This training cycle, I decided to switch things up a bit and use a different training plan. Since I first started running marathons, I’ve followed pretty much the same plan — run shorter distances throughout the week, and do one long run a weekend, with two rest days.
I was intrigued by the Hansons Marathon Method.
It focuses on having you run longer distances throughout the week, and peaking your long run at 16 miles. Instead of running four or five miles on weekdays, I was running 8 and even 10 miles on a regular basis. My rest days were cut to one. There was also a focus on speedwork, which is something I haven’t done since we moved to New York City.
So it was definitely a change, and I could feel it. There were a few weeks in the middle of the training plan where I was so exhausted, literally taking a nap on the subway to and from work just to catch some extra Zzz’s. And, my legs were tired. They weren’t used to this whole “run on tired legs” thing, which is a key part of the the training method. The idea is that by training yourself to run on tired legs, those last 8-10 miles of the marathon won’t feel so horrible.
The one thing that I struggled with was not getting my 20 milers in on the weekend. I feel like 20 milers are more of a mental benefit than anything else. I understand the philosophy behind it — the guys behind the method say it doesn’t make sense to dedicate half of your mileage in one run. Yeah, that makes sense. But mentally, I struggled knowing I hadn’t hit the 20s at all in my training.
Come race day, I felt really well prepared (minus the mini mental battle). During the race, I felt like the training of tired legs paid off — especially since I ran in Boston, with tons of hills. I felt really strong when we hit 16, 17 miles… and continued to feel stronger. After hitting Heartbreak at mile 20, I was ready to pick up the pace a bit. This has never happened to me in a race before. It was a good feeling.
I promise I’m really awake…
What I like most about Hansons Marathon Method
- The plan makes sense and is easy to understand… no one is telling you to do something that makes you go HUH? I think it’s important to be behind your training philosophy.
- It changed my running mentality. I used to think I would have a bad run if I ran the day before. Not anymore!
- Longer runs during the week — I actually loved this part of the plan. Knowing that I could knock out an easy 8 miles before breakfast was an amazing feeling.
So, would I use the Hansons Marathon Method again? Yes, I think I would. Although, I may go against the wisdom (!!!) and change the plan a bit to get longer distances in on the weekends, but I wouldn’t change anything else. I think this would really make me a stronger runner.
Have you tried Hansons Marathon Method? What did you think?
What’s one thing you’ve learned that changed your training philosophy forever?
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