Warning: I know this post is wordy and nerdy and sort of "free flowy" but that's all I got for ya today! Typos may abound. I just can't proofread it anymore!
The first thing I will tell you about the book is that it really made me feel like running a marathon! I was race searching before I was even done reading the book! (Harrisburg for the third time or Steamtown for the first time are at the top of my list!)
My biggest reservation about Hansons is the high mileage. It’s not that I disagree with the concept of having 50-60+ mile weeks. I am just wondering if my legs can handle it. I’m afraid of injury, you all know that. I fear my legs have a set amount of miles they are going to allow me to run in my life and that I need to be conservative with my training volume so that I can run forever.
The high mileage straight up scares the crap out of me. I know it’s marathon training, so obviously I am going to need some high mileage weeks. But the advanced plan calls for about 12 weeks in a row of 50+ miles weeks. That is quite a lot for this gal who likes to stick between 30-40 miles with two days off running each week. I know the training isn’t forever. It’s not like I have to run that high mileage for the rest of my life. It’s 18 weeks. That’s it. But the book even says the goal of the plan is to bring you right to that line of overtraining but not cross it. That scares me!!!
One thing that sometimes holds me back is worrying about my ITB. It is just a recurring problem for me and sometimes I have the attitude that I can’t train for something until it is completely better. Other times I am like, “Stop waiting until you feel PERFECT because you may never feel perfect.”
So there’s two things to consider. One, maybe marathon training is not what I want to be doing right now, or two, maybe this is not the right plan for me. Both thoughts are valid. But I would be lying if I said reading this book didn’t make me feel like training for a marathon. The book made me want to start marathon training TOMORROW! So I need to decide if this is the plan I would want to use. Or maybe some modification of the plan? Or maybe just train the way I trained for my last PR?
My last marathon PR brought me down from a 3:38 to a 3:28. This was huge for a runner like me. I know a lot of people say if you run MORE you will get faster, but to attain my current PR I actually ran less. I eliminated junk miles and added strength training. So running less brought me down to a 3:28… but would it get me down to a 3:25?? I don’t know.
Maybe it just boils down to Risk vs. Reward. I could injure myself on any training program. I could injure myself on my run tomorrow. Do I want to risk the wear and tear on my body to run another marathon and chase a PR? That is something I need to decide.
One of my biggest takeaways from the book is how important PACE is on each and every run. They give you a prescribed pace for every single type of run you do and the whole point is to stick to it. I really love this idea and if I do the plan, my goal will be to ALWAYS stick to the pace on the plan. This excerpt really spoke to me:
“Cumulative fatigue is designed to make you tired, but running paces faster than prescribed will put you beyond the point of being able to recover sufficiently. That really is junk mileage.”
And this one had me nodding my head…
“Leading up to the big day, you will finally allow your body to fully recover, giving you that fresh feeling as you toe the line. Our programs are designed this way to help you feel your best during the race, not during training. After all, you never want to execute your best performance in practice.”
That was totally me during BDR training! I hit a PR during one of my race pace runs and then SUCKED at the actual race.
One other downside is that Hansons offers one rest day per week. I like two. I really feel like I run my best when I give my legs time to recover. But the whole Hansons Method is based off of “cumulative fatigue”. The whole point is to be running on legs that are not fresh. Sure, I could add another rest day in there and make me weeks 8 days long instead of 7 days long… but again, that’s not what the method is about. The runner is not supposed to be well rested for every workout.
Surprisingly, it isn’t hard for me to wrap my head around the 16 mile long run. I understand the concept that those runs are supposed to feel like the last 16 miles of the marathon, not the first. And most of those runs are preceded by a longish run the day before. It’s sort of like splitting the long run into two different days. It reminds me of ultra training when we would run 20 miles on a Saturday and 12 miles on a Sunday. It made more sense than running 32 miles all on one day.
But I cannot figure out which program I want to use. According to the book, someone with my marathon experience and goals should using the advanced program. (I have run 8 marathons and a couple ultras. But my last marathon was in 2013… and the last marathon I raced was in 2012. That seems like forever ago.) The 3 months of 50-63 mile weeks in a ROW concerns me. This is the mileage I was running during ultra training! Would the beginner be better if I’m so worried about the mileage? Would the beginner program help me get better?
I can always start the advanced and if I feel injury or burnout, I can switch or modify as needed. It’s just the book really stresses sticking to the plan as closely as possible.
There is a chapter in Hansons about setting race goals. This one’s easy. I want to PR! This would be <3:28:08. As of this fall, I am up an age group to BQ. It makes me feel really old to type that! So even though I would need a <3:40:00 to BQ, I am all about bettering myself and hopefully not slowing down with age (at least not YET!). I feel like I have another marathon PR in me if I can get the work in without getting injured. According to the race predictor chart in the book, a 3:25-3:30 marathon isn’t out of the question for me. (I used my time from BDR. (Okay, honest: I shaved a couple minutes off due to the fact that my pace runs went so well but the race sucked for a myriad of reasons!)
It may seem like I have some serious reservations about the Hanson Method but I do REALLY want to try it. I love working hard and I love having a schedule. I guess I would love some reader input…
Do you think I should do the Beginner or Advanced Plan?
Is this even the right plan for me with my mileage reservations? The Beginner has a lot of high mileage as well!
Maybe I am just not a marathon runner anymore and should stick to halves…
Have you done Hansons? What did you think?
Did you read the book?
What is your favorite plan to follow?