A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Halfway Through Hansons

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Since I just completed Week 11 of an 18 week training plan, this post is a little late! Nonetheless, I figured I'd give you some thoughts on my training thus far.

Some quick background info in case you're new here!

I am using the Hansons advanced training plan to train for the Via Marathon on September 11th. My goal when beginning this training was to run a PR- 3:25:00.

I started out the training cycle SUPER excited to try Hansons. The book had motivated me so much. I never used a formal training plan for a marathon before, let alone one as specific as Hansons, so this was all new and exciting for me.

I figured the easiest way to do this is to break down the weeks and then finish with some overall thoughts...

Week 1: This week consisted of easy runs. I got the hang of running "slow" on the easy days pretty quickly. I ended the week feeling strong.

Week 2: I ran my very first speed session a little too fast and it resulted in a PIMA. I reeled in the paces after that scare and the PIMA went away. I ended this week's training post with a very foreboding thought: "I have a feeling in a couple weeks I will look back at this post and wish I felt as fresh as I do now!" Oh, how this statement very quickly became true!

Weeks 3-4: I was able to hit the prescribed speed workout paces, but my MP runs were all over the place! While the overall pace averaged out to my MP, my actual pace was all over the place. I reminded myself that there were plenty more MP runs in the training and my body would eventually learn to settle into MP. 

Also, during Week 4, I would wake up in the mornings with a little bit of heel pain, but it would go away. I was scared of getting PF, so I did a lot of stretching and finally my morning heel pain went away. But not for long...

Week 5: This was the first week I deviated from my training plan for two big reasons...

1. We went on vacation.
2. I got a rip roaring case of plantar fasciitis by the end of the week.

Week 6: PF SUCKED. I ended up taking a complete week off running to make sure it was gone for good.

Weeks 7-9: My plan was to ease back into running without getting PF again. My weekly mileage was much lower than what my training called for, but I knew I had no choice but to ease back in. Luckily, I was still able to hit my training paces, but obviously it's much easier to do that when you're only running 30-40 mpw, not 50-60 like the plan called for...

I felt really down during these weeks and questioned whether I should even keep going. And if I kept going, should I reevaluate my goals?

Week 10: This week went very well! I actually felt like I was back in the game! My knee felt a little weak, but that was nothing new for me. My knee/ITB issues seems to be the new "normal"... as in, it is normal for it to come and go sporadically. It's annoying, but I wasn't going to let it get me down. I ran the most miles in a long time- 47!!!!

Even though I felt good about my week, I had not hit the prescribed weekly mileage since Week 4. I had been meaning to really sit down and evaluate my goals, but I kept pushing it off...

Week 11: Another great week! I had long since decided I needed to modify my training plan. I did 50 miles this week, even though the plan called for 61. I felt like the only way I was going to stay healthy and strong was to shave a couple miles off here and there. I was very scared to complete my first 16 miler, but I did it and I did it well!

My overall thoughts on Hansons so far...


I love knowing EXACTLY what to run each day and EXACTLY what pace to run. This plan really speaks to my anal retentive, rule following qualities.

The speed and tempo workouts scare me but I LIKE them.


I keep getting injured.

I don't think one rest day per week is enough.

At this point in time, I feel like this plan is way to high in mileage for me.

Due to my body not cooperating, I have not been happy following this plan since Week 4.

There has not been a single day in which I felt confident that I will reach my time goal for the marathon.

Wow, those are some pretty shitty cons, aren't they?

Have you ever done Hansons? Did you like it?

What type of training plan do you normally use for a marathon?

What's your ideal weekly mileage and ideal number of rest days that keeps your body happy?


  1. I am having very similar thoughts and experiences to you with my coaching process as well. I've been getting frequent triggerpoints and knots forming in my calf muscles and my hamstrings. Physiotherapy has been a regular thing for me but it is also helping. A couple of weeks I was not able to hit my weekly mileage, even though my mileage is not as high as yours. I take two days off of running every week because I realized that just taking one off did not work for me. I also love knowing exactly what to run and at what pace!

    1. Sorry you have been having some of the same experiences as me! If I could go back and start over, I would have started right off the bat with only 5 days of running.

  2. I actually DO like Hansons, although I have never followed the marathon plan (if I ever do, I know I will extend one of the 16s to an 18 and the other to a 20... there's just no way I will feel confident running a marathon without a 20 miler in there).

    The half plan was good for me and I still follow the Hanson's "Philosophy" in my training (long run isn't super long compared to weekly mileage, tempo at goal pace, etc).

    I still think a lot of your lack of confidence is from the injury and missing that time rather than the plan itself. Now the injury might be from the plan or it might not, there's really no way to know (although if you're following a training plan, that is one thing you can control and you can't control a whole lot with injuries).

    I will say this much though... going from 5 days of running to 6 can really do you in. I don't think people realize how much... and marathon training on top of that is a pretty big stressor.

    1. Yes I have definitely realized MY body works best at 5 days per week. If I could do it all over again, I would have modified it to that from the get go.

  3. I remember us both being super excited about Hansons after reading the book! I still think it's a really sound training philosophy but it is hard. My legs always feel tired, which I think is the point, but it's not as fun as I pictured it being, hah.

    I also think training high mileage in the middle of summer is a bit of a joke we have played on ourselves. I looked at a blog post on the Hansons site and it said if the temp was over 85 to not run at all LOL. Of course that's just not possible for so many people, and we're probably more adapted to the heat than others, but it's still exhausting to run in high heat/high humidity. If our runs were 30, 45 minutes each day it would probably not be that bad, but I feel like every run is over an hour for me at this point.

    I feel very invested in the plan right now though and I'm hoping everything works at well by trusting in it! Also I hope the weather in chicago is in the 50s on race day.

    1. Yes the tired legs are MESSING WITH MY MIND. Like, I will kill a speed workout, then all my other runs that week a 9 min pace is a STRUGGLE. I am just not used to a 9 minute pace being a struggle for me. I am not saying the plan is flawed. I am saying it is messing with my mind in ways I did not realize!

      All of my runs last an hour too. Even if it's "only" 6 miles, all my 6 milers should be around a 9 min pace and then when I add a walk at the end- BOOM an hour. Then 15 min of stretching. Wow. Lots of time.

      I hope the plan continues to treat you well!!!

  4. All I can say is wow, this Hanson plan is intense (and lots of mileage). If YOU are even having cons with it I can't even imagine how the average runner would do with it. I guess it's something I'll never do..lol. Hang in there!

    1. Hey I *am* the average runner!!! I think it is so hard for me because I am not able to let it stop from messing with my mind AND I do better with 5 days of running. I know lots of people like this plan.

  5. I thought you loved the 6 days of week running?! Am I not remembering correctly? I honestly think you are kicking ass but this is meant to be a difficult plan in order to prepare you for a difficult race so you feel like you are not doing well. But looking in from the outside, I think you got this one, Megan. Keep it up and stay strong.

    Questions 1 & 2 don't apply to the non racer :) Also since I am a triathlete I only run 4 days, 1 day swimming, 1 day cycling and then my rest day. Between running and walking I like my weekly mileage to be right around 20-25; or should I say my body likes that (had to learn to turn off what my heart wants in order to follow what my body will allow).

    1. I do like running 6 days but my body doesn't. I just feel beat down. I realized 5 has to be my sweet spot where I get to run a lot but still have time to recover! 20-25 sounds like a good weekly mileage to keep you strong! When I am not marathon training I think something like 30-35 at the most is good for me!

  6. See, I'm not a fan of Hanson's not because of the mileage (I'm used to running even MORE than that!) but because of the intense speed work and tempo runs. It felt just too hard on my body like I was beating it into the ground.

    1. Would you then alternate speed one week and tempo another week? Hansons is the only plan I ever saw that rec'ed two speed workouts a week. (I sort of count tempo as speed too.)

  7. I know the way to run faster and is to run faster, but I need breaks in there. I have one true rest day in my week, but I take a break from running too when I strength train. I know my body, and too much leads to injury, fast.

    1. It's good you know your body and what it needs!


  8. What do you think has caused the injuries? How does it compare to other training you have done before?

    I think you are kicking butt! and I hope all the hardwork is paying off !

    I have never followed Hanson, only hearing of it from blogs.

    1. I don't know what caused the injuries as they popped up when I was barely capping at 40 miles per week! I used to never get injured because I was young. Now I have to be careful. So it's hard to compare. This will be my first marathon as an old lady. ;)

  9. Oh man I am so glad it didn't come back too. I was living in PTSD for about a month after. I was so scared to get out of bed in the morning. Now I am not scared... knock on wood.

    It IS hard to judge progress in the heat!!!