I have plans. Big plans. My two big running goals for 2015 are to finally break 1:45 for the half and to run a marathon. Up until now I didn’t have a formal training plan. I more or less winged it. I read a fair bit about different training philosophies, the purpose of different types of runs, and various training plans. Runners tend to fall into one of two categories – lots of long slow distance runs (many if not most runners I’ve met fall into this camp) and run less, but run harder (a la Run Less, Run Faster). I fall into the latter. While most training plans recommend that speed work should only be a small portion of one’s training, it’s the bulk of mine when I’m not specifically targeting for a race. When training for a half marathon, I’m more focused about doing speed work, tempo, and longer distance runs each week. I’ve been making progress and getting faster, so I was perfectly content with my lack of explicit structure.
While I am fully confident in my ability to train myself for a half marathon, I’m not as sure if I should continue this way for marathon training or if I should actually buckle down and try to follow a plan. I’m pretty good about following a plan for about a month, but after that I stop (for various reasons). The best training plan is the one that you actually follow, which is the reason why I haven’t bothered in getting a running coach or bothering to buy one of the many training plans out there (except for the Run Less, Run Faster which I bought only when I was reading to learn more about it). It’s money wasted when I know I’ll stop following it after a short period of time.
Still I wanted to know what was out there. At the very least I was going to cherry pick the best parts of what I liked about different training plans and philosophies to cobble together my own marathon training plan. My ideal training plan is quite simple – to run as little as possible while getting as fast as possible. Specifically I was looking for a plan that required me to run no more than four days a week, preferably three, consisted mainly of quality runs and little to no easy runs of any kind (short or long). Run Less, Run Faster falls into my line of thinking, but even RLRF had more miles than I actually wanted to run. Serendipitously I found MyASICS – a free training program developed by Asics, which fit just about every requirement I wanted for a training program. In order to see if it works and if I like it, I’m testing this out for my spring half marathon, The Love Run in Philly. If it goes well, I’ll use it for my fall marathon training. Otherwise, I’ll improvise as usual.
MyASICS Training Program Review
The program is very customize-able. You decide if you want to run 2, 3, or 4 times week and how hard you want the pace to be (mild, average, hard). Based upon your current level of fitness (based on a race time that you give), the distance of the race, and how much time there is to train, Asics will develop a training plan for you and give you a prediction of how well they think you’ll do. You can move around the training runs to different days (individually or in bulk so that your long runs fall on a particular day). If you run your hard training runs faster than the recommended pace that My Asics gives for two weeks, then it’ll ask if you want to readjust your plan to have you train harder. The converse is also true.
I like that MyASICS gives you a range of paces for most of the training runs. Depending on weather, stress, course, and other things, the same pace can feel quite different psychologically. An 8:30 for me can be easy or grueling. Having a range allows me to meet my training requirements without being too stressed or psyched out if I don’t quite hit the target pace.
MyASICS has both a website and an app (IPhone and Android). This is fantastic because I can easily look up the distance and the pace right on my phone before I head out. The website and app are synced with each other. Both the website and app are easy to use. When you log in a run, you can track all kinds of info, such as weather, mood, appetite, shoes you used for that run, etc. The website is very well-designed. It’s simple and clean. You can track a lot of info, but you don’t need to. Data about the runs are presented in a clear and comprehensible manner. It’s just a joy to use, especially in comparison to GarminConnect, which is a little clunky.
The app comes with a GPS tracker, like RunKeeper and MapMyRun. If you use the GPS tracker, it automatically logs your run. If you don’t use it, you can log your run manually. The GPS tracker is about as accurate as any other app. I’ve used it a few times and found that it tends to be a little short on distance when the course is windy. It matched my Garmin exactly when I was running a dead straight back-and-out course. You can connect RunKeeper to MyAsics.
I really like most of the planned runs that MyASICS has laid out. MyASICS focuses on lots of tempo runs and longer runs that aren’t too slow, and steady state runs just before the race. There are runners out there who think that this is a terrible plan because they feel that it’s too few mileage and not enough long slow distance. If you feel this way, this plan isn’t for you. This plan is very much in line with how I like to train. If you’re looking for a training plan that has you running faster without running a lot of miles, this is a good one for you to look at.
MyASICS is 100% free. You can’t beat that price.
No speed work whatsoever. I think speed work is necessary and it’s a mistake to not have it all. What I’m going to do is swap out the few easy runs that MyASICS has and do speed work instead.
Garmin is not connected to MyASICS. Too bad considering that so many of us runners are on GarminConnect.
Information about each individual run could be combined into a single page rather than being distributed across a couple different pages. Details of the run (e.g., weather) are on one page, while the map of the route is on another page that you get to on a different tab and clicking on a couple links. It’s the only thing on MyASICS that I feel could have been better designed and a little clunky.
I’m incredibly excited about using MyASICS to do half marathon training. For the next three months I’ll be providing updates and thoughts about this training process.
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Good Luck! I would definitely agree that “winging it” is fine for a half, but for a full you really need more of a plan (and LOTS of long slow runs).
I’m eager for (and a bit scared of) marathon training this summer. I’m just hoping that the summer won’t be too brutal.
Sweet! I have no doubt that you are going to do great with this. And I totally agree with you…I’m really hesitant to not include a speed workout in my training plans. My current plan for my marathon doesn’t include it and I plan on keeping my Tuesday workouts as speed workouts. I am so excited to follow your training!
Thanks, Salt. I’m also eagerly following you along your training. Here’s a wonderful (PR-filled) 2015 racing season.
Wow, this is awesome. I have been reevaluating my training plan for the spring and may take a look at this. While I usually follow a plan, I tend to tweak it to how I want it. Thanks for the info!
You’re welcome. I hope it works for you. I’ve been making some small adjustments to the plan and it’s been going well so far.
Very cool. I like how customizable this is. Odd that there’s no speed work option. I get that it’s not for everyone, but they should at least have a few fartleks in there. Happy training! I hope 2015 is your year!
I’m looking forward to following your training to that eventual sub-1:45 🙂
I was a huge advocate of RLRF for the first part of this year and pretty much the entirety of 2013. I even used it to BQ at Baltimore last fall. While I’ve drifted away from it, in favor of the near opposite (Hansons Marathon Method), I still think it’s a good philosphy if you do it right.
Thanks! I think RLRF is great for certain runners and it fits really well with my philosophy of how I like to train. I haven’t actually tried it out myself yet because I’m a little too lazy, but I think one day I will train for a race with it.
I like that it is customizable. I’ve only ever completed Nike schedules through the Nike+ app. I’m going to have to check it out for my next race!
I really appreciate MyAsics flexibility. Right now there’s a lot of chaos because of travel and home renovation, so I need the ability to move runs around.
Hi there, I’ve started using My Asics training plan several weeks ago and so far it was OK. But now I am trying to understand if it is good enough to stick to it ot I’d better look for a better one. That’s how I found your reveiw – very good and useful!
I like same features you liked – flexibility, very clear design, possibility to run only 3 times a week – to squeeze in some other training activities (bike, weights). Buit there are couple of things that I question. First is lack of interactive feedback: no matter how good or bad your last runs were, the plan does not adjust itself. Do you miss it too?
Another issue is weird run pace it suggests for some runs. For example, it proposes to jog at 8 min per kilometer (about 12-13 min a mile). Even for a slow runner like me it is physically impossible to run that slow. Did you notice this?
What is your impression about the training plan after several months of using?
Hey! The plan does adjust but it does so after two weeks and only based on the hard runs . So if you consistently run the tempo runs too fast or too slow, it’ll adjust accordingly. The slow runs you’re supposed to run slowly because it’s building up your aerobic capacity.
That said, I never completed the plan. I had to stop because between work, wedding planning, moving, and home renovation I had no time to train. I liked the plan, but I missed speed work. I decided not to use it for marathon training because I felt they were asking too much too fast in terms of the longer runs being done at a faster pace. In NY’s heat and humidity, I wasn’t going to make it.
Thank you for your answer! I just got today an email from MyAsics with suggestion to adjust my training plan as my last runs were faster than planned. And I won’t adjust it of course. For two reasons: 1. I also felt they were asking too much too fast too soon… Long pace runs are a bit demanding. I can do it, but it is a bit hard – well, I actually chose a hard option. 2. I found a review where a runner was quite happy with the plan, improving his marahon time from 3:30 to 3:15, but his friend was not successful. Probably due to adjusting the plan to a faster direction. The runner warns not to adjust, as initial assessment made by the software is probably the best.
By the way, I also use a Garmin watch to record my runs and found a way to get it automatically sync’ed with My Asics. I use https://tapiriik.com/ to sync my Garmin Connect account with RunKeeper, and then link My Asics to my RunKeeper account.
Nice. Thanks for the info.
I don’t think I’m a fan of this plan. I have been running casually for about 16 years, completed one marathon and many halves, but would still consider myself only an intermediate runner (life is busy!). I’m getting ready for a marathon in October and was super stoked when I found out about this app. I had already started building a training plan of my own, and decided to compare to see how the two stacked up.
I’d say the ASICS plan certainly has a lot more short runs, even later in the season than I expected. Not that it’s bad, but a bit unusual IMO. My main issue is how it tackles the long slow runs (LSR). It basically has me doing 7.5 mi, 10 mi, 7.5 mi, 12.5 mi, 15 mi, 7.5 mi, 17.5 mi, 7.5, 20. I’m totally down with the concept of alternating weeks, but I’m really concerned about the speed in which mileage jumps. That and the lack of cross-training/sprints has me looking for Hal Higdon plans, which I’ve heard are very good.
As a techie I love apps and customize-able data, but at the end of the day my priority is a good run, and a good race. I think I’ll be skipping this plan.
Before we start, I didn’t use the app, I used the website and I printed off the run calendar and taped it to my wall; this review is about the nature of the plan. I’ve spent the last 11 months using this plan and ran my first Marathon two days ago and completed it 3 minutes faster than it predicted at 04:07:21. I was a running novice, one step above couch, and I think this plan is good for people looking to add running into their life. I worried about the lack of tempo and speed runs, now I don’t. Most other marathon plans are set at 18 weeks, but with this plan you can lay out an entire year of gradual build up. At first it required me to run mind numbingly slow (13:00) for a month, but it gradually increased pace slowly, as did the distance. I’ve been injury free, rarely sore, and I attribute it to the slow and steady nature of this program. If you want big gains in a short amount of time this wouldn’t be the right program, but if you want to add running to your life and slowly work towards a goal I recommend it. I’m currently using myasics to plan out my next marathon in 6 months and hope to see 3:45:00.
Cool! I’m glad that this worked out for you! Thanks for writing.