The Hansons’ MarathonTraining Plan

Running is important to me, keeps me sane and levels my pre-diabetic blood sugar.

I am in no way a professional, rather a mere mama who likes to run, likes to learn, appreciates a good challenge and crossed the finish line at her first marathon (less than six months ago) feeling both elated and defeated simultaneously.

Having signed up for my next marathon, Miami 2013 ( Jan. 27), I continue to run and learn and hope that I can strategize differently (better) for a faster time and more consistent race (less tired/more energy at the twenty-mile marker).

My training for Tobacco Road was strictly running, little cross training, following the Novice 2 plan by Hal Higdon. The Higdon plan is pretty straightforward consisting of a four-day run week with the long run exertion at an easy comfortable pace. Walk breaks are acceptable, especially through water stations, though I worked hard to run without them.

In the months between my two races, there has been the time and opportunity to test out different theories, the latest being the Galloway method using the run/walk/run ratio.

I like Galloway. I like running with my 10:30 pace group (although our walk/run speed is closer to 12:30).

But my problem with the plan that has nothing to do with running and everything to do with what goes on in my head.

For starters, none of the Olympic marathoners I watched this summer stopped to walk. If they didn’t stop to walk then running an entire 26.2 can be done. So shouldn’t we try?

Unfortunately, I am not an Olympian and my ability to keep a pace that results in a happy finish time requires walking. Strategizing walk breaks, then, would be a good way to go for the next race. If I could just get my head to accept it’s okay.

Having just received the current Runner’s World magazine in my mailbox, I came across an article by Alex Hutchinson about the Hansons; brothers who run marathons and train Olympic runners.

Their philosophy is in, “cumulative fatigue,” teaching your body to run fast on tired legs and “push recovery,” meaning that if your hard runs are easy, then your preceding runs were not hard enough.”

This makes sense, but how can the average mama bear use this strategy in her isolated/no trainer on the payroll training?

By putting mileage on your legs and going out with a little bit of fatigue, you can prepare your body for going farther distances. This makes sense to me.

Push Recovery doesn’t seem as clear.

The Hansons’ plan calls for a “nine-day hard-easy-easy cycle.” What does that mean? Does that suggest you run for a total of nine days and rest for the next two? That your runs should be hard, then easy, then easy, repeated for a total of nine days?

So here I am, constantly learning and testing the strategies with the hope that I finish Miami strong and happy with my performance. Not a professional in any way, but a lover of the game completely!

Are you in training? What does your training plan look like? Do you know anything about the Hansons’ plan? Share!

I took Grace for a run with me this summer. I tried to teach her the run/walk method in the hope we would go a couple of miles. She was having none of it and ran full force until she was too tired (complaining of hurt feet) and wanted to go home. There’s time, and I see track and field in this kid’s future!

12 thoughts on “The Hansons’ MarathonTraining Plan

  1. I’m not sure about hanson brothers approach. I personally find it exhausting and although my endurance rose, my speed did not improve. I also think that unless your body heals quickly, you’re much more open to injuries like Desiree who trains under them had to withdraw from the Olympic marathon.

    I personally found that running more longer runs on less days works better for me.

  2. I am training for my first full and my pace is much like yours. I loved following your marathon posts. I am using Hals plan and so far so good. I think I am finally over the whole “what was your time?” thing. I put some much pressure on myself, but guess what?? I am slow but steady. I am ME!

    1. I liked Hal Higdon a lot. I’ve been thinking about the Hanson plan this a.m. and it’s just too much for the average runner. I’d get injured! As far as the time thing, I am most competitive with myself. I do hope I can be faster for the next race, but have time to figure it out!

  3. I think it’s partially depends on you and what your body can handle. You know your body best. Personally, putting in the distance helped me, regardless of the pace. But then again, I’m
    Not being very competitive πŸ™‚

    1. I think my philosophy is changing. Putting the miles on my legs is most important along with strategized walking. i really hope to kick some a** in Miami!

  4. You follow my blog, so you know that I’m a big fan of Jeff Galloway. The reason is mostly because I’m 48 and I want to run without injury. I really don’t care that I walk every 4 minutes because I’m only walking for 60 very short seconds and, hey, I’m never going to be an Olympian! I’ve looked at the Hanson method and I just don’t have the time. My running has to fit around my life, not the other way round.

    1. I think I’m coming around and realizing how Galloway is going to help me in my next race. Yesterday was a very interesting run. I even tried to run/walk 1×1 for a while at the end. Curiously enough the people I was doing that with and kept meeting up with the team ahead of us running 3×1.
      Also…I agree with you about running have to fit into your life. This year I’m only going to have time to run three days a week. the Hanson plan just wouldn’t work for me (not to mention I’d probably get injured from being so over tired).

  5. When I first took up running about nine years ago, I was absolutely determined not to walk. Ever. I tried to drink Gatorade and eat gu while I was running. When I ran my first half marathon, the people beside me said they were going to walk through every aid station and I was like, “No way! I am not stopping!” When I trained for my first official marathon in 2006, I walked one minute every ten minutes on the long runs only. I hated having to constantly look at my stop watch. There were times where I felt like I need to walk and other times I didn’t–and I hated having a clock determine that. Now I only walk if I need to. Sometimes that is walking halfway up a hill or walking 2-3 minutes every couple miles. I found I naturally run more and don’t need to walk much when I’m racing. The last marathon I ran in Seattle I walked very little–30 seconds through aid stations and I walked 1-2 minutes on the second to the last mile. I also stopped at the bathroom. I shaved eleven minutes off my best time. I don’t think you need to be really rigid about it. Push yourself hard, but walk when you need to walk.

  6. I really like paintergirl21’s comment and also artoornstra’s. I’m 47 and training for marathon #3. Even though I still fight the need to clock faster times, I am slowly learning to just enjoy running and the fun and friendships I have found through racing and training. Are you running tomorrow? I’m shooting for 18. Maybe I’ll see ya.

    1. Totally agree with you. πŸ™‚ If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it. It gets more fun the longer you do it. It wasn’t fun when I started out–it was really frustrating. That’s where I’m at right now with swimming. I am learning how to swim so I can do a triathlon and it’s so much harder than running.

      1. I used to swim when I was younger and when I tried again after many years I couldn’t believe how hard it was!

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