I fell across MyAsics after seeing a tweet from a lady who used it to complete her first 10k. Unlike all the other plans on the internet, these are interactive and adaptive. My review is based on my experience of using a plan to knock 10 mins off my 10k time. I chose to do this over 5 months as a way to keep my fitness up over autumn and winter.
The training methodology is based on 3 principles – structuring runs by distance and pace, building your capacity and gradually increasing your aerobic threshold and focusing on realistic goals with performance predictions.These predictions can even change as you progress through the training plan.
Before you get a plan, you are asked a series of questions about your age, gender, weight, training goals and current abilities. You get to chose the end date and so your programme can last as long as you want. You can set the number of runs per week and then have the freedom to move these around as suits or when life gets in the way of running.
Each plan uses 6 different phases:
- Pre-conditioning – Using lower paces to prepare your body for training. For me, this meant running at what felt like ridiculously slow paces but really its ‘Time on Your Feet’. It was actually nice to run without any pressure at all on my body and was as much mental training as physical. I overcame motivation issues and boredom until these runs became meditative. I even wrote poetry!
- Balanced training -This combined slow runs over longer distances/aster runs over shorter distances. This phase meant that running 10k became something I could do routinely although at a slow pace to condition my legs.During this phase, the regular running of 8 and 10k 3 or 4 times per week resulted in some weight loss.
- Getting faster – Using interval and tempo runs over shorter distances to build pace – this was when I fondly looked back at the pre-conditioning phase. I found this part of the plan very, very useful. It can be hard to know how far and fast to run your tempo runs and this plan told me exactly. Always challenging, never easy but always just the right pace that I did not have to give up. The intervals were long, 1 km each with recovery being a slower run or jog but no walking. This phase achieved exactly what it should and made me run faster. I have been running paces I could previously only imagine.
- Race Simulation – building confidence by giving you challenging practice runs but without peaking too soon.
- Tapering and Race Day – easing up and a predicted race time. As you hit your race distance during this phase, the prediction changes depending on your times. I have not yet had race day so I will let you know how close my predicted and actual result are in December
- Recovery – how often do you see this in a training plan? Recovering and easing back into running as you come down from the motivation of a race date. Exactly the time you need someone else to tell you what to do.
I have become a big fan of this training plan. I have found it very motivating and personally respond to the idea of a very structured plan. Throughout I have been able to hit,or even exceed,the paces and distance and this has also been very motivating. There is nothing like success to keep us coming back for more. I have struggled in the past with information overload in relation to tempo and interval runs and this plan kept both of these very simple and I learned a lot about how I should be feeling on these type of runs. They made a huge difference to my cardio-vascular fitness and leg strength!
The website satisfied my need for running statistics as you can analyse your progress across all sorts of variables. My personal favourite tool though is being able to compare your progress against the last 10 days and the total plan. I always wanted to see an increase in pace and distance run each 10 days.
The website is very user friendly and you can change your plan very easily. However, I found the Android app to be a complete nightmare. It was unable to log my runs and changes made to the plan online would not update in the app. Eventually, I abandoned it altogether and recorded my runs on my Runtastic app and went online to log my runs. There is support available but I never had the patience to get this sorted out as using the website was just as easy.
Another downside, in my own opinion, is the lack of warm ups and cool downs in the plans. While these may be a given for experienced runners, I think it should at least be mentioned, especially before tempo and interval runs.
At the moment I would highly recommend these plans. Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating or rather the proof of the training plan is in the race time. I am working towards a pb for my 10k on December 1st so will let you know then if it delivered.
The Getting Faster Phase is living up to its name. During a Tempo Run today I achieved a new 5k pb, knocking 35 seconds off my previous best. Go Me!
Final Update 13/12/2015
Last week I tested my 10k time. I couldn’t get to a race and ran a hilly route. MyAsics predicted a time of 1.12.35. I came in at 1.14.30. Nit quite as fast as predicted but I am still delighted as it’s a full 1min 55 seconds off my previous pb.