Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about the Hansons Marathon Method so I decided to buy the book. I’ve read about this method in magazines, articles, and blogs before but never gave it any serious thought because I was an avid believer in the 20+ mile long run. Of course my beliefs were based on nothing but, what I thought, was common sense- run a long distance to train for a long distance, right? Wrong. The Hansons method has your longest run capped at 16 miles. This may seem counterintuitive but is based on the theory of cumulative fatigue- increasing your training runs (running 6 days/week) to fatigue your legs so that by the time you hit your “long run” or 16 miler, you are running on tired legs. The point is to train to run the last 16 miles of the marathon, not the first. As any marathoner would know, the last miles are the hardest and many struggle not to hit the wall or bonk. I have always bonked.
I will note that this method seems like it will only work if you are willing to do all of the training runs, which are focused on pace- the goal is for you to maintain your marathon goal pace, the entire race. It’s very common for a runner’s pace to slow after 16 or 20 miles because the body is tired and again, the runner has hit the wall. Every run has a purpose (speed, tempo, easy, strength) and there is minimal to no recovery between the runs. If you are someone who is trying to get by running 3-4 days (that was me), this is not for you, and you will also probably bonk during the race (that was me). The goal is to hit between 50-70 miles/week for an average runner or rather, for someone like me.
I’m really excited to try the plan because I’ve been trying to build up a decent base over the winter and really want to hit the 4:00 barrier in Berlin. Phil suggested I give up my Equinox membership and just focus on running, spending that money on a coach who will be able to help me become a better runner.
Sooo now the question is, should I get a coach or should I try out the Hansons method on my own?? OR get a coach from Hansons Coaching??