Thursday, April 25, 2013

Putting the Hansons Marathon Method to the Test - A Review

I've finally decided on my Fall marathon for 2013 - the Skagit Flats Marathon, back in my old stomping grounds of Burlington, WA.

Why the Skagit Flats?'s flat. I mean, it's right there in the name. And in the first week of September, it's also at a great time to qualify for the 2014 Boston Marathon. And it's just slightly more than 20 weeks out, so timing-wise, it's perfect.

Plus, it's apparently where Corvallis dudes go to run fast! See the results here: specifically finishers in 9th and 12th places! Who am I to argue with that?!?

So starting on May 6th, I'll be diving headfirst into the Hansons Marathon Method training plan. Yes, I have the book. Yes, I think it sounds very intriguing. Yes, I like the idea that the long runs never get over 16 miles long. And yes, I know there are critics of the 16-mile long run thing, but there's more to it, as I'll explain below.

So the Hansons, and the book's author Luke Humphrey (marathon PR: 2:14) are big into a few theories. First, you shouldn't be doing more than 25% of your week's total mileage on the long run. So if you're doing 50+ mile weeks, a 20 or 22 mile long run is really too much. If you're running 100 mile weeks, fine...but then if you're running 100 mile weeks, you probably aren't hunting for a new training plan anyway. Second, you shouldn't be out there running for more than 2.5 to 3 hours on your long run. Again, for normal humans, running at LR pace, not race pace, a 22 mile long run can take a looooong time. At 9 minute pace, a 22-miler takes nearly 3.5 hours. And then your chance of injury goes up. Finally, they preach training while fatigued. So the 16 mile run on its own might not be that long, but it comes directly after three other days of runs of 6-10 miles long. And the plan doesn't have a rest day on the day after the long run either, with the only rest day coming on Wednesday. Through this method, the Hansons hope the 16 mile run, on tired legs, will mimic the last 16 miles of a marathon, not the first 16 miles.

It's an intriguing theory and we'll discuss it more as I progress through the 18 week plan.

So stay tuned! Hansons Marathon Method starts in 10 days!

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