I want to talk a bit about the Hanson Brothers’ training methods, which are outlined in their famous book Hansons Marathon Method.
I won’t go as far as to review the book in this write-up, but I do want to talk about the Hansons’ training approach relative to other training, my experience with marathon training and where I see this approach working well or not so well. I suppose it’s more of a review of the training method than a review of the book. But the book itself is a good read with some unique ideas, and if the approach may work for you I totally recommend checking the book out.
The basics of the Method, in a nutshell:
- Over 18 weeks, you run six days a week… except for the 1st week, where you begin the plan in midweek instead of the 1st day of the week.
- The plan strictly regiments each workout, with all quality workouts and days off happening on the same day each week.
- Unless you do the novice “Just Finish” plan, you are expected to do a speedwork session and a marathon tempo run every week. These workouts are expected to be done during midweek, on Tuesday and Thursday.
- The weekend long run ranges in distance from 8 to 16 miles, but is not supposed to go longer than 16 miles. As many running minds do, the Hansons emphasize maxing out the long run at about 2.5 hours.
- The day off always falls between the speedwork and marathon tempo run. The speedwork precedes the day off, and the marathon pace tempo run follows the day off.
- Long runs are always preceded by back to back medium-long regular runs.
- The authors strongly recommend the long run be run at a more moderate pace (not quite race pace, but a bit faster than other easy runs), contrasting most advice to do long runs at a very easy pace.
- The speedwork intervals in the early part of the plan are done at 5K or 10K pace. But later speedwork features longer intervals at a “strength” pace that’s about 10 seconds faster than marathon pace, akin to half marathon pace.
- Unlike most plans, The Hansons’ plan does not include tune-up races, and the authors strongly discourage any racing during the 18 week training plan.