Welcome to 30 Minute Runner 2.0. Let’s Do This – 30 Minute Runner

Learn the Best Way to Run on 30 Minutes Per Day

Welcome to 30 Minute Runner 2.0. 

As chronicled in the last few posts of the series, 30 Minute Runner 1.0 was a pretty big failure.  My original goal was to see how fast I could run a 5k with only 30 minutes of running per day.  My plan was to do easy 30 minute runs 3-4 times per week and run the 10-20-30 workout 1-2 times per week.

The hope was that the 30 minute easy runs would build my aerobic capacity, while the 10-20-30 workouts would help improve my VO2Max.  I thought it was the most efficient way to improve my running.

Well, it may have been efficient, but it was horribly misguided.  I ended up with knee tendonitis after running the intense 10-20-30 workouts when my body was not ready for them.

The Plan for 30 Minute Runner 2.0

Instead of jumping into intense workouts without a proper base, 30 Minute Runner 2.0 will be based on tried and true training principles. I will still plan to stick to 30 minutes per day of running – except for some long runs and speed workouts – but the plan will be very different.

My go-to guide for designing my plan is Run Faster From The 5k to The Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald. As I mentioned in my prior post, this is an outstanding book that simplifies complex training principles.

The foundation for the book is the idea of three training periods of training: Introductory, Fundamental, and Sharpening.

  • Introductory: 3-4 week period in which a runner gradually increases mileage through daily easy runs and one long run per week to build an aerobic base.  This period  may include some light threshold training (sustained runs at close to race pace). Any speed workouts during this period are shorter in duration (i.e. 4 X 30 second fartlek workout). This period also includes a 8-second hill sprints in order to increase hip and lower leg strength to prevent injury.
  • Fundamental: 5-7 week period in which a runner’s training because more specific for his or her race.  There is a focus on more race pace workouts for a longer periods of time (i.e. 7 X 600m at 5k race pace).  Hill training is included in this period, but they are “repetitions,” not “sprints.”  The hill repetitions are a good way to combine strength training with speed work.  Threshold runs are longer and more sustained.
  • Sharpening: 4-6 week period which is designed to peak a runner for his or her goal race.  The workouts are designed to simulate your specific goal race as close as possible (i.e. 5 X 1000m at 5k goal pace with one minute rest).  All workouts are tailored for the exact race – you don’t run 400 meter repeats if you are training for a marathon.

By focusing on three different periods with different types of workouts, I stand a much better chance of maximizing the development of all of my body’s running systems.  This is much more comprehensive than just running 10-20-30 workouts every week.

How to Fit All This Into 30 Minutes Per Day

As you can tell, my new plan is more complicated than running easy 30 minutes per day with a few 10-20-30 workouts thrown in now and then.  The 30 Minute Runner 2.0 plan is a bit different and includes the following weekly pattern: (1) 3-4 days of 30 minute runs, (2) 1 long run, (3) 1-2 workouts (i.e. threshold runs, speed workouts, etc.).

This is going to take more effort than the original plan, but is also a much better way to train and will hopefully will be much more fulfilling.

With that said, I will have to break the “30 Minute” Runner rule at least 2-3 days per week:

  • Long Runs: The original 30 Minute Runner plan included no long runs.  In order to maximize my training, I am going to make a real effort to introduce long runs into my training.  Long runs are really important in developing endurance and aerobic conditioning. Although my busy schedule leaves me no time for long runs during the week, I am going to try to run long on either Saturday or Sunday.
  • Speed Workouts: Depending on the workout, I may have to run longer than 30 minutes.  Due to my busy schedule, this is going to be tough.  One option is to combine the long run day with a threshold workout (i.e. run the last 20 minutes of the long run at threshold pace). We’ll have to see if I can make it work.

However, before launching into 30 Minute Runner 2.0, I am focused on getting my hips and lower body muscles stronger to treat and prevent knee pain. I’m diligently following the RunnersConnect strength training program, including the Bia hip routine, and strength program for runner’s knee. I’ve been super happy with the exercises and already feel stronger and more stable in my lower body.

Follow My Progress

I have appreciated all of the support I’ve gotten from runners who are interested in a training plan that can work for busy people.

I’m sorry that my first attempt was unsuccessful, but I hope you understand that I’m not holding anything back – this blog contains my real experiences in trying to run fast with a family and full time job.

Please contact me with any helpful tips and advice. It is always great to hear from readers.

Let’s see if this works!

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  1. Casey, Thank you for the update as I have been wondering how your training has been going. In reading your recent update, I also had similar dilemma of time as I was training for a 5K; I had about 45 minutes to work with on a daily basis and ended up getting up earlier in the mornings (4am) to do my workouts and had to be in bed, the latest, by 9:30pm, as I generally get by on 6 1/2 to 8 hours sleep. You mentioned developing ‘runners knee’ whereas I had the tightening of the outside of the ‘calves’ and the peroneals and did the massages myself which I learned after several years of getting deep massages – I purchased my own deep tissue massage ‘items’ which was very helpful. I ran in a 5K over the weekend and bettered my previous time of 22:18 by running 21:29 (6:55/mile pace) which was exciting. Perhaps, or consider, getting a massage if a similar challenge develops in the future…just a thought. Ron.

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