Friday, October 25, 2013

How I Got Faster by Running Less

I've been waiting to write this post for months. Before I started my marathon training earlier this year, I wanted to show that you don't need to put in a million miles to have success. My body (specifically my knees) won't let me run every day. What I was hoping to prove was that you could train for a marathon without running as much as everyone thinks and not hate it by the end.

So what did I find?

I think I was able to show that it is possible to run less and still get faster. So how did I do it? Triathlon.

Being a triathlete means I'm swimming, biking, or running every day. I love this because I don't get bored with my training. So it got me thinking, how could I incorporate triathlon into my marathon training? I googled it and saw very little results. I had been hoping to find some specific plans. But what I did find was other triathletes had been using cycling as their recovery days during marathon training. I liked the sound of that. Less running, but still staying very active.

Here's what a typical week looked like for me:

Monday - Spin at home (1 hour)
Tuesday - Treadmill workout (speed training, 800s or 1600s for 1 hour)
Wednesday - Spin at home (1 hour) & GNO Swim (40 minutes)
Thursday - Treadmill workout (tempo run for 1 hour)
Friday - Spin at home (1 hour)
Saturday - Long run (13-22 miles depending on the week)
Sunday - Rest

My spin days were usually recovery days. I would ride at a good pace, but didn't ever push it. My weekends were based around me (and Skyler) getting out long runs done. This was a priority and we didn't miss any of them. I did one swim workout a week to keep up my swim fitness. Plus I really just love swimming. At first I dreaded my treadmill workouts, but by the end I learned to love them. There is just something so rewarding about completely sweating through your clothes.

Skyler and I tried to do our long runs in different places, meaning not on the same trail every week. I think that's what made these runs so fun. I ran up Mt. Baldy, Black Star Canyon, Kalalau Trail in Kauai, and Virginia, along with our local Santa Ana River Trail.

Some people can't believe that you can get faster by running less. I was able to prove it. I PRed by 29 minutes and earned a BQ time. I will definitely be following this plan again on my next marathon. Who knows when that will be?...

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