At Smart Strength, we’re all about finding the minimum effective dose. Asking if the thing you’re doing is giving you back more than you are investing. This is the basis of anything we do with strength training at Smart Strength. It is also the foundation of our Race Preparation Guide.

Imagine our surprise when a reader named Earl reached out to share his half marathon & Tough Mudder success using a similar program. Here’s what he said:

I’m 52, 6’4” and 210lbs and have only been running for a few years.  Not ideal stats for running. I alternate a 3 way split to hit smaller muscles followed by a big 5 once weekly. My running alternates three runs once weekly.  A 60 min tempo run on a treadmill, a 60 min hill run on a treadmill and a 60 min run outside through a wooded, hilly area.  My treadmill runs are all out, while the outside run is done hard, but is more for coordination and agility.  I run half marathons in approximately 2 hours which is good for me, especially with the minimal training I do compared to my running partners I race with. …

My sister is five years younger than me and takes the whole running thing much more seriously than I do. But I can keep up with her…which irritates her to no end.  She doesn’t believe I run only once a week.

Getting the Big Wins

This is a GREAT example of applying specific intensity and using race feedback to determine race pace. Earl is also a real human being with real responsibilities like family, work, and volunteer opportunities. These are the things he would rather be doing.

Further, he strength trains in a manner similar to how we train at Smart Strength. This supports his running efforts through injury resistance and max speed endurance. Smart stuff!

We like to say that if something isn’t paying you or earning you a potential gold medal, you need to take a hard look at how much time you’re devoting to it. Too many runners believe they need to always be putting up big miles to get faster. Earl is just one example of why this isn’t the case.