The Plan

So, I bought another running book. hansons

I spent all summer whining about how I lost my base and I wanted it back. Success. I topped out at 75 miles per week and sort of survived! My main goal wasn’t necessarily a marathon PR (although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hopeful), but I just wanted to feel like the old me – physically and mentally. I got closer to my PR than I’d been all year at Hartford and built my base back up. The result was a very full race season and feeling like I got my legs back, despite the anticlimactic ending it had at Indianapolis. I’m going to take a little recovery period now. I’m following my trusty old Pfitzy’s five week marathon recovery plan before I begin again.

I mentioned before that since I’ve gotten some of my base back, I want to sustain the same sort of weekly volume and ramp up the intensity during the spring. I’ve always passed over Hansons because its “only a 16 mile long run”. Until I started following Colby and her journey to her fall marathon. Each week, she posted updates on what she was doing. And each week, I grew more and more intrigued. The speed work. The tempo runs. The overall weekly mileage. Am I missing something here? I thought the absence of a long run meant this was the slacker training plan. Every week, her cray cray training updates proved me so wrong.

I stopped into Barnes and Nobles after work one day. I needed instant gratification, and I also needed a hard copy of “the book”. While I love the Kindle app on my iPad, I need a hard copy of my running books. I geek out over that stuff and read them with a highlighter – like I’m going to take a test or something. I flipped right to “the plan” and right to the weekly mileage totals. 63 mile peak week? Hmm. I just worked so hard to get above that 70 mile mark. But the more I read, the more I liked. There were so many aspects of this program that I was already talking about trying to incorporate. But 16 miles? I made a little pros/cons list.


At this point, I was already giving serious consideration to the Advanced Plan. When I got to Chapter 5, it talked about program modifications. That’s where it really got my attention. The very first topic it covered? Increasing weekly mileage. Okay, Luke, Keith and Kevin. I’m listening.

“…the faster a runner wants to complete the marathon, the more training he or she will have to put in (to a point).”

I always say if you want to get faster, run more miles. It’s the one thing that has always helped me. I didn’t PR this fall, but I regained a lot of what I lost early in the year. I wanted to keep my peak weeks in the 70 mile range, but the Hansons advanced plan seemed to peak around 63 miles. I say “around” 63 miles, because they give you some distance options for warming up and cooling down with the “Something of Substance (SOS)” workouts. The program modifications chapter discusses how to add more miles and how to account for those who run faster paces. Okay, I’m almost on board. But what about that 16 miler? Are you really telling me that the Hansons elite athletes run 2:14 marathons on a 16 miler? I’m just not buying it.

Their other theory is that a 16 mile long run generally falls in the 2-2:30 range for a wide range of runners. They go through a whole bunch of sciencey VO2 max anerobic aerobic threshold muscle fibers glycogen depletion my head hurts from science terminology thingys, but I got the gist of what they were saying. You only reap workout benefits for a certain amount of time before it either has no benefit or can be harmful. I get it and I buy into it. Here’s where I got confused: At my prescribed Hansons marathon pace, I would be able to cover 20 miles in 2:30. I regularly would cover that in 2:30 during other training blocks. So do I increase the long run to 20 miles? At the end of the book, they offer a sample elite program for someone who regularly runs 100+ miles per week and peaks in the 130s. No, I am not crazy enough to consider that particular plan yet, but I did look at the long run distances. They did 20 milers, but they were broken into AM and PM runs (AM run was 14 miles, PM run was 6 miles). So clearly, I should not be doing what someone who is running 130 miles per week is doing if I want this plan to work.

I did a little research on this. I read book reviews, I read forum posts about people who followed this plan, but rarely did anyone talk about how they tweaked the long run to fit their weekly volume needs. I flipped back to the beginning of the book to re-read some of the concepts and found this chart that I somehow glossed over the first time through:


I’m not going to be shooting for a 21 miler because I want to follow this program as closely as possible while adding on just a bit of extra volume. I’m thinking is my long run will peak at 18 miles, since that ends up being around 25% of my weekly volume in my highest volume weeks. This will be very interesting and different for me. Personally, I love the mental benefit of a 3 hour long run. In my last training build, a 3 hour run was equivalent to a 23 miler.

I’ve run 38 marathons. I’ve run marathons with one 20 miler in the build, and with countless 20 milers in the build. I’ve run marathons with marathons in the build. But I’ve also run marathons where I topped out between 15-18 miles – usually, those were instances where I was nursing an injury. Before my first marathon, all I did was one 18 mile run. I am confident that I’ll have the fitness to finish the race by successfully executing this plan. Will it be enough for a PR? I don’t know, but I’m all about changing it up and I like the structure of a training plan. I always have.

The real selling point for me is that I said myself that I need to do more speed work, and I want to do it twice per week. I struggled with that during this build and didn’t do many marathon paced miles. It’s something I want to incorporate moving forward, and that’s what initially drew me to this plan. With the SOS workouts, you get a speed (or in the later weeks, “strength”) day and a tempo day. If you do the maximum prescribed warm up and cool down, the tempo runs end up being 16 miles. Hello, hatred for the mid-week long run. We are about to really go head to head this time – and during the winter months, no less.

I’m going to go through my five week recovery period as planned. If my calf is cooperating, this is the route I am going to take. Especially knowing what happened at the end of the cycle with Colby’s race. She broke a six year PR and qualified for Boston. If you don’t follow her, you should! But it wasn’t the time on the clock that was the overall selling point. At the end of her training block and right before the marathon, we had a conversation about her plan and something she said really stuck with me:

“I mean it when I say that no matter how my marathon goes, I have definitely become a stronger, faster, more confident runner. In my head I really feel like I’ve won.”

That. Just that.

Have you ever tried (or considered) the Hansons method? What’s your go-to training plan?

100 Replies to “The Plan”

  1. I looked into training plans a bit when I was deciding to train for a marathon, but for me, the Run Less, Run Faster plan was a no-brainer because I didn’t need to do any modifications to keep cross-training. I’ve read some sketchy reviews of it, so I think if I were ever training to really race a marathon, I’d probably choose something different, but it’s perfect for what I need right now!

    1. I think for a triathlete, Run Less Run Faster is the way to go if your goal is to be in both marathon shape and triathlon shape! I think it would work for you! I did try that plan back when I was a new runner, but I didn’t really know as much about cross training at the time. Also, another runner I follow on here just did her first marathon following that plan and saw great success. Awesome pick!!

      1. I’m glad I chose it. One thing I’ve noticed so far on the plan is that I like running… but I also really look forward to getting back on my bike on days when I ride. If those were days were recovery runs instead, I’d be having less fun!

    2. I used RLRF (without cross training because I’m lazy) for my first marathon. Loved it. I had a great race and a wonderful experience. I definitely recommend it if you like training for intensity over volume.

  2. Yay! I can’t wait to follow along with your training! I’m pretty excited to be using Hansons for my next marathon. More running is definitely a draw. A friend of mine used Run Less Run Faster and crashed and burned during her last marathon, so I think the quality of cross training really makes a huge difference with that plan.

    1. So exciting that you are going to use Hansons, too! YES! Another blogger I follow is also going to be using it so we will have a little support group, hehe. Someone else on here also used RLRF but she had a phenomenal race using it. I think the RLRF plan is also awesome, but it is very tough! The whole thing is based on doing key workouts with every single run. It’s badass!!

  3. Fun!! I have always been intrigued by the Hansons plan and it will be interesting to see how it goes for you. I do follow Colby’s blog and she seemed exhausted, so I’m thinking it was a little too hard core for me! But so are you, so it could be a good match 🙂 But seriously, I’d be happy with “glutes not in total pain after 18 miles”, so I think it’s more strengthening for me (consistently). I’ve always said that I wished a marathon was only 18 miles because I’d do so much better!!

    1. Haha! I always wish the marathon was 20 miles. I could probably lay down a sick marathon if that last 10K at the end wasn’t such a b**ch! LOL! But hopefully by simulating the end of the marathon on every long run, I can make that last 10K MY b**ch!

  4. Honestly, if you want to do a longer long run, then just do it. The Hansons aren’t going to send the running police out to arrest you if you make it longer 🙂 Do what works for YOU. I think you are an experienced enough runner to make that call for yourself and break the rules once in a while to do what you feel will work better for you.

    As you know, I’ve never done a full Hansons plan but I’ve always been a fan of their methodology. I stole their cumulative fatigue practice for my last marathon and it worked really well for me. I don’t think I could ever be confident running a marathon on a training plan that wasn’t all about tired legs and high mileage. Granted, Grandma’s ended on a downhill but speeding up in the last 4 miles and running my fastest mile in mile 26? That doesn’t happen by accident. That said, I don’t have the cajones to follow one of their full plans. I couldn’t get past the 16 mile long run, and I don’t run a high enough weekly mileage to go longer than that. Plus, I like to make up my own workouts and schedules. But if I were to follow a pre-made plan, I think Hansons would be it. I think I would trust that plan more than any other.

    Laura @ ThisRunnersRecipes also just trained for a marathon – her first – on the Hansons plan. Her training went really well and she was in excellent shape for her marathon and seemed to like the plan a lot!

    1. Yes, I follow Laura! I think I knew that she was using that plan, too. So awesome to see how many people either use it or draw inspiration from it.

      I’m going to play it one week at a time with the long run. I’m game for trying something completely new so if 16 is all I run, well, okay then. But, if I get to Sunday and I’m out for a run with my friends and I want more miles than whatever was planned that day, I will do it. I am going to stick to the no more than 30% of weekly volume rule, though. I think in my peak weeks I could, in theory, go over 20 and still be following their rules. I actually had an email conversation recently with Luke Humphrey himself about the plan, and the 16 mile long run is a common misconception and it is based on volume. So using his guidelines, I am going to take it one run at a time. If I’m at the end of a 70 mile week and I want a few extra miles then great. And if not, that’s great too! I am really excited to try something new, and something that so many people seem to really benefit from. Excited for us to get started on this beast!

    1. I have several friends who feel the same way! I like the structure of it, but some people hate it. Some of the best runners I know don’t use training plans! I think they key is just finding what works for the individual, plan or no plan!

  5. I think you’ll see good results with Hansons. You already have such a strong base/endurance, so hopefully the added speed work will be just what you need to get your next PR. Also since you’ve already run plenty of marathons, I don’t think the slightly shorter long run will be an issue. I would be hesitant to take on a plan like that because with only one marathon to my name, I would want the confidence boost from already hitting 20 miles in training.

    I’m looking forward to following your progress. I loved following Colby’s journey too. After the race please do a comparison to Pfitz.

    1. Ohhhh, I will definitely do a comparison post – that is a must! The main differences I’m seeing with the two: Hansons has a bit more structure. Speed days/tempo days/long runs are always consistent and build each week. Pfitz throws speed and tempo in there sporadically, which is also a good thing because you change up the way you are stimulating your legs. Then, Pfitz can prescribe up to 24 mile long runs depending on your weekly mileage, while Hansons stresses to be cautious with the long run. Should be interesting to see what happens! I loved following Colby, too. Her posts cracked me up!

  6. I followed the Hansons plan for half marathons, which had a long run topping out at 12 miles. Obviously for a half marathon, and someone of my ability, that’s fine. I PRed 2 half marathons following it and I will say the best part was the long-ish tempo run at race pace. When I went to the half marathon start I had logged a ton of miles at race pace. I was frequently running an hour at half marathon goal pace and on race day I did it.

    I too read the book but from what I understand, their elite athletes are putting in more than 16 mile long runs because they run more mileage than we mere mortals do. Their daily runs are longer so a 20-22 miler the same percentage of their weekly mileage. But someone at that level with a coach, they are not following any sort of plan, because they have coaches tweaking their workouts as they need it.

    I’m nowhere near your level, but increasing my mileage has done nothing but help me. I’m sure there’s a point where you top out, the law of diminishing returns. But a lot of the people I know who heavily criticize the Hansons plan are following things like Run Less Run Faster and doing 5 20s but bombing on race day bc they peak at 40 mpw and that’s just not enough for a marathon. I seriously think running 55-60 mpw on Hansons is a better idea even if the long run is shorter.

    1. I am excited for and dreading the tempo runs the most. Excited because I think I need them, but dreading because they are the runs that scare me the most!! As for the weekly mileage, I am going to follow the section where they instruct you how to add on. They say to increase the easy runs by 1-2 miles if you want, and by following the advanced plan and doing that I will have some weeks very much like I did this fall, topping out around 70. I want to keep around the same base I worked towards in fall but incorporate more speed, which was why the draw to this plan. It is so encouraging and awesome to hear that you PRd in two halves using their method. The key point you made was that you were frequently running an extended period of time at goal half marathon pace. This is what I need for the marathon – time actually running marathon pace. My tempo runs topped out at around 6 miles this fall, which is awesome but I am thinking I need to be logging a little more than that to be able to hold that pace for 3ish hours. Also, I only really did 3-4 tempo runs and this has tempo runs every week. I’m taking my recovery period seriously because I am excited to give this plan my all!

      1. Yeah- and the plan has to work with your schedule too. When I trained for and PRed those half marathons w/ Hansons, it was winter in SC. I wish I could’ve gotten more pace work in this time, but I couldn’t with the summer weather. I like it and 6 days of running works for me but I have friends who can’t do 6 days a week due to work, school, parenting, etc.

      2. That was my other thing about this plan. While I really hate and try not to use the treadmill, let’s be real: I live in northeastern pa. Last winter, we had -20+ degree days and mountains of snow. If I had to use the treadmill for speed or a tempo run, well, the speed play is something to pass the time! So Hansons seems like a really great fit for me training in the winter!!

  7. Oh this is soooooo INTERESTING! I’ve always held strong to the belief that to be a stronger runner you gotta run more. But I’m not set on that at all. In fact I think the only reason I believe it to be true is so that I can keep running a lot, because I simply love running. I love running more than I love racing.

    1. Yep, I agree – more miles = more speed. From what I have planned out, my weekly mileage will be the same as what it was in this block but my long runs will be what’s different. But my mid week miles will also be longer. So I’m definitely intrigued. And based on the winter we had last year with sub zero temps and piles of snow, it might be a good fit for winter training! I am excited!

  8. I think it’ll be interesting to see how this goes for you. Quite honestly, I think you’ll excel with this plan too because it does follow in line with your high mileage goals. Hansons method intrigues me but I just don’t have it in me to follow it completely. Just reading posts from Amber and Colby about this plan when they followed it made me exhausted! I still can’t fathom putting myself through that much exhaustion for a huge goal. I am however starting to realize how beneficial a high mileage training plan is and even though I’ll only be training for a half next spring – I’m hoping to more regularly be running 50 mpw 🙂

    1. Over time, I got used to higher miles. I remember in the early years telling my mother in law that I ran 30 miles in one week and being like, holy crap I ran 30 freaking miles this week! Then suddenly, it was 40 and that was comfortable. Then 50. Now it’s 60. I can do 70 but it gets ugly for me – but I know in time that will be easier, too! Because as you put in more miles, you get faster. Mostly because your body is finally like, “can we PLEASE BE DONE NOW”. Haha. Its like you get faster by default. You are going to CRUSH your spring half!

  9. i’ve never looked into this at all (not gonna lie, i’m not so much of a competitive runner as just a runner who adores being out there and pushing myself but not killing myself, if that makes sense), but i’m excited to read about your journey with this!

  10. I’m definitely interested to see how this works for you. I think it will be a good change of pace (literally). I would be right there with you, I think a 16 mile long run for a full would make me nervous. Perhaps after I have run a few more it wouldn’t be at this point I think it would.

  11. Everyone else has said what I’m thinking about the Hanson plan seeming awesome with the quality work, so I’ll just send my condolences about treadmill running, haha. You can always fly south and come run with me outside!

  12. This sounds fascinating! Thanks for a FAB overview of what the Hanson plan is all about. I think that, even if it doesn’t result in a PR, it will be so good for you to shake things up in your training a bit. That’s what is so exciting about starting new training cycles! I’m just about to start another cycle in pursuit of that elusive sub 90 half next Spring and the prospect of all the great nerdy running planning ahead makes me feel super excited haha 🙂 I’m definitely interested to follow how you get on with this plan so keep us posted as always! And I hope your calf is recovering well !!

    1. Oh you SO HAVE THAT SUB 90 MINUTE HALF! I know you do! You know, Hansons does have a half marathon method book…you should try it and we can commiserate with each other over grueling tempo runs and track workouts 🙂 And then congratulate each other when we achieve our goals!!

      1. Oh really?! That’s so awesome I definitely have to get the book!!! And yes indeed – it is ALWAYS great to have someone to commiserate & congratulate with !! 🙂

  13. I’ve definitely been intrigued by Hanson plans but never pulled the trigger. Many of my marathon cycles were modified Pfitz plans, or plans that are similar (when I worked with a coach, his plans were similar to Pftiz with workouts similar to something Hadley might have his athletes do). I like to have my 2 workouts a week and a long run- the structure of something like that gives me the confidence and has worked well for me. I’d have a hard time letting go of my longer runs for Hanson as I find the 20 milers give me a ton of confidence. BUT, that isn’t to say I wouldn’t be willing to give it a shot. I may have been improving a lot with my marathon times but I know I want more mileage and this could be a good way to go about it.

    1. Well, I am basically just like you – I love me some Pfitzy! He has been my main man for a few years now.I am excited to try something new. I think I will use Pfitz again if I train for a fall marathon because I will probably want to make another jump in mileage and he has some good plans in there for that, and then if I like Hansons use it for winter! Maybe some variety will shake things up!

  14. Super excited to hear about your training if you definitely go through this. I love finding new plans and reading reviews. I feel like I need to see real world experience. Person A started here and followed plan A. They ended up with result A. So on and so forth.

    I’m going to do McMillan this year. I tweaked a little (need some AM runs with the pup!) and flip flopped a couple runs, but that’s what you’re supposed to do according to the book… So we will see what happens!!

    1. Did you buy a plan from McMillan? I have tossed that idea around because I use their pace calculators and their predictions are almost always spot on! You definitely need morning runs with that little cutie 🙂 Those have got to be the most fun!!

      1. No I bought the book “You (Only Faster)” and he walks you through creating the perfect plan. So he has plans from 5k to marathon and from 2-3 day/week runners to 6-7 day/week runners. And you go step by step with him to recognize weak points, strong points, and plan right down to however many weeks you have leading into your race specific training.

      2. I don’t know how I didn’t realize that he has a book. I’m intrigued! I need to get this. I love his online component, and it would only make sense that he would have an awesome book too! Thanks for the recommendation!

      3. Side note: totally funny that this all came up because I’ve had a post in my queue all week about picking this book to follow for training and I just haven’t finished it… guess I will tonight!

  15. I think trying a new approach could be just what you need. And especially after also having followed along with Colby’s training success, I say, why the hell wouldn’t you try Hanson’s?!

  16. I’ve read a little about the Hanson’s plan and it sounds like it works. I’ve never heard negative feedback or that anyone felt undertrained. I don’t think I would use it yet, but I’m aiming for my first marathon in the spring. I think I need the confidence gained from a long run to go into my first marathon. It sounds like a great plan for you though. You are really experienced and if you feel like going a little longer, just do it.

    1. I’m excited for you to run your first marathon! Do you have a plan in mind? I do recommend Pfitzinger – his plan has several options for weekly mileage and for the duration of your training. You can pick anywhere from 12-18 weeks. His book taught me a lot! I am excited to try something new, but Pfitz has been my main squeeze for awhile!

  17. Sounds sensible to me — and it’s definitely not a slacker plan. I followed Hansons for the half-marathon to finally get under 2 hours, and I believe in the system. My friend followed Hansons for the full, and while she didn’t follow it nearly as closely as she probably should have, she still achieved her sub-4 goal. The speedwork and cumulative fatigue is real and it works. I think you really get to know your goal pace, too, so that’s helpful. For someone who is more talented, I think it will be even better!

    Also check out this blog:

    She’s basically following the program with additional mileage so her long runs have gone past the 16-mile mark. She does some really detailed weekly recaps too. If I were to do another full and following Hansons, I would probably insist on upping my volume so that I could do something a little longer than 16 miles.

    Good luck! I’ll be following along…

    1. Thank you so much for this comment!!! I am so excited that you shared that blog with me. I am seriously going to go back and read all of her posts! It sounds like she paid for the plan through the coaching service – I did consider that, too! I am still considering it, since I have a few weeks until I need to begin. I am mostly interested in working more with my goal pace, as you mentioned. I didn’t do enough of that in the fall. But, I did build my base through the fall and that tired out my legs enough! I am hoping that I will be able to handle the volume and the speed work.

      Thank you so much for the suggestion!! I am excited to follow along with your training, too!! It will be a fun spring season!!

  18. So exciting that you’ve chosen a plan! I did the Hansons Advanced Plan for my first marathon, and it definitely is a good plan. I considered increasing my long runs to 18 miles, but I honestly was so spent each week from the speed work and tempo runs (especially in the last 8 weeks) that 16 miles at a moderate pace was plenty. My endurance was certainly there by the marathon, and even though I slowed down because of stomach issues, I still managed to pass people during the last 10K of the race.
    I loved the long marathon pace runs and the long repeats at half marathon pace, but I did not like the short taper. There’s a 12-14 mile run with 10 miles at goal marathon pace ten days out from the race, and at least for a newbie like me that was a bit too much to close to the marathon. I really hope it works well for you and I’m excited to see how your training goes!

    1. I’m glad to hear that you thought the 16 miles was plenty!! It also makes me really excited to hear that you were passing people in the last 10K. That is THE BEST feeling. It’s happened to me, but not that often. I need more days where that happens!!! I did see the short taper and that does worry me a bit but I am going to give it a shot. I think my taper for Hartford was just a bit too long – it was almost 3 weeks. I didn’t like that, but I was following a plan and wanted to give it my all. But a long tempo run 10 days before could be trouble, too. I am going to have to see how my body feels if and when I reach that point! Ahhh so excited. I will definitely be asking you questions and looking to you for advice!!!

  19. Hello inspirational Allison!

    So you are going with the Hansons. Interesting. Do they discuss using spin as a cross training technique to reduce weekly mileage? That’s what I’m interested in. Maybe I should buy the book.

    You really put it out there for Indy. I felt every step as I read your post. It’s an incredibly honest and unfiltered look at why some of us run this marathon distance. And why the marathon is never the same race twice. It’s a powerful read.

    So I’m thinking my next marathon will be in Reston, Virginia. It’s just about 20 weeks away, and I’ve developed my own training plan for it. I start the plan on Monday.

    I’m confident you can go sub three. Anyone dedicated enough can train to go sub three. I went sub three (once), eight years ago, and I was almost 45 years old. Time is on your side. I look forward to reading about your regimen, and hearing about your success. Take care. PBJ

    1. Hi Joe!!! I am going with Hansons for sure. They do offer some suggestions for cross training so I think it’s worth considering. Speaking from experience, I bet you could swap out some of the easy runs, which happen Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays for a spin class. I think that would really help!

      Indy was a tough day for me but a valuable one. I wouldn’t change the experience now that it’s over and I can reflect on it. I learned a lot this season about racing, but also about the value of recovery. Indy was an important lesson on many levels. In a way, it wasn’t just my calf giving up on me. My whole body gave up – because it just had enough! I think if I want to go sub-3, I can’t race as many marathons as I am used to running. It was different when I was finishing the race in 3:45-4 hours. I think a 3 hour marathon may require more down time than I am used to, and that’s okay. You live and you learn.

      I don’t know the marathon on your schedule, but that is SO EXCITING! I did Shamrock for Virginia. It was my 2nd marathon and I liked it! I am looking forward to hearing of your training. Do you have a blog I can follow? I click on your name each time you comment and try to follow you but nothing comes up!!!!

      Have a great night!

      1. No, sorry, no blog for me. I’m old school. Yes, I agree with you that number of marathons is a key element in how fast you can go. When I went sub 3, I was only running 2 or 3 marathons a year. Of course, some of my training runs actually went 26 or 27 miles. I was using 20 week training schedules, where the first third focused on hill repeats, the 2nd third focused on speed intervals, and the last third focused on tempo. And there were long runs every weekend.

  20. I’ve considered Hansons method and I also know someone who has used it with success. I’m looking for a new training plan for my next marathon to mix it up and hopefully get that BQ. I’ve been using Hal Higdon’s plans in the past.

    1. Let me know what plan you decide on! I have not tried Higdon yet, or Daniels. Those are others that were contenders, but I wanted something really different for spring! I am excited to try something new. I plan to check out the other guys in the future, too. I think it’s fun to try different training methods to see what works for different people!

  21. I’ve heard good things about this plan. Many of my fellow Road Runners have used this plan and PR’d in their fall races over the last few months. I went back and forth between this and Hal Higdon’s plan for a spring marathon.

    1. Ahhh, another Higdon fan! That one is also on my radar. I think it’s going to be my next purchase when I am ready to spice things up again. There are so many good, reputable plans out there that it’s tough to choose one! Have you used Higdon before?

      1. I haven’t, but I’ve heard good things. I’ve used Runner’s World training for my marathons and actually half marathons. The first marathon was just about finishing, the second, I didn’t start due to injury, but still felt strong in training. The third marathon was my best training cycle yet, but I panicked on race day. I was still able to get a 21 minute PR, so I think it’s worked well for me. I’m excited to see what Hal Higdon will bring!

  22. I swear I have this book somewhere but have never looked at it in detail. I think the pace would be too much for me right now but something I would consider for another cycle. Will be interested to follow your progress and how you adjust that long run distance. Great post breaking it down…I need to go look for my copy again!!

    1. Thank you! I am excited to try it all out. Should be interesting to see if I see a difference in my spring races. I think I am a good candidate for this plan. I am concerned that the paces might be tough, but then again, I might need that kick in the butt to take things to the next level! We’ll see… 🙂

  23. I’ve never tried the Hanson method. I’ve been a Hal fan for a while…well, that is for my 3 half marathons that is. I took a step back in his training from Intermediate to novice 2 this past year with my hamstring injury and it was the best decision ever. I loved having two days rest, one specific cross training day (post long run). The one thing I missed was speed work which I did every so often.

    1. A third vote for Hal! I need his book now. I am going to stick with Hansons for the spring but I am going to buy Higdon and read it. Everyone seems to love it! You had a great comeback from that hamstring pull and had a great half – that speaks volumes!! I am excited to see where your spring race season takes you.

  24. Thank you for this…I’m only training for my second marathon (38…holy crap!) so I’m still playing around with my long runs. This cycle, I’ve done two 18-milers and haven’t done my 20 yet. Last time, I did one 18, one 20. I feel like I feel fresher and stronger on the two shorter long runs, and like I could run a few more 18 milers without needing the recovery I needed from my 20 last time.

    I find I get faster from more mileage to a point. Marathon training slows me WAY down, which is why I’m going back to basics and shorter runs in 2016, to increase my speed again. But I was at my optimal speed when I was running 12 miles during the week (three 4-mile runs) with hills and one long run on the weekends. I’m looking forward to seeing how the plan works for you!

    1. You hit the nail on the head here regarding marathon training and overall speed. I feel like I got faster to a point – but now, I’m at a plateau (or even a little slower) BECAUSE I’m marathon training! Piling on a ton of miles and long runs slows me down too. The weeks I was averaging 70mpw were my slowest. This plan will make me go back to 70 mile weeks, but there are less of them and they won’t all be back to back. Most of my weeks will be in the 50-60 mile range, which is currently where I seem to do best. My body was able to do the 70+ mile weeks but I don’t know how much I benefited from them because I was so tired. I am looking forward to trying this out!

  25. Right now I am running the “Liz’s Intuitive Running Plan” which is incredibly flexible. 😉 I cannot believe you’ve run 38 marathons! 75 miles is a great base. I’m pretty comfortable at 40-45 for now, but I can tell I’ll start itching to increase again, soon enough.

  26. I was actually at Barnes and Noble yesterday looking for Hanson’s half marathon book. They didn’t have it. 😦 I think it’s more miles than I am capable of maintaining but Colby’s blog posts peaked my interest in a crazy way. I am currently rereading RLRF though- I just skimmed it years ago. 3 days a week is right up my alley. Hitting those pace goals on the other hand is a little nerve wracking. Good luck with Hanson’s!

  27. I’m really really curious to see how this plan works for you. I haven’t read the book or tried it. I had an 18 minute PR with some advanced runners world plan and it includes a 22-23 miler….I’m no expert but maybe it boils down to the persons physiology and what the body can handle. Who knows. I’m just excited to watch how your 2016 unfolds!!! You’re a rockstar in my books.

    1. Thank you, Jess! I am really excited to give this plan a shot. I’ve always followed generally traditional plans – moderate mileage during the week, long run on the weekend. Over the past few years, my 20 mile long runs were extended to 23 miles. I am excited to see if anything changes with some tweaks in my training!

    1. It definitely is daunting. I am used to the 6 day per week thing, but the consistent speed works is what scares me. Like, when the tempo runs and track workouts start (in like the second week!), they are present every SINGLE week until basically the week before the marathon. It’s scary! I’m certainly excited to try it, though! Good luck tomorrow, Maddie!!! CRUSH IT!

  28. Christ. Where have I been? And how did I miss your post?!?! Oh I know. I’ve been recovering with a delicious IPA in one hand and a lobster roll in the other. I AM SO STOKED YOU’RE GOING TO GIVE IT A WHIRL!!! I can not wait to see how it goes for you. Girl, you are a beast. You’re also one of my Blogging Idols so I’m super fly stoked that you followed along on my bat shit crazy journey. I drank the Cool-Aid. And shaved close to 26 minutes off of my last few marathons. And broke a 6 year PR by about 3 minutes.

    I guess I can say that I’m a believer. You will slay this. I can’t wait to read all about it!


    1. Hahaha well I am trying it because you inspired me so much and are one of MY blogging idols! I would read your posts every week and be like she ran how many freaking tempo miles?!?!?! I didn’t start yet and I can safely say I drank the Kool-Aid too. I think you should take another sip of it and train for the Kentucky Derby marathon 🙂

      1. I just poured myself a glass. Hmmmm. I’m thinking about it, Lady! I can NOT wait to see what you think of it. Especially because you’re so damn fast to begin with. Beast!!!!

      2. Ahhhh can’t wait. Well, I can wait because I know once I start it’s game on. Ha! If anything, I would be happy to take away how strong your felt running your race – I think I’m chasing that even more than the PR!!

      3. I really did. Strongest I’ve ever felt in 8 marathons and 1 ultra. I thought I felt strong for the VT50 I ran. That was nothing comparatively. Stick to it. They’re not a fan of cross training. You goal is to run. And run you shall. My Other Half did it too. He’s a cyclist and an all around gifted athlete. I hate him that way. That is, if I didn’t love him. He ran his first with Hansons. His goal was 3:00. And his finish time? 3 effen hours on the goddamn nose. He stuck to the plan but wound up running his “long run” at race pace which I believed was foolish. It just didn’t give him enough time on his legs. This time around- he BQd on his first try. Bastard- he’ll slow his long run down. You’re beat your legs into submission by teaching them how to run at your race pace. The long run isn’t necessarily for that, believe it or not. I need to get my review up….I’m overflowing with Hansons Talk. Either that or I’ve had too much coffee. xoxo

      4. I am slightly worried about the cross training thing because I do enjoy it, but I figure the only other thing I am really going to want to do is the pole stuff, and that’s really more like strength training. Amazing about your Other Half!!! BQ on his first try – WHAT???? I actually do like the long run pace they have listed for me. It’s on the slower end of what I normally do, but still in the range so the wild card is going to be the tired legs. One thing that is a little confusing – there is a recovery run, aerobic a and aerobic b listed for easy paces. How did you decide which to use on your easy days?? I just finished a venti coffee from Starbucks so I’m also on a roll. Hahahaha ❤

      5. Yes. BQ on his first marathon ever. I’m glad he isn’t a “Runner.” Ass. I let my body tell me. I’m not sure what Hansons says exactly but if I felt good- I kicked it up within their recommended range. When I felt like the 6 mile easy run was the last 6 of the marathon (and you will feel that way) I took it slower. Listen to those strong gams. They’ll tell you. *grabs cup of coffee number 2*

  29. And the 16 mile run. Believe me. There was NO WAY I thought I was going to endure a marathon training program and be successful at it with that teeny tiny long run. But. The concept of cumulative fatigue is VERY REAL. Hansons et al. LIVE BY IT. My legs never really felt fresh until race day. They were fatigued the whole damn time. Also, your long run isn’t done at race pace. It’s done at a moderate aerobic/long run pace which isn’t all that fast. For you, you might feel as if it’s down right slow. However, time-wise, you’re on you feet longer than if you busted out your traditional zippy long run. If I were to change anything? I would add miles to SOS runs. Don’t dick with the long run. Your legs already know what to do. And on race day, they’ll know how fast to do it. 🙂

    Thank you for the incredible shout out! Like I said above- you’re one of My Blogging Idols! Xo

    1. Thank you so much for your tips! I am still tweaking a few things. I think I remember you saying you usually aimed for a 2 mile w/u and c/d on the SOS runs. The book says 1-3 miles w/u and c/d is the goal, so maybe I will start with aiming for the 3 mile range if I want to add miles on anywhere, especially since you’ve already been through this and were so successful! Your training seriously inspired the heck out of me, and a lot of other people too!! I am preparing myself for 18 weeks of tired legs by just running easy right now just to remember that sometimes it does feel good to run, haha. Oh, and I’m hydrating with lots of IPAs to channel my inner Colby 🙂

      1. If I were as badass as you, that’s exactly what I would do- increase mileage with w/u and c/d on the SOS runs. I would do nothing less than 1.5 miles – so 3 total- but mostly I did 2 + 2. I am bowled over by the inspiring bit. That makes me feel so goddamn good. Thank you. And I’m telling you, carb up with IPAs. That shit is gold. 😉

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