Questions About Training For a PR

Happy Monday everyone! We’re not even going to go into my training last week because I was home sick most of the week therefore only ran twice. One easy run and one speed workout on the treadmill…which is actually what is prompting this post today…

I want to hit some PRs this year. I’m probably running a spring half end of April or in May, but I know this probably won’t be a PR, and I’m okay with that. My main goal is a fall half marathon and marathon PR.

I’ve been reading Run Less, Run Faster because so many of you recommended it to me in previous posts. It’s definitely intriguing. While I don’t think I will only be running 3 days a week (I do want to experiment with higher mileage and see what happens), I do want to do the workouts. 

Run Less, Run Faster

I was looking at the 4:10 marathon plan since my goal is a 2:05 half marathon. The track workouts are definitely speedy for me, but I’m willing to put in the work. Which is what leads me to these questions:

  • Should you be running faster than usual to get faster? For example, some plans, like Jack Daniels or others, use training paces in relation to your most recent 5K or other race. Meaning, my track workout paces would definitely not be what’s in plan in Run Less, Run Faster. BUT, I want to train to get faster…does that make sense?
  • Some people say too much intensity leads to injury…but then we have people doing crazy fast sprints/hill sprints on treadmills as a HIIT workout…people who might not run on a regular basis at all…(random point I know…I’m just thinking outloud here).
  • Lastly, even though intensity could lead to injury, many plans also say “if you want to run a half or full at a certain pace, you need to train at that pace,” so then…why would I be going based on my most recent 5K time, and run workouts at a pace that I’m already running?

Like I said, I’m mainly just thinking outloud and would love to hear feedback from you. Especially if you’ve used the Run Less, Run Faster plan.

Today I’m supposed to be doing 800 repeats at 7:47 pace I think. That’s fast for me, and I did it last week but could only finish 2.5 repeats (I was also sick)…so we’ll see how it goes!

Have you used the Run Less, Run Faster plan to set a PR? Did you find the workouts really challenging? Or do I need to “step down” a plan?

What do you think of my questions regarding training intensities?


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  1. Good questions indeed! I think there is not one answer and everyone handles and responds to training differently. good luck finding what will work best for you. Looking forward to reading about it!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Smokey Mac n Cheese Stuffed Peppers w BBQ TofuMy Profile

  2. I am with Deborah. I think you have to find what works for you… and that can be a lot of trial and error.

    I do think though, that if you are going to choose a program, you pretty much need to follow it as closely as you can.

    Good luck with it. I will be interested in the advice you get from more experienced distance runners than I am.
    Elle recently posted…Spring it On!My Profile

  3. I really have no idea, haha! I’d have the same thoughts and questions as you :P
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Recipe ReDux #17 Garlic Kale HummusMy Profile

  4. These are some great questions! I think the only way to find answers, is to experiment and see what works for you! Some things can be true about others, but not be the same for you. Everyone’s body responds to things differently!
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness recently posted…Gluten Free Carrot Cake Baked Donuts with Coconut Cream Frosting {Paleo}My Profile

  5. Interesting questions! I’ve run a few races including a half, but never really given much thought to increasing speed or trying to PR. I hope you figure out a good training plan and end up crushing your PR this year!! :)
    Brittany recently posted…High Protein Blueberry Almond MuffinsMy Profile

    • Thanks Brittany! So funny, I’m the total opposite. I’m so competitive with myself I “need” to PR each race…which obviously doesn’t happy, because who can PR every race??

  6. Glad you are feeling better! My coach is a big proponent of adding in rest days to give your body the ability to recover. It is so hard to choose the correct training plan as there are so many of them out there. Definitely adding in more speedwork, hill training etc. will add increase your overall speed!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Let’s Lift Each Other Up. Ten tips for supporting each other.My Profile

  7. I just PRed yesterday following this plan! It’s a keeper for me for sure!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Race To The Piano Man RecapMy Profile

    • I saw! Congrats!! Did you only run 3 days a week or run on the other days (Easy runs)? Did you do the workouts in the book based on your goal pace/time?

  8. i’m no help since running isn’t really my thing…just wanted to say good luck! love your positive attitude.
    Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean recently posted…Bean Bytes 133My Profile

  9. I am a terrible runner so I can’t help you–sorry!
    Margo recently posted…Brooklyn Fit Chick News & Notes: SCUBA Dive Tips, The Amazing Ashley Judd, “Bricolage” in Brooklyn & More!My Profile

  10. I have teh same fall PR goals as you. I’ve been battling injury for too long for me and it’s making me question my running ability.

    I think a combination of mileage AND intensity is what causes a lot of injuries. I know for me, it’s been running too quickly from what I’ve been used to. So I think gradually increasing speed (from base training, to moderate pace work, to actual interval work) is the best course.

    I’ve heard great things about Run Less, Run Faster and am thinking about checking out the book.
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Marathon Monday 3/23 & Run L’Arche Half Marathon RecapMy Profile

    • Check it out! I don’t think I will only run 3 days a week…I think I will use the other days as recovery/easy runs. We’ll see how it goes…good luck to you in your fall PR goals as well!

  11. I am starting to run for fun now- I’ve decided that is the reason I started running in the first place. I have been concerned about time though, and spadework totally helps. That and hill training!
    AJ @ NutriFitMama recently posted…Chattanooga Raccoon Mountain Half Marathon | A MUST DO race in TNMy Profile

    • Yeah I’ve been on the treadmill all winter and have not done much hills…need to start doing that more often. Can it get warmer out yet?

  12. I am totally going to look for this book because that is my goal to get faster. I hope you are feeling better.
    Ivanna recently posted…Managing Anxiety and Panic (Techniques)My Profile

  13. I’m ALL about running less haha. I trained for my half (was aiming for sub 2 but was injured and got 2:00) by running x3 a week. 2 training runs and 1 long run. My shins can’t take too many extra miles!
    Carmy recently posted…Monday on the Run #19My Profile

  14. I run a lot of miles because my body seems ok with that in a way that it is not ok with picking up the pace. And I’m slowly (ha) getting faster again. The key thing is to be careful about increasing your mileage AND trying to increase your speed at the same time. So, it would depend on your base. For example, I’m running two marathons this spring back to back. I’m running a lot of slow miles. I’m considering this a base building season. Once I’ve recovered from those, my goal is to pick up the pace and PR at MCM because I’ll already have gotten my body used to running the miles.

    I’ve never tried RLRF. I know people it worked great for and people it injured. I guess it all depends on your body.
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted…Beer, cello, and runningMy Profile

    • I think I am in the opposite boat. I have been doing high intensity workouts for the past 2 months or so because I figured since I wasn’t running a lot I should do more HIIT style/interval workouts, and now I want to run more miles. So I think I should be ok right? I’m not technically increasing both?

  15. I think you have to do what works for you. I’m in my 50s and can’t/don’t want to do high miles. I work with a crossfit coach, who has me do HIIT once/week for a cycle, alternating with weights. There is also speed work mixed in. I ran a huge marathon PR last fall, and hope to sub-4 this fall. We’ll see.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Recovery is a many splendored thing…My Profile

  16. i trained with rlrf last summer and ran a 2:05 1/2 – a 15 minutes PR. it was HARD and sometimes i didn’t hit all my paces but i loved the plan and will probably do a version of it again this summer to train for my fall marathon. i wrote about my thoughts here: good luck!
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Training Recap Week 3My Profile

    • Yeah I did an 800 repeat workout today and it was tough! Did you go by your goal half marathon pace or what you currently could do? Thanks for the link – reading it now!

  17. The thing about training plans is that there isn’t a one size fits all program. We’re all different, with a different history of injuries, etc. That said, I’m a huge fan of only running 3-4 days per week. Running anymore and I fear that my bad ankle might not hold up.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Shamrock Half Marathon Training Log – Week 18My Profile

  18. The thing about training plans is that there isn’t a one size fits all program. We’re all different, with a different history of injuries, etc. That said, I’m a huge fan of only running 3-4 days per week. Running anymore and I fear that my bad ankle might not hold up.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Shamrock Half Marathon Training Log – Week 18My Profile

  19. I don’t run, and I haven’t followed an actual set plan for lifting in a many years (I tend to just go with what feels like it’d work best for me), but I think the questions you’re asking are very reasonable and will help you towards getting the PR that you’re working for! Good luck! :]
    Farrah recently posted…Acute BronchitisMy Profile

  20. The response to training is very personal. The paces in RLRF based off a current 5K time will be very challenging training paces – especially to be able to recover and do the next key workout. My coach essentially does RLRF for me and then I also have 3 swim and bike sessions per week. I have started adding 10 min runs off the bike on non-run days as I also think I do best off higher mileage. I was not a runner in HS or college so I think my body still needs the miles to develop running economy. Good luck!
    Kelli recently posted…My First Cycling Road Race!My Profile

    • How do you make sure you recover before the next one? I just did 800s today and it is still so hard for me, I couldn’t totally finish it but a few weeks ago I couldn’t do 400 repeats at a certain pace but after a few weeks it was much easier!

  21. Great questions…I think you kind of have to listen to your body. I’ve been dying g to read that book too. I run about 4 days a week but if work gets in the way then 3. I do like to cross train a lot though. That’s helped me get faster.
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…Running, Family Time, and Hikes: My Weekend RecapMy Profile

  22. I used the RLRF plan and yes I PRd. It’s been a while but I think I had to cut back on a day of running.
    jill conyers recently posted…Quick and Easy Spring Veggie BowlMy Profile

  23. Great tips!! I wish I was able to run to worry about PR but my hips won’t let me :(
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors recently posted…Blueberry Banana Bread (Single Serve)My Profile

  24. Really interesting questions! I think the only way to know is to start experimenting and see what works for you. I always like to say as long as we listen to our bodies, but in this case, pushing a little harder might help get you where you want to go. I hope you find a training program that works for you!
    Alyssa @ Simply Quinoa recently posted…Thai Peanut Quinoa SaladMy Profile

    • Thanks Alyssa! Yeah we’ll see how this experiment goes. I pushed hard during marathon training in 2013 and although it led to a PR, the last 3 weeks before the race I couldn’t run due to tendonitis. But who knows if that was because of the training or just an injury because of marathon training in general.

  25. I’ve seen this book a lot around the run-o-sphere lately. I can definitely see the appeal of it but not too sure if it’s for everyone. I’ll have to read it one day and decide for myself.
    Stephanie recently posted…Mayhem Monday: Pass the CoffeeMy Profile

  26. I will definitely be following this post. I am not new to running because I used to run here and there for about a year until I got pregnant, but I am new to running consistently now and looking for any good advice! :) Good luck!!
    Katie @ Huff ‘n Puff to Buff ‘n Tough recently posted…First 5K of the Year: Green Beer 5K 2015 Race RecapMy Profile

    • Aw thanks and good luck to you! Let me know if you ever have any questions or just need a running buddy to talk to :)

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