January 11, 2012

Hanson marathon training plan review

Inspired by an old article in Runner's World, I started the Hanson training plan about nine weeks ago to prep for the Ocala Marathon (next weekend!). While I didn't have time to complete the full plan, since I had recently raced the Savannah Marathon, I figured that rolling over that marathon training would make it fine to start somewhere in the middle of the Hanson plan. The original plan is laid out for 18 weeks. 

My race goal is an 8:20 pace, which I had to keep in mind for most of my runs which are based on your desired marathon pace. This is very different from my last Hal Higdon plan, which has no speed work and only one day a week running at your race pace, which I had no clue what would be that first time anyway. That worked ok for my first marathon. The downfall was that my legs were so sore and cramping at the end that it was very hard to keep my pace, and I lost a lot of time stopping to stretch my cramping muscles. 

The Hanson plan appealed to me because of the following paragraph, from the above Runner's World article:

The Hansons' marathon-training philosophy is simple: "Running a marathon is all about pace," says Kevin. "Our program teaches your body and mind how to run your goal pace, no matter how tired you are." They've designed their training, which they've used with both elites and midpackers, around a concept they call "cumulative fatigue"—high weekly mileage volume and a steady diet of hard workouts. Those workouts, dubbed "Something of Substance," or SOS, include a speed or strength day run slightly faster than goal marathon pace, a marathon-pace tempo run that gets progressively longer, and a long run done 45 to 60 seconds slower than goal pace.

WEEKMONTUEWEDTHUFRISATSUN
10-4 milesSpeedOff3-60-63-64-8
20-6SpeedOff3-63-63-64-8
30-6SpeedOffMP 64-74-65-10
40-6SpeedOffMP 63-65-85-8
50-6SpeedOffMP 65-74-66-12
64-6SpeedOffMP 5-74-68-108
74-6SpeedOffMP 5-74-76-810-14
86SpeedOffMP 5-75-66-1010
95-6SpeedOffMP 86-75-815
106-7SpeedOffMP 85-68-1010
115-8StrengthOffMP 86-7816
125-6StrengthOffMP 95-68-1010
137-8StrengthOffMP 96-76-816
145-6StrengthOffMP 95-68-1010
157-8StrengthOffMP 106-76-816
165-6StrengthOffMP 105-68-1010
177-8StrengthOffMP 106-76-88
185-65Off65-63R


I like to have my rest days on Sunday, so I moved Friday's runs to Wednesday, and then adjusted Saturday and Sunday accordingly. 

The idea of practicing cumulative fatigue appealed to me. The scary part is that there are no fresh legs to run on, which the Hansons assert will actually decrease injury. With only two marathon trainings by which to judge, I have had less injuries this time. Though I am tripping a lot more. Maybe the cumulative fatigue is to blame. 

Another big change is no long runs over 16 miles. All of the miles during the week fatigue your legs so that Saturday's 16 is like the last 16 miles of the race instead of the first 16. 

The jury is still out, but I have seen some slight increases in my speed and endurance. Although some days, I feel very sluggish (like today) and slower than before the training. Again, blame it on the fatigue. 

I will consider this plan successful next weekend if I am able to PR, get a sub-4 time, and don't have to stop running for cramping legs.

Delicious treat of the week.

Don't buy it unless you like being addicted to things.


We don't have a Trader Joe's locally, but we stop in Nashville on the way to and from the in-laws. This disappeared very quickly, and I will be buying a brown paper grocery sack full next time. 

What is your current training plan?

What do you do if you miss a day for illness/injury?

Just skip it. It's hard to do make-ups when you are already running six days a week.

What's your favorite treat this week?