I’ve started exploring popular marathon training programs and trying to decide which one I’d like to use for my training. One of the method’s I’ve been really curious about is the Hanson’s Method. I’ve heard mixed reviews of this method, so I thought I’d give my thoughts on it and see if maybe someone has had some real world experience with it that can tell me how it went for them. Linking up with Erika, Patty and Marcia for Tuesday’s on the Run!
The first thing I noticed about the plan is that it calls for 6 days of running and little to no cross training. Everyone seems to be split 50/50 on what works and what doesn’t concerning cross training- some people say it helps you become a better runner and others say it has little to no effect on your running performance.
The Hanson’s marathon method operates under the idea that by running in a fatigued state you will build more mental and physical endurance by running on tired legs. Some of the key concepts I’ve found in my research of this plan are:
- High mileage
- 6 days of running
- Speed emphasis early on
- No cross training
- Fatigued legs
- 3 SOS (“Something of Substance”) workouts per week- speed, tempo and long run
- Longest run is 16 miles
I’m going to break down the pros and cons of this plan as I see it based on my research and for me personally. However, if anyone has actual feedback on using it, I’d love to hear it!
I can see both pros and cons of the high mileage aspect for myself personally. When I was training for Gasparilla, I think the back to back long runs really worked in my favor and I felt really strong and very good for all three races. Running on tired legs is hard but it does offer benefits. However, I feel like the Hanson’s high mileage method may be more beneficial than some of the other plans I’ve seen where you only run 3 days a week…for example, the Galloway program recommends running 30-45 minutes (for me that would be 3-4 miles) two days a week and then up to 26 miles on the weekend. While I love Galloway’s method, I feel like going from running 6-8 miles during the week to 20-26 on weekends is a bit of a jump.
6 DAYS OF RUNNING
This has been one of the points of contention for me of this plan. Do I really need to run 6 days a week? I already work out 5 days a week, which is typically 4 days of running and 2 days of cross training (one day is a double workout day). So adding in another day of running wouldn’t be that much of a stretch, but I do worry about the ‘lack’ of recovery days. However, I’ve done run streaks before (where you run at least a mile every day) and I’ve felt that it definitely helped me improve my speed and running economy, so maybe there is a benefit to it.Have you ever tried the Hansons Marathon Method? What are the pros and cons? Click To Tweet
SPEED EMPHASIS EARLY ON
This is one of the components that I am a fan of. I love speed work and I love to run ‘fast’ (for me). It’s another of the reasons that I’m not a fan of Galloway’s training plan for marathons- because he doesn’t really emphasize speedwork. While I’m definitely not shooting for a time goal for my first marathon, I do know that I want to maintain the speed I’ve gained so far and I don’t want to lose any of it. I think speed training is definitely beneficial, no matter what distance you are training for.
NO CROSS TRAINING
Having no cross training is kind of an issue for me. While I am an off/on cross trainer (I’ll go months without doing it and then be gung ho about it for a few months), I really feel like cross training has benefitted me. Plus it gives me a break from doing the same thing over and over and mixes up the types of workouts I can do.
As I said before, I learned that I respond well to running back to back on weekends come race day. This worked very well for me during Gasparilla and I felt extremely strong and well trained. So despite the fact that it might be a difficult thing to maintain, I think overall there would be a true benefit to me physiologically with this component of the plan.
THREE SOS WORKOUTS PER WEEK
I like to mix up my workouts, whether that means including cross training in the mix or doing a good mix of speed and tempo and long slow distance runs. This plan incorporates all of those. Plus with my schedule being the way it is with working in retail, I do have time for mid week longer runs now, whereas before I wouldn’t have.
LONGEST RUN IS 16 MILES
I’ll admit this is the part of the plan that intrigues me the most. While I don’t find the idea of running 20 or 22 miles in one shot outside my capability, I’ve always wondered how the concept of running 16 miles as the longest run actually works in real life. However, one thing that appeals greatly to me about this type of training is that it lessens the amount of time I’m running in one setting. Particularly during the summer in Florida heat, that definitely sounds appealing. As well as the fact that most weekends I have to work, so that means I would have to wake up extra early to get in a 20 + miler. 16 seems more doable with my current work schedule, and would most likely allow me to work afterwards with less pain and fatigue in my legs.
Right now I’m basically trying to analyze the different running plans and see which one would be best for me. The traditional marathon training plan is 18-20 weeks, which means I still have about a month to a month and a half of base building before I actually get in the thick of my training. I’m hoping that by then I can decide which plan I want to use! In the meantime, I think I may try to run the first few weeks of the Hanson’s plan and see how I like it. I ordered the book and I’m planning on reading about it, so we’ll see how I feel once I’ve read it.
What are your thoughts on the Hanson’s training method? Have you used the plan before? How do you determine what marathon training plan to use?