dum....ominous music...)

I don't like training plans and I've always considered myself to be a little like the surfer dude of running. 

"You gotta go with what feels right, braaaa."

"Just listen to what your body wants to do, duddeee"

What I mean, is that I've felt like if I do a training plan with a rigid workout schedule, it stops being fun and play, and starts becoming a job.  

But like the surfer dude, we all have to grow up sometime, right?  Well....maybe....

After years of almost daily discussion with my friend Christina about running (and gossiping about runners), 50% of these talks have ended with her trying to lure me into a training plan with wild promises of PRs and age group trophies.  I haven't bought it.  I trained in high school, and I was mediocre-ish.  
AND if I really give it my all, I can't claim post race "hey...I wasn't even training...braaa".  

(I don't mean to say I don't try.  I run the crap outa hard workouts, there's just no rhyme or reason to them.)  

But I'm beginning to think Christina, my pro-training amiga, might be right. Or that at least, I should give one a try.  After watching the steady improvement of so many bloggers after dedicated sweat and tears, I think I want in.  

This fall, I am going to sign up for a Triathlon, and find some plan (possibly Run Less Run Faster) that allows me to train for my half marathon on October 30th while learning to not drown in the pool.  A hybrid plan I think will be a good place for me to start....

Unless I decide to take up surfing instead.  

So....what training plans have you tried?  Tell me about your PRs or awesome improvements!  Inspire me and make me jealous!  

Also...do you guys care what I run on a weekly (or daily) basis?  
I don't usually write it because I assume no one cares, but I can recap if anyone (God forbid) is looking to me for training ideas.  Or just wants to make sure they are running faster / more than me, that's cool too :). 


  1. I am not good at following a training plan either, i don't like to be so structured, one of these days maybe I will grow up...

  2. I followed Hal Higdons novice marathon plan (about 80%) when I trained for my 2nd marathon (1st actually training for) in November last year. It got me to the finish with a smile and injury free. :)

    Now I'm training with a group but not really following their training plan at all because I had a bad calf injury. I do the long runs and then just fill in the gaps depending on how I feel. (I'm scared the calf will relapse eventhough it isn't in pain anymore) after training for 2 marathons since last year and now working on my 3rd this fall, I feel relatively confident in making a plan or series of runs that will get me to race day prepared.

    I'd love to see what your runs are. Keeps me motivated and also gives ideas :)

  3. So I am attempted a training plan right now but I am pretty terrible at following it...I always end up changing things last second or based on how I feel anyway but I think that is a good thing really. I usually stick to the LRs it suggests and go with what feels best during the week. I also tend to be vague like I will have one speed day and then I trust myself ahead of time to come up with a good speed workout...sometimes that goes well sometimes it doesn't ;) I think it is definitely worth giving it a shot though...you never know till you give it a try!

  4. Girl, you are so speedy. I wouldn't bother with a plan either if the "feelin' good" plan did that for me.

    That said, I *love* RLRF (took 2 full minutes off my 5K and 8 minutes off my half-marathon with it last year!), and you'll be able to do the swimming thing as part of it, so that could work for you. You can also add extra easy runs if you feel good some weeks.

  5. DON'T DO ITTTTT. Just say no to the training plan koolaid.

  6. I can totally relate to what you are saying here. I have been running the exact same for the last 6 months with no real improvement. So I started a training plan and now I am kind of hating it because I feel like I am running to be competitive...but I don't really want to be competitive I just want to freaking run. blah I'm obviously not much help.....but goodluck! :)

  7. HEY!

    I'm also looking at a tri. AND, i've just signed up for tri swimming lessons with an all girl group. You should come!

  8. Or, to be ON TOPIC, I totally am a training plan whore, because I am running dumb (ie, new), and need some focus. Otherwise I feel confused and flighty.

  9. Yes, NICE shoes, love them.

    I would totally read your running numbers and stuff for the week, but no pressure to put them up. That's just my personality.

    You should def do run less, run faster. Great book.

  10. Hi speedy lady! Love the new smurf shoes!!

    This is JMO which we all means NOTHING, lol. When I do not run on a training plan my race finish times are average. When I run on the "Run Less Run Faster" plan my times improve dramatically. I do opt for the 4th day of easy running so I end up with 1 complete rest day. It works for me. With that I recommend the book!

  11. I pretty much always loosely followed a training plan for marathons doing speedwork when I felt like it and increasing long runs according to the schedule (but not paying too much attention to my weekly mileage).

    When I got serious about qualifying for Boston I did the 12-week 55 miles/weak Pfitz program from "Advanced Marathoning" and PRd by almost 15 minutes. I am intrigued by Run Less, Run Faster for after the kid is born, because I'm not going to have a ton of time

  12. Funny how you mentioned the "RLRF" book. It's the plan I'm following right now. 3 key workouts, 2/XT. The speed session is tough but, you'll be able to do it. I def. can understand WHY it works. You really have to push yourself and rest adequately!! It's worth a try! I recommend it!! Sometimes, we all hit plateaus esp. as runners. If you truly are convicted about getting better, faster you have to work for it. It's not going to happen by just luck...unless your SR!! ;)

    The shoes are cute!! I love the "smurfs!!" :)

  13. AWESOME shoes! I'm with you on the whole, run because its fun not to stress over a rigorous workout schedule... except when I have no idea what I'm doing and cling to one so I don't die.

  14. hey, so great workout on the track...i hope u ran over some smurfs if they got in ur way. umm,sorry for the random tie-in there, but really great job and way to get off the tread!

    the thing with training is that ya, unfort. if u wanna get the most out of urself u have to at least have some structure, but u don't have to make it totally rigid. not gonna lie, i've always worked best under a coach who just does all that 'thinking' about wat workouts to do for me, then all i'd have to do is show up and run. the same could be done with a piece of paper and a sked. but u don't have to stick to it like the bible, u tweak things along the way too.

    to avoid an epic comment, u can always feel free to email me and the other tons of runner peeps u kno for advice and i'd recommend throwing together ur own kinda surfer girl plan...customize it diet coke girl! ;)

  15. Yay! Congrats to the ladies who had success with RLRF and THANK YOU for providing first hand evidence to Margs that a training plan can work :D.

    The point I have been trying to make with Margs is that she does run hard in her workouts, but that you can't really knock training plans until you give it one good dedicated try, then race, and see how you feel afterwards. How do you know you don't like something if you haven't tried? PS High school was a loonnng time ago :p.

    And it doesn't have to be so strict that you can't change up a workout or want to work harder or cut back a bit. Also I think training plans are fun, it's exciting to me to look forward to having some fast runs and seeing my performance improve. It's easy to qualify your improvement as the weeks pass and your training plan gets tougher, and you run tempos that you couldn't have done in week 1 etc.

    And I think your idea to use RLRF to train for a half and a tri is a great idea!

  16. I love my mizunos :) Nice job on those 800s!

  17. i am staunchly anti-training plan. i also get injured 100% of the time i train for a race. i should think about that...