Hello and thanks for stopping by! My name is Angela. I am a scientist, wife, cat-mom, and fitness enthusiast. This page is my personal blog, and you will find a range of topics, centered around healthy living. Why “The Chicken Scoop”?  Well, when I started this blog, we had just gotten a small flock of chickens and the name just stuck!  I hope you enjoy your visit!

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FitFluential Is Fitness Found


Run Less, Run Faster: Book Review & Marathon Training Plan

RunLessRunFasterThis was one of those perfect timing things.  I was hunting online for a marathon training plan that simply had less running.  That seems counterintuitive but just running 5 days a week would drive me nutso.  Basically, I wanted a plan that had these things:

  • Less running days
  • More cross training
  • An emphasis on strength training
  • More structured runs (not just run # of miles)

First, I found this website on FIRST, the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training.  I liked what I saw, but I had never heard of this place before so I was still wary until I found this article on Runner’s World all about their marathon training program!  I don’t think Runner’s World would print something that would hurt me, so I added the training plan from the article to my calendar and got excited… And then scared.  10 miles at the first week?!  Then I realized that they just released (April 2012) a new edition of their book, Run Less, Run Faster.  A few days later, I was at the book store buying a copy (and a copy of In Defense of Food, did you enter the giveaway yet?)

It took me 2 days to read the entire book.  I skipped the chapters on strength training, ultramarathons, triathlons, and nutrition (since I just read the Paleo Diet for Athletes).  Also, it has training plans from 5K to marathon!  So you see already that this book is quite complete in the world of training.  But before I jump into it let me give you the basics.

  • The basic premise is run 3 days, cross train 2.
  • They demand strongly encourage you to strength train 2 to 3 days a week.
  • The running days are intense and highly structured down to what pace you should be running for each and every run based on your previous race time.
  • Did I mentioned it is intense?
  • You train just as much as a traditional 5-runs-a-week plan since you are cross training on off days.
  • They have many marathon training plans including Novice, General, and Boston Marathon Qualifying Plans for every age and gender group.
  • This book is about speed work and setting PRs for experienced runners but the Novice plan is doable for intermediate runners (like me!).

So despite being a Running Imposter, I feel that I am experienced enough for their Novice plan.  I have run enough distance races to know my limits and how I handle things and what works for me.  Besides, I already checked my pace for the long runs and its about what I expected to run them at too!  Here is a basic training schedule that you can expect on this plan (or you can check the RW article to see a freebie one):


They recommend you do the strength training on whatever day works for you.  Also, I want to note that this plan is not low on mileage.  They drop 2 days of running but those miles are incorporated into the 3 days of running.  I added up weekly mileage, and this plan is on par or higher than my other plans so its not going to be easy.

This plan basically has everything I was looking for as I mentioned above.  It is going to take a lot of planning.  Its not one of those plans where I can just say “ok, 5 miles today!” and head out the door.  I have to know pace, distance, intervals, etc.  Luckily, I discovered on Garmin that I can make workouts!!!  Why didn’t anyone tell me?!  I played around and plugged in the very first workout for this training plan:


So my Garmin would beep at me to tell me when to walk/run and if I needed to speed up or slow down.  Now, I don’t know if you heard the sad news but my Garmin died yesterday (I can’t decide if its upset for being used as an Insanity Heart Rate Monitor, if its terrified of this training plan, or if it committed suicide after my blog yesterday about being a running imposter!)  So I need a new or fixed Garmin by July 3rd (first day of this training plan) or I am in trouble!  (My birthday is in June and that fancy schmancy Garmin 610 is rather nice!!!Smile)  But without my Garmin, doing this training would be tough since I suck at pace when I do intervals (distance runs, I’m ok with it).

The book answers a lot of questions about the plan too that you might have.  It is very thorough and easy to read.  It is also highly encouraging.  They tell you how to deal if you miss a day (or a week) of training and how to recover from a race.  They also give you tips on running year-round.  Its just got tons of good information in it.  They also have lots of letters to the trainers from people who have done the program (of course all positive!) which make you excited to use the plan. 

Well, this blog is getting long and I think I’ve told you everything I could about this training plan. Oh and the Runner’s World plan is different from both plans in the book if you were wondering (why buy the book when the article gives me the plan?).  So anyway, if you have more questions, let me know!!

8 comments to Run Less, Run Faster: Book Review & Marathon Training Plan

  • Tiffany

    Sounds awesome! Good luck with the Garmin…

  • Sounds like a challenging training plan but with all the different workouts it should keep you entertained! Good luck! And you know I’m always available as a workout buddy when you’re in south Jersey…

    • Definitely!!! As soon as I am done with Insanity, I am going to start running 3 days a week using a toned down version of this plan (official plan starts July 3rd – 16 weeks from race day). That means long runs on Saturday mornings! As soon as I decide on the training plan and fill in all my workouts, I will share my Google Calendar with you and we will make some plans!! I miss my running buddy!

  • kristen @ livinlifeinlouie

    i didn’t know you could do that w/ your garmin! You will have to let me in on how you did. That is so much easier than constantly looking at my watch!

  • Great review! I just got RLRF for Christmas and am debating using the novice marathon plan to train for my first marathon this year. It seems super intense though–do you think it’s doable for a first marathon? Also thanks for the garmin tip! I had no idea I could create a workout on garmin connect! Awesome!

    • Well, I’m no expert on marathon training (only did one and did it poorly due to injury) but I think if you’ve been running for a while now, that you should at least give it a shot! Most other novice marathon plans have tons and tons of mileage which is just as tough on your body. RLRF has less mileage but harder runs, of course. I personally like rest days so I prefer the 3 day a week training! If you want something to compare it to, check out Hal Higdon’s website (halhigdon.com). He is about the mileage rather than the intensity. Good luck with your first marathon! How one are you doing??

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