Running has always been one of my passions. It’s embedded in my DNA. My dad is a 7-time Ironman triathlete. My mom has been running every morning for over 30 years, through rain, sleet, and snow. My older sisters and brother all ran cross country and track in high school. I was a state champion cross country runner in high school and I ran for a year in college as well. My whole life I’ve had people ask me: “Why do you run for… fun??”  It’s always been such a funny question to me, because it’s always been so natural. There are few things better than that runner’s high and knowing you pushed your body beyond its limits to accomplish a goal.

Last November, I was honored to sign an official partnership with my family’s number one running brand: Saucony. I’ve been running in Saucony since high school, and my parents refuse to run in anything else. It truly is a Tripp family brand, so I was very excited to become an official member of the Saucony team and share with you all why their shoes are far and above the best shoe in the running world. After all, it is purely a runner’s brand that specializes only in making running shoes for runners, nothing else.

 

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This weekend I completed my first race sponsored by Saucony and couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. I competed in the half marathon at the Sprouts Mesa-Phoenix Marathon here in my new home state of Arizona and finished with a time of 1:35.06! I am so thrilled with my time and proud of what I accomplished, especially considering my new training method going into this race.

My dad introduced me to “minimal training” not too long ago. It’s pretty self-explanatory: Rather than logging lots of miles and hours in your training, you train minimally. You only run three times a week and then pepper in some cross training that keeps you active but doesn’t require you to pound the pavement 5-6 days a week. At first I thought it was just a Tripp thing (relying more on natural ability and being too busy to train a lot), but after my success at the Phoenix half marathon this weekend, I realized there must be something to it.

After my race, I did a little more research and found this great article in Runner’s World called The-Less-Is-More Marathon Plan. I realized that minimal training is indeed a real philosophy among runners, and it’s possible to run less and run fast. To put in perspective how well minimal training worked for me, here’s the truth about my training leading up to the Phoenix half marathon:

– I started training at the beginning of January for my half marathon on Feb. 9. This allowed me just a little over a month to get ready to race 13.1 miles. I hadn’t been running super consistently up to that point, and I hadn’t raced a half marathon since 2015.

– In the five weeks before my race, I never ran more than three days a week, and sometimes only twice.

– In my training, I never ran more than six miles at a time. My long run was only 5.5 miles.

– In the week before the race, I felt some familiar old plantar fasciitis pain in my heel, so I decided to take the full week of so I could be as close to 100% for the race and hopefully not do any further damage. I put my feet in an ice bucket every night, applied Biofreeze gel on my heel before bed, and tried to stay off it as much as possible. From Monday to Saturday (the day of the race), I didn’t train at all. With that rest week deducted, that meant I really only trained for four weeks.

Maybe now you can see why I am so thrilled with my time of 1:35. As I sit here writing this, barely able to get out of a chair, my hamstrings tight as a guitar string, it was so worth it. I may have staggered across the finish line completely spent, but it felt amazing to know that I had listened to my body, trusted in my abilities, and finished with a great time after training so minimally.

Minimal training worked for me and here’s my quick tips on how it can work for you as well:

MAKE YOUR RUNS COUNT
When I go out for a run, it’s never to enjoy the weather or casually break a sweat for the day. Running is supposed to be a fun challenge, especially if you’re training for a race with a goal time in mind. Get out there and push yourself! If you’re doing minimal training, you’ve got to make it count when you hit the road. Run at your goal pace for your upcoming race, and try to maintain it throughout your run. Running at your goal pace and knowing you can keep it up will give you so much confidence come race day. Since you’re only running three days a week, you’ve got plenty of time to rest and recoup from these runs. Visualize you’re in the race and keep the foot on the gas for the duration of your run.

MIX IT UP
Minimal training only works if you’re doing other activities to keep your fitness up. If you’re relying solely on your three running days to get you through the race, you’re going to be in a lot of pain and your finish time is likely going to be a big disappointment. This training method is all about getting in shape and staying in shape, and doing it in a variety of ways. On the days where I wasn’t running, I was usually playing basketball. I was playing full court 5v5 for at least two hours every time I went to go hoop, and that’s why I wasn’t worried about my fitness on race day. I knew I had been putting in the work, even when I was doing an entirely different sport, using entirely different muscles. Whatever it is you do, just make sure you’re training hard, getting your heart rate up and keeping it up.

GET YOUR GEAR ON POINT
When it comes to running, there are few things more important than what you’re wearing on your feet. If you’re training in a bad shoe, you’re asking for discomfort and even worse, injury. Saucony makes the best running shoe in the game because they’ve been making running shoes since 1898. Yes, you read that right. Saucony has never dabbled in any other sport, in any other category, they’ve always remained true to what they do best: making the world’s best running shoe. I’ve run in the Saucony Kinvara since high school, and I refuse to wear any other shoe. It’s the lightest, most comfortable running shoe with a minimal feel for the competitive runner. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who is serious or wants to get serious about running. Saucony just released 10th anniversary edition of the shoe: the Kinvara 10. It’s safe to say they’ve perfected the design of the minimalist running shoe. As for those who are more casual runners and are just looking for a really cushiony shoe that feels like running on a cloud, I recommend the Saucony Ride. There’s a reason why they’re such a respected brand in the running community.

 

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GUT IT OUT
Let’s be honest: if you’re training minimally, you’ve got to be prepared to push through the pain on race day. What you lacked in training mileage, you’re going to have to make up for in guts. Since you’re going to be running further than you have in your training, you’re naturally going to feel it in the second half of your race. It may not be pleasant, but it will be worth it when you cross the finish line and hit that goal time. Be confident in your minimal preparation and know that when you start to feel yourself hitting that wall, you brought enough chutzpah on race day to compensate.

At the end of the day, there is no substitute for hard work. But if you’re looking to try something new or feel like your schedule doesn’t allow much time for training, minimal training can be a great way to get results in less time. It will require some self-sacrifice come race day, but if you’re ready to break through the wall and take on the challenge, you can accomplish your goal. Now get out there and hit the road!

Thanks to Saucony for sponsoring this blog post!

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