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on 28 November 2011
I've been running for over 40 years and have probably tried just about every variant you can think of in my pursuit of the perfect training schedule - though up until recently I've tended to favour higher mileage routines. As I get older, I've found that I break more easily and take longer to put myself back together. So anything promising less mileage while still producing good results was bound to grab my attention. This book is essentially about quality over quantity with a bit of cross-training thrown in. You basically do three quality sessions a week (one long run, one tempo and one interval session) - that's it running wise - no recovery or steady runs - nope, just three balls-out running sessions, interspersed with a couple of days cross-training (like cycling, swimming etc). The book gives a lot of theory as to why this works though most of it is anecdotal rather than hard scientific proof. They provide many case studies to support their claims. It's fascinating stuff and for some people it may be the answer but I'm not convinced it will work for everyone. I didn't make serious progress on this regime until I added some additional recovery mileage - an extra three days to be precise - but I must emphasise this was very slow running - real recovery stuff. I found this worked better for me than three days of rest. So I'm kinda following the regime in that I do the three hard sessions, plus the cross-training but have substituted three rest days with three recovery runs. Why I get much better results by simply adding three very easy runs - some would say junk mileage - I don't know - but I do know that it works for me, regardless of the science. What this book has done for me is to remind me that hard sessions should be really hard and easy sessions should be really easy - too much of my running was average pace, so in that respect it has earned it's price tag.
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on 10 October 2011
I started off running every other day, instinctively having recovery days to avoid injury; then I started following training plans which involved a lot more running resulting in feeling burnt out, cruising close to an injury and not running any faster.

I'd read about this system early on and I thought that it was in sympathy with my natural instinct to run a bit harder when I ran and then recover and let my body adapt during the rest days. I bought this book and followed the 10k training plan. Result: 10k pb, no injuries and feeling better about training.

With this system, you don't do the same thing twice in a week, there are just three "quality" runs each of which have a different focus and real purpose, which helps me to keep the interest and enthusiasm for training. "Junk" running just for the sake of doing lots of miles is replaced with cross training e.g. cycling or swimming; I don't even do this as I have a very physical job which is cross training enough!

The charts on paces based on your latest race results are really good ensuring that, while pushing you, you don't train harder than you're currently capable of making it suitable for runners of all abilities. This also makes it really easy to follow the training plans.

I consider myself a beginner, running for just over a year with only four 10k races under my belt so I'm far from being very knowlegeable on the subject, but what I can say is that I'll be using this system from now on and would recommenend others to give it a go, especially if you have concerns about injury, time constraints or want to improve your perfomance.
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on 25 February 2008
Really intersting and clear book that will get you enthused about running and decreasing your time in a race. I'm training for a half marathon and the 3+2 method described in here actually works. There are some letters included of real people running but they don't make up the book and instead prologue a table or chapter solving the problems presented. Very useful table are included so you know what speed you should be running in speed intervals and tempo running. There are also structured suggstions on cross training. I've recommended this book to nearly all the people I know running who have complained about aches or just hitting a wall. The runs, stretches and tips in here really are invaluable and I feel so much stronger as a runner.
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on 28 June 2010
A nice summary of an extremely popular concept; would any runner not want to run faster by running less?
The basic concept of training properly for 3 days per week and cross-training for a further 2 days, seems to be pretty sound. I've been following roughly this for many years.
The book explains this and provides some evidence to back it up, followed by training ideas and the specifics on what the running sessions should contain. I found these far too prescriptive, but for a novice they do provide an indication of what might be appropriate. Following such a strict regime has the danger of taking the fun out of running, and so ultimately failing in the long term.
I found the padding of 'case studies' and testimonials completely unnecessary and an irritating waste of paper.
If the book had been half the thickness and much more flexible with the suggested sessions, then I would have given it 5 stars.
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on 12 November 2009
Using the plan outlined in the book which in my case was three runs per week with a couple of cycle rides. I have this year lowered my 10km race time from 51mins down to 47mins. Have had no injury problems. This book is ideal for someone who wants to mix running with another sport. Was wary of an American book promising wonder results with little training. But it really works. This is an excellent book and using it I am actually finishing in the top half in races up to half marathon distance. It also has clear diagrams for stretching excercise which I do. Most runners only do stretching after they have been injured and are struggling. The advise in this book goes against the old fashioned approach that you can only get faster or improve by running lots of miles. Mostly this means running 50miles plus a week. This training program uses shorter mileage. But makes sure that they are quality runs. You have three runs and two other sessions a week. You dont have to cycle this can be gym or tennis or swimming or similar. Happy to recommend this book. It really helps!
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on 12 July 2010
Quite simply a brilliant read and program - well ok, it's a little too early to say if it's worked, but it definitely feels like it is. Don't be misled though, it may drag you in with the promise of less output, in terms of mileage, but by God, you make up for it in terms of effort. This is not an easy 'out' for anyone looking for a way to increase pace for less running - it's a hard program and makes you work harder than ever - but it's enjoyable and most importantly you feel like you're training for a reason rather than just pounding the street.
Even though it's primary focus is qualifying for the Boston Marathon there are programs for absolute beginners (taking them to 5k distance) 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon racing. Something for everyone no matter what your current ability is.
Also, it's just a fine read in it's own right. Buy it. Read it. Do it.
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on 3 March 2010
This is one of the first books I've ever bought on running, and the main reason I wanted to have a read is simply because of the title "Run Less, Run Faster".

I've been running competitively in races for a long time, and though only at amateur level it's something I very much enjoy and am passionate about. I've never followed any set training routine as such, when I was part of my Uni running club I would train 3 times a week with varying distances. Once I added some circuit training into my routine and some 5 a side footy my overall fitness definitely saw a vast improvement.

My two years in a running club saw me clock all my pb's over 5k, 10k, 10mile and Half-marathon distances. What I didn't really think about at the time was the variation my body got in different excercises helped to reach a very high level of fitness. In hindsight, I've realised what a difference it makes to the body.

What I'm getting at is the fact that this book promotes the idea of only doing 3 "quality" runs a week (tempo, track, long run) and a clear instruction to always have at least one rest day between runs. The additional cross-training (rowing/cycling/swimming) is to give the body a decent cardio work-out but using different muscle groups so your body can recover sufficiently.

Having tried the training programme out myself (I'm 5 weeks into it), I have to say that it is a refreshing approach to training. I'm never doing the same work-out twice, whether it be a run or cross-training. I joined a gym specifically so I could carry out the suggested cross-training sessions, and given the choice of 5/6 different work-outs there is always a different challenge to look forward to.

Without going into any more detail about the book, I would highly recommend it to any serious runner who wants to achieve better times but has limited time to train. Since following the programme, I'm getting very close to reaching the fitness levels of my uni days and will be hoping to achieve some Pb's this year.

Just to expand on what I originally wrote, I wanted to say that I've achieved my first PB of the year over 10miles. This training is proving effective, and much more practical to fit in with the rigours of a full time job.
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on 16 November 2009
I am a runner who has completed two marathons, best time 4:22. My goal is to get a 3-something finishing time for a marathon. I found this guide useful in constructing my own training plan for next year's run. It lays out well an incremental program for all abilities, with a variety of exercises, stretches, and strength trainings. It also gives a nice idea of how long & how fast to run each week when training depending on wanted finish time, the part I needed guidance on the most.
However there are a couple of down points about this book. Firstly, living in Finland, we only use kilometers, not miles. The book is filled with relevant times for number of miles run, and also uses "increase your speed by x seconds per mile". So this required some conversion. Also there are lots of letters in the book saying how great the book is. Whilst it's nice to see a few success stories, almost half the book is filled with these.

Still overall, it is a really useful training guide. Well thought out, and suited for all abilities. I would recommend this for anyone wanting to improve their marathon times.
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on 14 June 2010
This book will come in quite handy for runners who want to up their performance levels but who are wary of increasing mileage due to threat of injury. For those runners who don't want to run more than 3 times a week due to time constraints then it isn't ideal as the training programs here are a case of running 3 days and cross-training 2 days. It also contains a cut-down version of training drills, stretches and strengthening exercises to help to save time.

Personally I found it handy to have a table of training paces and equivalent race times to follow. One thing I did find annoying was the constant references to qualifying for the Boston Marathon, it does get annoying.

Overall, I'd say it is a handy guide for those who don't want to RUN more than 3 times a week but the training paces might be difficult for some to maintain when running on their own.
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on 18 September 2014
I read the reviews for this book and decided to buy it. It sat on my shelf for several years then I read it cover to cover, when taking my youngest to his swimming lessons. As a scientist and a runner I thought what the heck I'll give it a go so worked out my times for a half marathon training program as the Great North Run was coming up. Using a treadmill I followed the program religiously and then ran the half marathon. My PB dropped from 1:43 to 1:37 and I had run less miles than I would have usually have done. I should add I am in my late forties. Told my friends and they have had a similar experience. Just goes to show that there is something in this science lark after all.

If you are finding your training program is boring and you are not improving your times then get a copy of this book. It will need a bit of thought to work out times - I used a spread sheet - and during the sprint sessions you will feel that someone has taken all the air out of the room - but stick with it if you want to get faster it works - and you get less injuries - only wish I had found this years ago. Planning on trying a marathon soon.
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