Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (F.I.R.S.T.) acolytes!

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Aug 2010
10:18am, 17 Aug 2010
10313 posts
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This thread is for those who are currently doing or want to do Furman type training, to share tips, advice and support (i.e. not to start a war with the Hadd, Lydiard or other training camps!)

Furman seems to be (caveat - I'm just getting into this, so may be completely wrong) based on a limited number of running sessions and a relatively large amount of cross train (specific and focussed, not just general recovery stuff).

I need to look at it because I have been specifically advised by physio, while I recover from injury, to only run max 4 times per week, but with as much cross train between as I like. I am allowed to race. I would like to start to improve my times again, obviously! So am looking for how I can train hard, but still obey the physio!

What it's not: There was a RW article (and book) based on Furman, called "Run Less, Run Faster". Lots of people have slated it! However, I'm not sure that they fully understood it! What it wasn't called was "Train Less, Run Faster"! The training can still be 6-7 days a week, it's just that it's not all running. So you still need to put the effort it. I am as wary as the next person of any scheme that promises something for nothing. Furman is not that. It is based on lower mileage and it does involve fewer days running than Hadd or Lydiard. I am NOT suggesting it is a short cut, or better than these other training schools. In fact, I had a very successful year last year, doing over 2,000 miles, 6-7 days running a week, with lots of long, slow stuff. I also happen to like running and would love to go out every day. But I can't, due to injury. I'm not saying the injury was caused by lots of miles either. It wasn't. I believe everyone can do long runs, high mileage, get training benefit and stay injury free. This isn't about that.

For ssome, 3-4 days running and 3-4 days of other non-running training would fit into their life better for whatever reason. There is also a strong relationship with Tri training, I believe. Triathletes can't/don't do 6-7 days running a week. They have bike and swim to fit in. And look at the speed of some of their running!

So... does anyone else do FIRST/Furman type training or any other school of 3-4 running sessions a week PLUS 3-4 (or more) other training session a week? And if so, what is your experience? What do that those runs look like? And what are the other training sessions?

I have just got the book through the door, will read and post what some of the principles and sessions look like. But in the mean time, if anyone else knows about it, please add. And if you are interested in knowing more about it, please pipe up! Cheers, :-)G

P.S. If you just want to diss Furman and go "Nah, nah, nah. Hadd is better." then please go do it elsewhere! Thanks!
Aug 2010
10:30am, 17 Aug 2010
6460 posts
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You don't half go to some lengths to explain yourself G!!

However, Hadd is better :P
Aug 2010
10:32am, 17 Aug 2010
10314 posts
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Verbal diarrhoea Boab! :-P to you (but not to Hadd, wouldn't dream of :-P to Hadd!) :-)G
Aug 2010
10:32am, 17 Aug 2010
10315 posts
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I'll pop in what I was thinking for my week:

Mon: Spin + core
Tue: Tempo
Wed: Mid long run - easy or MP
Thu: Weight training (e.g. bodypump or own session)
Fri: Intervals
Sat: Recovery - swim or just core
Sun: LSR

Obviously, all the usual running principles apply of getting the LSR up to distance (e.g. for marathon up to 20-22 miles) gradually, starting with e.g. 12 and building up 1 mile a week etc. Total distance to only increase 10% a week etc. I'm OK with all that. Also, cut back every 4 or 5 weeks, periodization etc.

I'm mostly interested to know if there are any ideas about what the non running days should be? Also, can you do doubles? e.g. run in morning or at lunch time, then do a bike/spin/gym session in the evening? :-)G
Aug 2010
10:36am, 17 Aug 2010
84 posts
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Karen S
I'm following this plan for my first marathon at the end of October. This is what it looks like although I've replaced some of the tempo and speed sessions with hill sessions. My cross training is yoga, indoor rowing and weights/core sessions. Have no real experience of other training plans but I chose it after searching on the intranet as it seemed compatable for me at the moment having a toddler to look after/work commimtments. My only objective is to get round in one piece and of enjoy it! Enjoying the training so far!!

Week Week Beginning

Speed Tempo Weekend Long
1 12 Jul 10 8x400 m 3 miles 10 miles
2 19 Jul 10 4x1200m 5 miles 12 miles
3 26 Jul 10 6x800m 7 miles 13 miles
4 2 Aug 10 3x1600m 3 miles 10 miles
5 9 Aug 10 10x400m 5 miles 14 miles
6 16 Aug 10 5x1200m 5 miles 15 miles
7 23 Aug 10 7x800m 8 miles 17 miles
8 30 Aug 10 3x1600m 10 miles 13 miles
9 6 Sep 10 12x400m 3 miles 18 miles
10 13 Sep 10 8x800m 5 miles 15 miles
11 20 Sep 10 4x1600m 8 miles 20 miles
12 27 Sep 10 12x400m 5 miles 15 miles
13 4 Oct 10 6x1200m 5 miles 20 miles
14 11 Oct 10 7x800m 4 miles 15 miles
15 18 Oct 10 3x1600m 8 miles 10 miles
16 25 Oct 10 30 min easy w 5x60s 20 min easy with 3 or 4 pick ups
Aug 2010
10:37am, 17 Aug 2010
8839 posts
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I used FIRST for FLM in 2009 - just because it suited my lifestyle and it was more convenient to swim and gym for the extra days. My daughter was quite a serious swimmer so I ended up training(!) a long way behind her twice a week with one day of gym (weights/cardio). I was pretty fit but my experience is that it didn't really get me quite fit enough to do a marathon in anything other than a "get you round" way. I suspect that it could do that given a long enough acclimitasation to it - but daughter is now at uni so those sessions hae now been replaced by more running (I'm almost doing the reverse of you :)G)

My view is that either system will work but the bottom line is that whichever you use the more sessions you CBA the less good will be your outcome
Aug 2010
10:38am, 17 Aug 2010
85 posts
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Karen S
Oops that doesn't come out very well when posted. Hope it makes sense, it did look ok before posting honestly!!
Aug 2010
10:40am, 17 Aug 2010
1324 posts
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Great job Happy - I will pop back and contribute something useful hopefully, but just now on a work deadline!
Briefly my schedule on Furman looked like:
Mon: REST!
Tues: intervals
Wed: cycle and/or rowing
Thurs: tempo
Friday: cycle
Saturday: easy 5 mile run (this was extra to the schedules)
Sunday: LSR

The other quick thing to note is that the book doesn't necessarily promise you *will* run faster races by running less. It's very cunning. The plan involves running less *and* running faster for all your sessions. See what they did there? :-p
Aug 2010
10:43am, 17 Aug 2010
3497 posts
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runner duck
i did furman for my first marathon, and in my opinion it's excellent.

it's def not an easy option but it does allow you to train without spending too many hours running but rather supplementing with cross training which is excellent for injury prevention/nursing.

the runs are hard as the paces they are run at are quite challenging, but that's where the training effect comes in, i think.

when it comes to doubling up i think it's 'allowed' but i would start by not and see how you find the set runs then add them in if you think you'll be comfortable.

for cross training i think it's best to go with non-impact stuff - i did quite a few sessions on the gym rower for a bit of an upper body endurance work out as well.

the run less run faster book is a good tool cos it lets you work out paces etc but it could be a quarter of the size - it's a tad padded out!

it's def my training method of choice :)
Aug 2010
10:44am, 17 Aug 2010
1050 posts
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Not heard about this...but I will look into it...

About This Thread

Maintained by Lalli
This thread is for those who are currently doing or want to do Furman type training, to share tips, log progress etc.

What is Furman? Simply, it's "Run 3 days, do non-running exercise for 2-3 other days". And that's it really!

Some links:
Furman home page: www2.furman.edu
Furman mara plan (you will need to copy and paste the link into your browser as this is a download document): www.wu.ece.ufl.edu/marathon%20training-first%20marathon.pdf
Runners World published version (another downloadable): www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/the...marathon-schedule/2493.html
Furman core/strength exercises: beginners.runnersworld.com
Furman cross training examples: www2.furman.edu

The book (other booksellers are available...! ) amazon.co.uk

http://www.fetcheveryone.com/blog-view.php?id=10866 - Link to lunaman's blog of his experiences of 2 marathons based on Furman. Really good read based on real-world.

My own (HappyG) marathon experience off back of 6 month's very-Furman training. Yes, it was a Peeb! http://www.fetcheveryone.com/blog-view.php?id=13263&y=2011&m=4#240604

And here's a nifty little pace calculator courtesy of lunaman: fellrnr.com

Upcoming target races...

March 2016
HappyG(rrr) - 20 March - Alloa Half

April 2016
GeologyRocks - 17 April - Brighton Marathon

FenlandRunner - 24 April - VMLM

Furman focus, will bring rewards.

(Pls let me (Lalli) know if you want to be added or removed from the side panel).
Good luck everyone!

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