Customer Reviews: Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary FIRST Training Program
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on March 25, 2012
I am a currently in the military, so I am not a novice runner. I trained, my way (running everyday) last year with little to no improvement. I wanted to try an actual program. Being the skeptical person I am, I read many reviews before finally going with this book, not to mention the title... I just gravitated toward it. I started out with the novice portion of the program knowing full and well I would not be able to run a 5K in a decent time (which would be under 30 minutes for me). I recently completed the novice training program and have improved my 2 mile run time by 3 minutes from where I was 12 weeks ago! The leaps and bounds I have improved in such a short period of time leaves me anxious to know where I will be a year from now. So, this being said, if you are a novice runner and have high hopes of running big, I strongly reccommend this book. They are really on to something with the FIRST training method!
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on August 28, 2015
It is a useful methodology, great for all amateurs who can only practice 3 times a week. There's a bit too much narrative, too little actual science, and the speed/training tables are really not user friendly (also, it is really really silly they don't offer it both in miles and kilometers).
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on July 14, 2014
I am 52 years old and started running at 46 years old. I have qualified for and ran the last 3 Boston marathons. I can certainly say I have benefited from MORE mileage run faster not less as this book posits. This book circumvents the age-old wisdom that says the best and fastest athletes in running will run a lot of miles per week at an economical pace. I run approximately 50 to 80 miles per week with an occasional 100 mile week. I prefer Matt Fitzgerald and Brad Hudson's book Run Faster. That said, this book may work for some, but for most who want to run their absolutely fastest even at a higher age they will want to include MORE not LESS to run faster. There is a reason for all those slow miles, teaching your muscles to run efficiently.
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on May 18, 2015
I'm following the marathon program now, it's tough but I can't wait to see the results! A LOT LESS STRESS to do just 3 running days instead of 5-6.
Perfect for any experience runner with decent weekly mileage (20+) wanting to get faster. I hope it will help me be faster for my second marathon.
Only warnings: Training programs are not that long, 12-16 weeks, so they build up and get intense immediately. It also heavily depends on pacing, so be prepared to micromanage your time while running and be married to a stop watch or GPS watch. If you don't like that, this isn't for you.
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on October 9, 2008
I'll start by saying most of the information in this book is available online for free. You can read about the theory and the success stories at various running websites and figure out the custom paces you will need to execute the plan on your own. I did exactly this and ran a successful marathon (3:45). I decided I wanted to ramp up the training for my next marathon and dropping the minimal ($10) on the book, helped. It reinforces the theory and gives you all the details and success stories to make you feel ready for the big day. The pace charts, tips and personal stories are all worth going back to, which makes this a book worth having.

Running three days a week is all a lot of people can squeeze in. This program truly minimizes burnout and leaves you recovered for each run. Each run is specific and relatively HARD compared to other training plans, but - as the book explains - each run has a purpose. This helps you mentally as you set out on each run. You know it's an important part of the program, not "just mileage". Don't get me wrong, I'm 3 weeks out from the NYC Marathon and I am VERY ready to be done, but I think it would be much worse if I had 4+ runs a week. That wouldn't work for my lifestyle.

SUMMARY: The program works and provides great training programs (You need to be strict with the cross-training). The book is a good reference tool to have handy to build your program and refer back to for information and motivation.

UPDATE: After three marathons (and several half marathons) in 13 months, I can safely say the FIRST method works. The NYC Marathon was a much different race with all the waiting before the race and the hills at the end so my time wasn't as good as the 3:45 I mentioned in my original review but I was passing A LOT of people in Central Park at the end. I was definitely prepared. Since then, I've run a 3:40:31 in Vermont. I ramped up the cross training for this one, but FIRST was the running program. As long as I keep dropping my times, I won't feel the need to switch to more miles or days per week.
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on January 6, 2014
Years ago I realized I can't run everyday like I once did. However, I was stubborn and would try only to end up too injured to run after a few months. My stubborn Achilles' tendonitis would stop me. Then I found the FIRST program outlined in this book. It works very well and allowed me to continue running with minimal effects of the tendonitis that would slow me every year. I was skeptical at first, but if you follow the program, it's an effective way to train.
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on March 29, 2011
Great book but a fair warning...via the Kindle version, you will not be able to zoom in close on the charts, an integral part of the book. This poses a major problem. I had to request a credit and then repurchase a hard copy.
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on February 28, 2013
NOTE: This is a review of the first edition only.

I ran cross country and track in high school, then stopped running for almost 20 years. In June 2012, I woke up one morning, looked at myself in the mirror and realized I wasn't happy with the way I looked. I was about 15 pounds overweight and generally felt less energetic than ever before.

I decided to change things immediately. I started running again and started being a little more careful with what I was eating.

After five weeks of 5K training using this book, I ran my first 5K to test out where I stood. It was a 25:33, so I upped my paces for the various training runs listed in the book using that benchmark. Here's what happened in subsequent 5Ks:

August 4th - 25:33 (first 5K - mentioned above)
September 1st - 23:05
October 7th - 22:31
November 22nd - 21:11

After each race (spaced out every month or so), I upped my training paces based on my new 5K time. I'll admit that I was pretty religious about my training, which you really need to be to make this work for you. I was only running three days a week, and I was swimming once or twice a week or stationary biking once or twice week (I never exceeded five workouts in a week). After the Thanksgiving race, I switched to the 10K training plan for six weeks, then was going to move the half-marathon training plan for six weeks, but caught the flu in January. Even though that knocked me out for a little while, I still managed to run a 1:47:48 (8:14/mile pace) half a couple of weeks ago.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who is willing to put in the effort to actually do three days of running AND two days of cross training (FYI - weight training doesn't count). I think the swimming is what really helped me improve as quickly as I did, so if you can incorporate that as part of your cross training, then you should see the results you want.

One other thing that happened is that I've lost close to 23 pounds since I started, and am now UNDER where I should be for my height.
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on October 26, 2009 happened! I followed this book to the letter and am so glad I did! This was my third marathon, and all three have been on the same course, same time of year. I shattered my time from last year by 50 minutes and set a new PR 26 minutes faster than my old PR - when I ran my first marathon 10 years ago.
What I loved about this book is the science and pragmatic approach to applying the science; there was no guess work. Follow the 3+2 workout method (I did 3+3, adding 1 weekly yoga session from the P90X collection), do the easy days easy and the hard days hard - and REST. There's no question that you log fewer miles, but all are high quality and the results speak for themselves!
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on May 20, 2016
A little background on myself: I am an older (will turn 60 this year) recreational runner who enjoys running and competing in the occasion race to help motivate me to maintain my running habit. I bought "Run Less, Run Faster" about eighteen months ago as I bemoaned the fact that I was getting progressively slower in my races as well as my training runs. I have used the training schedules to train for in succession, a 5K, a 10K, and my first half-marathon. It is helpful to have some idea of your current fitness level before choosing your particular training schedule.

The program recommends 3 training runs a week along with 2 other non-running workouts(cycling, swimming, rowing, etc.) My typical training week consisted of the three specified runs along with a 40 - 50 minute moderate effort on a stationary bike. There were many weeks where I only completed the three running workouts. There are also recommendations regarding stretching and flexibility exercises that I did not perform. For each race I arrived at the starting line strong, injury free, and confident in my ability to achieve my goal pace. Based on age adjusted factors my 5K and 10K race times were my fastest since I've been keeping track of my race times. My half-marathon time (goal under 2:00) was just under 2:00 even though race conditions were not conducive to great times or PRs(warm, very humid).

I would highly recommend this book for recreational runners especially older runners. Staying injury free while running/training is sometimes quite a balancing act. I have been almost pain/injury free for the entire time I have been training since using this book. I believe my running form has improved since I've used this program and the speed/interval workouts have allowed me to utilize fast twitch muscle fibers that I never realized that I had. I would estimate that utilizing this program as designed would allow the recreational runner to get to 95 - 99% of his/her optimal running fitness level. Another benefit of this program is that it teaches you a great sense of pacing as each workout is designed to be performed at a
specific designated pace.

As other reviewers have mentioned there is a lot of repetitive success story narratives and the Boston training schedules are beyond my abilities as a runner; however, I am thrilled that I found this book as it has contributed greatly to my enjoyment of my running/racing and I will not hesitate to use the training schedules in the future when attempting to achieve my optimal running performance.

After posting this review realized that I should have posted this in the reviews for the revised version.
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