Hansons Marathon Method: The Week 8 Update
I’m 8 weeks deep into Hansons training plan for the Twin Cities Marathon. I have to say that I was nervous using this training plan. It is a lot of running. Especially for a two-time marathoner notorious for skipping runs. But two years of using Hal Higdon plans and two six hour marathons later, I knew I needed a change. I haven’t had too many injuries from running - just a case of nasty shin splints when I increased mileage too fast and mild sprain from a training run a couple years ago - so I wasn’t worried too much about the potential of injuries. Anyways, following Hansons has really rejuvenated my love of running. So let’s talk about the good and bad (and maybe even the ugly) of Hansons:
The plan lays it all out there. You pick your marathon goal and the book spells out exactly how to do it. All your targeted paces, mileage - it’s all there. I found with previous plans I wasn’t sure what pace I should be running, so I always just ran as fast as I could manage for the distance (I know, terrible way to train!). There’s no guesswork at all with Hansons. I love knowing that today I’m running an easy 6 with a target of 12:05-12:55 min/mile. Having targets makes me stick within that range and not run faster - of course, my beeping Garmin also helps keep a handle on that too. I like that the plan tops out at 16 miles for the long run. I used to spend all week agonizing about running 18-20 miles on the weekend. The idea of spending my Saturday running for 4-5 hours scared me. With Hansons, I’ll only be running for just over three hours max during my longest run.
Well, running six days a week can really take over your life. I’m typically planning events around when I’m running. For the most part, I get my runs out of the way in the morning leaving me with evenings to do other activities, like tennis or hanging out with friends. But you certainly won’t catch me out late on a Friday or Saturday, since I want to be up and running around 6am. I’ve learned that procrastinating runs never works out favourably and more often than not, procrastination leads to missed runs. I do not believe in messing around with the Hansons schedule. In the first 8 weeks, I have made 2 adjustments to the plan - in lieu of a scheduled run, I have run a half marathon race (in weeks 3 & 5). There will be no other adjustments to the plan from here on out - I have no races until race weekend. I feel like the Hanson brothers are the professionals and following their schedule to a t gives me the best chance of hitting my 4:45 goal. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe it’s fine to switch long run days or tempo runs, but I’d hate to get to the finish line at 5:00+ and go, “gee, maybe if I hadn’t changed things up…” I’ve had two marathons of regret, I don’t need a third. If I get to the finish line on October 5th and don’t meet my time goal, I want to walk away knowing I did everything I could in my training. So far I’ve completed 100% of the training. No skipping. No cutting runs short.
Muscle soreness that never seems to fully go away, chaffing, foam rolling, constant laundry of running gear, the non stop hunger…
So basically, what I’m trying to say is that I love this plan, and I’m grateful for every single run. If you are thinking of training for a full or half, and even if you’re a back of the packer like me, don’t hesitate to give Hansons some serious thought.