As you all know I've been running along for a few years now. 2 years and 1 month. In two years I have raced one 3Miler, many 5Ks, quite a few 10K's, a 15K, 5 Halfs and a Marathon.
In all that I've been slowly growing my speed, at some points making HUGE strides.... but mostly I've been frustrated as I watch all the people I know and love leave me behind race after race. I thought doing TEMPO runs and SPEED WORK were the key, and my lack of discipline was going to be my undoing. Actually, I'm very disciplined, but I use it all up in other areas, like making time for homework and junk like that...
So, as far as running is concerned, I was always fitting my run IN, but not really putting a quality run OUT. And, by fitting it in, that meant a 3 and a 4 miler each week with a long run on Saturday or Sunday. During the marathon training I learned that I could add many more miles to my week, and that I liked running that much. And then I BROKE DOWN.
So, about that. Yes, I broke. Yes, I was running more. Were the two connected? Not entirely. I was running too many miles in the wrong training zone for my body, and not enough miles to do what I wanted to do.
In late March I decided to try a *NEW PRODUCT known as Running Slow to Run Faster. I'd just come off an injury and was in the process of deciding how to move forward. Do I get a 5K plan out that has 1 tempo, 1 speed, 1 easy and 1 long run? (15-18 or so miles a week), or do I do something else?
(new for me, other people have been doing it since the '70's).
TMB gave me something else to do, and clear instructions on how to do it. Now armed with a new training zone (read that: SLOWER over all pace that fit MY zones) I upped my milage for the months of April & May. Seriously, in April & May I cranked out 217 miles (combined).... and most of those miles were a "slower than 10 minute mile" pace. 16 of those miles, however, were racing miles, and they were so much better.
For one thing, I did a 13.1 mile training run, and PR'd on it. Without exerting effort, I attained at Half Marathon PR. Seriously, that ROCKED. It wasn't a huge PR, only a few seconds, but with NO EFFORT. I could have run faster, I just didn't. I was chatting with my peeps for over half the run.
But we can't base this whole review on one 13.1 mile training run/race PR, can we?
The final thing, I think, that shows that RUNNING SLOW to RUN FAST works is that I ran a 5K at the end of April and a 5K exactly one month later with the larger slower running base, and guess what? I attained a PR. Not a "one second" PR either. No, it was a *serious 26 second PR. (I believe that a 26 second speed increase on a 5K is a lot of time in 30 days!)
*by the way: officially, the race time was 25:55, giving me an official 26 second PR. However the course was long, and TMB's Garmin agreed with my Garmin to the exact distance. When I calculate out on that, my avg pace was an 8:12, and my PR would have been 25:30, a 49 second PR.
So, the verdict as far as I'm concerned: Running Slow to Run Faster works and I will use it again and again!