I'm using a Matt Fitzgerald plan to get ready for an April 10K, and I love it. It's from his book 80/20 Running, which I find to be a welcome antidote to the attitude that anything worth doing is worth doing in a more painful fashion. In a world where everybody's talking about high-intensity workouts, Matt Fitzgerald's approach is a breath of fresh air.
The thing is, a steady diet of high-intensity workouts contributes to burnout and injury. (This is where I pause to thank the Run Less, Run Faster guys for my plantar fasciitis.) I didn't really need a book to tell me that. But the thing I didn't know about lower intensity workouts is that you get better at running more rapidly when your body doesn't have to devote quite so many resources to maintaining your chosen pace. In other words, if you run at a gentler pace, your stride gets more efficient and you make faster gains.
He's not talking about an occasional foray into slower running, either. His book title comes from his contention that fully 80% of your workouts should be low-intensity, with the remaining 20% at moderate and high intensity.
The plan appealed to me in part because I am so stupid injury-prone. It turns out to be a super-fun and much more humane plan than any of the others I've tried. Run Less, Run Faster was too much for me, although I still feel a twinge of guilt admitting it. I appreciate the stepwise nature of the 80/20 plans, in which you build for a couple of weeks and then take it a little easier in the following week. And I really appreciate the admonition to keep listening to your body and be flexible, because I've used a couple of training plans that made it sound like the wrath of God would blaze forth and melt your face off if you missed a particular workout. So when I didn't eat enough carbs in the first two days of the Whole 30 and felt like I was running with the parking brake on, I did a reasonable facsimile of the scheduled workout and called it a day. I nailed the hill workout tonight (on a treadmill -- icy walks + freezing temps = grateful for the incline setting on the treadmill) and I'm still riding the happy endorphin glow.
I have no idea whether I will finish the 10K any faster this year than I did last year. I don't have the same sense of urgency about hitting a particular time target, and I really don't want to hurt myself again. So far this feels like a win-win: pleasantly hard workouts that anticipate my progress almost perfectly, and a reasonable hope of a PR. I'll keep you posted.