My Thoughts on the Hansons Beginner Training Plan (So Far)
I’m almost halfway through my 18 week marathon training cycle using the Hansons method and shit is getting real. Excuse my language but it just seems fitting to swear since I have been swearing a lot (inside my head) during runs – even the easy ones. Especially the easy ones.
My legs literally feel like they are filled with cement most of the time. My most typical week day run is 5 easy miles and by mile 4 my legs are exhausted and I’m probably making all kinds of interesting faces.
I can’t remember ever feeling like this before during easy runs, but then again this is the first summer in which I’ve stayed pretty committed to running outdoors. Almost every other summer I’ve snuck indoors for quite a few treadmill runs. So, maybe it’s the weather and maybe it’s cumulative fatigue, or a combination of both.
A question that keeps circulating through my mind is, “should a slow runner like myself really be following Hansons?”
After reading the Hansons Marathon Method I was totally drawn in by all of the cardiovascular and skeletalmuscular system improvements the plan basically guarantees if you stay committed. I want those improvements.
However, I have noticed that everyone in the Hansons Facebook Group seems to be gearing up to run marathons at 3:30 or faster.
While we seem to share all of the same concerns: it’s freaking hot out, the dew point/humidity is too high, cumulative fatigue is setting in, etc. I sometimes feel like an outsider looking in. Like I’m Jack Dawson sitting on the Titanic at a dinner table with a bunch of 3 hour marathoners all talking about shiny gold trophies while I’m like, “one time I got a participation certificate with a gold stamp on it.”
On the flip side, the Team PAWS Facebook makes me feel much more comfortable. No one really talks about their times! 😀
Most of you know that I’m running the Chicago Marathon as part of Team PAWS again. The coach for our team is advocating for a plan that’s basically a mix of a HIIT training plan (high intensity, low mileage) and Hansons.
I started Google’ing the benefits of a HIIT plan for marathon training which brought me to a forum where a 4:20 marathoner asked if he should follow HIIT or Hansons. The responses were basically “a slow runner like you won’t benefit from Hansons.”
Well, if 4:20 is considered slow my pace is the equivalent of laying in a coffin six feet under. But here I am still alive and running.
So, is Hansons really, really, really wrong for me?
“No,” according to Luke Humphrey, author of the Hansons Marathon Method and Hansons Head Coach.
“Why is there a beginner program if only experienced runners can use it?” Sounds so obvious doesn’t it?
Of course “beginner” for Hansons doesn’t mean beginner runner, it means beginner at running marathons …which is me. I have only one marathon under my belt and no one is going to make a movie out of that! I need to gain a lot more marathon experience before I feel like I’m anything other than a beginner.
With that information in mind I’ll keep moving along, following the plan as its laid out. I don’t exactly feel confident about running the marathon right now – my legs are TIRED – but they’re supposed to be. Hansons is all about teaching you to run on tired legs to simulate the final miles of the marathon so you know what to expect when the going gets tough. And you know you can power through the final miles because you’ve done it before.
Have you heard about HIIT marathon training plans?