A Change in My Spring Training Plans (Flirting with the Hansons and Here’s Why…)
After officially signing up for Chicago about a week ago I’ve been thinking about the marathon nonstop. Or rather I should say I’ve been thinking about my training plan for the marathon nonstop.
I know last year I said that I didn’t think Hanson’s was right for me. I didn’t enjoy the back-to-back long runs and I felt like I had more success the previous year following a more traditional marathon plan. However, every blog I’ve read that has used Hanson’s has found success with it – from very experienced marathoners to those who are more on my level.
In the back of my mind I’ve been wondering, should I give Hanson’s another try?
When Megan said she was contemplating Hanson’s after reading their book I decided to give it a read too. Many of you know I am a big fan of Sage Canaday and he used to run for the Hansons. He wrote a book that I’ve listed in my faves for a couple of years now called Running for the Hansons: An Insider’s Account of the Brooks Sponsored Marathon Training Group Made Famous by Olympian Brian Sell.
I looked up the Hanson’s book on Amazon and found they just came out with a new edition that includes information for true marathon beginners. Even though I have one marathon finish to my name already I still consider myself a true beginner. I downloaded the book right away and have been making my way through it, although I think after just two chapters I was sold.
I think it was this line that got me, “Our programs are designed to help you feel your best during the race, not during training.”
That’s what I want. I probably won’t like the back-to-back long runs this summer any more than I liked them last summer, but I want to feel as well oiled as possible on race day.
I like that the new edition of the book takes true beginners into mind because what they used to consider a beginner was not my definition of a beginner! The book is putting me at ease though and making me think that this style of training actually could be right for me.
In fact a few days ago I started browsing the Hanson’s Coaching Services website which has a ton of useful free information along with previews of training plans that are available for purchase. I noticed they have a section of plans called Base Work specifically for blocks of time you spend between training plans.
That’s what I need!
The starter Base Work plan is made for runners who are comfortable covering 40 miles per week. I used to be comfortable running 30-35 miles per week, but these days I’m only running about 25 miles per week. My goal has always been to get back to the 30-35 mpw range, although as I was reading the Hanson’s book I was reminded that I would need to bump that up even higher this summer.
I purchased the Beginner 40mpw Base Work plan to see what it was all about. I then contacted a Hanson’s coach to discuss how I could modify it for my current abilities with the goal in mind of using one of the Hanson’s plans for Chicago come June.
The coach basically worked with me to modify the plan so that I safely build up to 40mpw over the next month-ish. After that I’ll follow the plan as prescribed for about 3 weeks and then possibly extend it another week or so to see how I feel. I really want to evaluate my progress to be 100% sure I want to commit to Hanson’s for Chicago.
While the back-to-back long runs aren’t nearly as demanding as they are for the marathon plan, it’ll still get me used to doing them again. The speedwork I’ll be doing is geared towards getting me back into the 13:45/mi range for the half marathon distance since that’s the fitness level I want to be at when I start marathon training (my old easy pace!).
We’ll see how it all pans out. I’m glad that I have a couple of months of freedom to experiment with some ideas before I have to commit to anything. Sometimes having a lull in between training plans can be frustrating for a person like me who craves structure, but I’m trying to use this time as wisely as possible to learn more about my preferences as a runner.
Ultimately I just want to run the best possible race at Chicago which means I need to find a plan that I love and will be committed to 100 percent!
(This post includes affiliate links for the Hanson’s books. If you purchase through one of my links I’ll make a small commission that will go towards the hosting of this site.)
What’s your favorite marathon training methodology?
Best training book / blog / piece of advice you’ve ever been given?