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!

My Top 8 Favorite Bloggers

It turns out that one of the nicest pastimes for a mom at home with kids is blog surfing. It’s cheaper than Internet shopping and fills that lonely place inside that vies for adult conversation. I wished I’d discovered it sooner.

In honor of some of the fabulous bloggers who have inspired my own posts, made me laugh out loud, and sent words of encouragement based on things I’ve written, I decided I should list my favorites.

Here they are:

1. Acoursetothefinishline.wordpress.com Theresa writes about training for a marathon while working in education and struggling with infertility. We have a lot in common, since I myself survived the last two. It turns out that she is a bit ahead of me on the marathon training front (we both are using Hal Higdon’s Novice 2), so she’s been a real asset with tons of good advice! Also, I love love love her wit! As I continued to read and we began corresponding a bit, I’ve found that she is also a super girl. My first blogger friend! I think we should all send her positive sticky baby vibes…. she is ready and deserves one!

2.  Losingweightinthecity.com Theodora is one of the first bloggers whose posts I ever read. She had me hooked from the beginning with her story of initial weight loss while living in New York City to her running adventures, most recently with the New York Marathon. I love her writing and also live vicariously through her, since my own time as a young woman in NYC ended over 12 years ago. Scary how time flies!

3. Littlebittybakes.com Liz is adorable! A runner and a baker, she blogs about her life and her recipes. I love her pictures and her passion for what she does. For me, a true disaster in the kitchen, I feel like her recipes are do-able; not too hard for the average bear, like me. I am dying to make her Chai Spice Oatmeal Crispies. Also, could her URL be any cuter?

4. Monicarodgers.wordpress.com Monica is one of two bloggers (on the list) that I actually know in real life. We grew up together during our Summers in Maine, but I put her on my list because I love her voice, her writing, and her take on life. She is incredibly talented in so many areas, most especially as a mom, which is evident throughout her blog. Check out her car seat covers, her photography, her musings. She’s amazing!

5. Examiner.com/running-in-new-york/lora-johnson How could I not include Lora? She is the main reason my readership has gone up and writes her own terrific blog full of really great running information. A lot of her information is regarding area specific (Brooklyn) races, but she also has written some terrific pieces about helping women runners stay heathy and (one of my favorite topics) cool running gear.

6. Aliontherunblog.com Ali’s writing cracks me up. She is a runner who lives with Crohn’s disease and has raised money through Jack Rabbit Sports’ organization called Run For The Rabbit. She was chosen to represent them and her charity is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. One of my oldest/dearest/bestest friends in real life lives with Crohn’s, so I feel strongly about Ali’s cause. Plus, she sells adorable I Heart Sweat running shirts, with the proceed’s going toward the charity!

7. Cleaneatingchelsey.com Chelsey has the most positive and healthy relationship to food that I’ve found in a blog! As her URL proclaims, she eats clean, but her good habits were spurred by a corn/gluten/lactose intolerance. Despite it, though, I never get the feeling that changing her diet was/is a chore. She loves food and doesn’t eat stuff out of a box! One day I hope to be more like her. Until then I’ll keep reading her blog for motivation and hope that one day her philosophy might rub off onto me and my not so great eating habits.

8. Cafeganesh.com Jennifer is the second blogger that I actually know is a real person. She is a yoga teacher in Raleigh and a Lemondead (Lululemon girl to my non-Lulu obsessed readers). I have been lucky enough to attend two of Jennifer’s classes, but haven’t been to more, solely because this marathon training is a real time sucker. When I saw her last (at the store) she reminded me that I really should come back, and she is right. Until then, I’ll keep reading her blog which is filled with fantastic posts like Pull Your Head Out of Your Asana! She has a great voice; knowledgable about her work and hilarious, too.

Hope you enjoy these writers as much as I have.

Happy reading!