Boston Marathon Training: Hansons, Week 1

So much to recap! I’m still crazy busy with holiday preparations – I even ended up taking a day off of work to get some things done. We have such a big family and I host a fancy Christmas Eve dinner for 25 people at my house, so my life is consumed by holiday preparations these days. I need to get caught up on everyone’s lives, but I really didn’t want to skip recapping my first week of Boston training, so here it is!

As for my post last week, I was asking what to get my mom for her 60th birthday. I am going to take her to see Cirque du Soliel in Philadelphia. The show isn’t until May, but I got us front row seats. The show is called Ovo, and I can’t WAIT! We live about an hour outside of Philly and I used to go there very often. My parents are from New York City and we live about an hour and a half from there, so when they want to go to a city, it’s usually New York. I’m excited to take my mom to Philly. I’m thinking brunch before in Rittenhouse Square, and then we can walk around the shops on Walnut Street.

I still had a pretty relaxed attitude towards training this week, but I started following the plan. Technically, my training plan didn’t start until Wednesday and it was supposed to begin with a rest day, but I took Tuesday as my rest day instead. Moving forward, I don’t plan on shuffling the days around if I don’t have to but with the holidays and being so busy with life in general it just needed to happen.

At this point, I’m not really posting too many paces because they are all the same – slow (for me). It is starting to feel easier again, and I think a few track workouts and tempo runs will really help. I am at least able to say that my legs feel better when running. For awhile, it just felt awkward, clumsy and so hard. Now it just feels hard.

My goal for the spring isn’t a secret, and I’ve been chasing a 3:05 for awhile. Technically, I’d love sub-3. But my PR of 3:06 is almost two years old, and the closest I’ve come to touch it it was a 3:12 this past October. I was torn between using the paces for a sub 3:10 or going for the 3:05. I’m going to stick with the 3:05 but adjust if things get too nasty and I start to feel burned out.

The paces I’m using come from the Hansons plan are as follows:

Marathon Goal –  3:05
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs –  7:03/mile
Recovery Runs – 9:11/mile
Aerobic A/Easy – 8:36
Aerobic B/Easy – 8:01
Long Run: 7:42

Right now, every run on my schedule should be in the easy pace range – even the the “long” runs are listed as easy for the first two weeks. The only modification I’ve made is with the tempo run. Those begin in week 3, and it begins with six daunting miles at marathon pace. With the break I had and how running has been feeling, I just didn’t like the idea of going from 0 miles at marathon pace to six. It seemed like a bit too much on my body and I wanted to ease myself into it.

Last Thursday (since those will be tempo days), I did one mile at marathon pace in my run. This past Thursday, I did three (and it was HARD!). Next week, I’m shooting for 4, then 5, and then the real tempos begin. Once I’m doing formal tempo runs, I like how you stay at the same distance for three weeks in a row. When I start the six miles at marathon pace, I do it for three weeks in a row before I increase to seven. It doesn’t make it any less scary, but I am hoping it will help trick my body into running fast for a longer period of time.

Monday, 12/14: 5 Mile Easy Run + Pole Fitness

I don’t remember much about this run except that I felt better than I deserved. I remember that I went to the parkway after work, and I remember expecting it to feel hard because of the 10 I did the day before on the hills. To my surprise, I sort of felt like the old me (just a bit slower). It was a good run. Afterwards, pole class was fun. We worked on something that I don’t know the name of. The teacher was calling it a “Pegasus” variation, but I have no idea what a Pegasus is:

Tuesday, 12/15: Rest

Glorious. I got my nails did for the holidays:


I’m not usually so girly but my sister in law, Tracie, does them for me. She is a hair stylist and has the machine to cure the gels at her house, which is conveniently located 2 miles from me.

Wednesday, 12/16:  5 Mile Easy Run+ Pole Fitness 

Another good run! I’d planned to do this run on Tuesday, but had to move it to Wednesday to accommodate life. I was soooooo tired when I pulled up to the trail to run, but once I started I felt really good. I headed right to the pole studio and felt pretty decent. I learned a variation of the Fleur De Lis:

The original Fleur De Lis is one of my favorites, where you keep the top leg bent. The straight leg variation is a bit harder to do, but I think the original is prettier.

Thursday, 12/17: 8 Mile Tempo Run w/3 Miles @ Goal Marathon Pace + Pole Fitness

This was a win. I wanted to do 2-3 miles at marathon pace. I really wanted to make it to three miles because it would make my progression to six miles at marathon pace a bit easier, but I had no idea what to expect. I took the day off from work to get some holiday stuff done, and it was absolutely POURING. I considered the treadmill, but figured since it was over 50 degrees to suck it up. I headed out and managed three miles in the midst of it all slightly below marathon pace, around a 7:00/mile. I used to try to get my tempo runs under 7 minute miles, but that isn’t my goal yet so I’m staying as close to the pace guidelines as possible. Besides, shit is going to get real when I need to be doing 10 miles at that pace. I need to stick to the plan and take one day at a time.

In a few weeks, when the real tempos start, I will be dropping my Thursday night pole classes. Until then, I am still going. It’s great strength training so I see it as a bonus, and it forces me to stretch a little. I was tired but so glad I went because I learned a really hard combo that I’ve been eyeing up for awhile. It’s still rough but once I get it perfect, I’ll post a video. The combo ends with one of my favorite moves, a Janeiro. Except it was a variation of the move that I never did before, and I might like it better than the original Janeiro:


Friday, 12/18: 6 Mile Recovery Run + Pole Fitness 

I keep trying to go to bed early, but it isn’t working. I ended up staying up so late on Thursday and almost skipped this run. I wasn’t willing to do it during my lunch based on what happened last Friday with the fire drill, and I really wanted to go to pole after work. So I hit the road at 5am. I don’t love running on my road. It’s out and back, and you are always running slightly uphill or slightly downhill. I didn’t feel awful, and considering the tempo and pole class the day before I’d call that a win. Pole class at night was fun, but I was still working on that combination from Thursday. I was up so late getting things done for the holiday – wrapping presents, baking, knitting, etc.

Saturday, 12/19: 6 Mile Easy Run 

Since my husband is one of ten brothers and sisters, my mother-in-law always has a separate day for their family Christmas. We call it Fiorini Christmas, and it’s usually the Saturday before real Christmas. We spend the entire day – from early in the morning until night – at my in-laws. It’s a long day, but lots of fun. I got up early and got my run done, but that was all for the day. We had a great time at my in-laws and got to spend the day with family:

imageAll of our nieces and nephews…they are so adorable!!!

Sunday: 12/20: 10 Mile Easy Run 

I woke up with a headache (probably from all of the sugar the day before) and had a bad feeling about this run. I was feeling like it might suck. It was my mom’s 60th birthday, so I was in charge of making a cake. I made this Salted Caramel Apple Cake with layers of peanut butter buttercream, chocolate ganache, and homemade caramel. You know those pictures on Pinterest – the fails – that they caption, “Nailed It”? Well, that was my cake. I wish I took a picture of it. It was horrendous looking, but actually tasted pretty good. I guess that’s all that matters, right?

In between making the cake and the other components, I left for my run. I felt okay as I began running, and was surprised when I looked down during my first mile and was cruising around an 8:08 pace and it felt effortless. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my pace lately and thought that might be a touch too fast to start my run, especially since last week’s 10 felt ROUGH. I was using the same route as last week, and it’s really hilly.

I hit the second mile and my pace dropped below an 8 minute mile. I was concerned but decided as long as I felt good, I would just go with it. I kept my pace extremely consistent for the rest of the run and ended up with a 7:54 pace overall. For long runs, I will need to pick that up a bit (my long run pace according to Hansons is 7:42) but this run was still labeled as an “easy” run on my plan and so it was actually faster than it needed to be. I didn’t mind since I have to pick up the pace on my long run in week 3.  It will be good to ease myself into it.

My last mile was my fastest one, and it felt great to finish a run and not feel like death. We had a blast going out to dinner and then back to my house for cake to celebrate my mom’s birthday.

image image

I love the holidays, but they are kicking my ASS this year!! I will be more consistent again after this week!

How’s your holiday season treating you? Do you have a lot of family obligations, or do you spend time relaxing? I grew up as part of a small family, so having to prepare for the holidays with my husband’s huge family is still an adjustment, and we’ve been married for 10 years!

Swim:  0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥  Run: 40 miles

48 Replies to “Boston Marathon Training: Hansons, Week 1”

  1. Nice job on your long run! It’s funny how hard it is to predict if a run will go well or not. I had a really hard speed workout on Tuesday, so I thought my tempo run on Thursday was going to suck, but I actually ended up feeling great and running it too fast.

    I’m home at my parents’ house for the holidays. Luckily, my family is boring and easily overwhelmed (it must be genetic!), so it’s never overly crazy (and if it is, it’s acceptable to just say you’re overwhelmed and go spend 30 minutes holed up in a bedroom somewhere). I spent last Christmas with my boyfriend, and his family obligations on Christmas day blew my mind.

  2. I love love love Philly. I lived there during grad school and also for half a year when I was 23. I miss it, so it was fun going back for a few days over Halloween weekend.

    Holy moley, 10 brothers and sisters! That does sound like one heck of a family Christmas party 🙂

    Aaaaand, I officially feel like a lazy lump reading your week one of Hanson’s and your pole fitness. 😉

  3. Nice week! That’s so exciting that you’re back in the game! I honestly think it will really benefit you to run at the much slower paces Hansons recommends during this cycle. You may not like it at first, but I bet you won’t feel as fatigued and exhausted all the time and your harder workouts will start to feel a lot better. We always have to be careful about overtraining, especially when we’re zealously chasing big goals, and I believe one of the best ways to do that is just simply slowing down. Don’t give up on that 3:05, or that sub-3. You have it in you, it might just take something new (like Hansons!) to finally bring it out. Anything worth wanting is worth being patient for 🙂

    Good luck with your holiday prep! That sounds pretty zany, but it will be so nice to have the fam all together, I’m sure. I’m excited for the new year, and everyone to be back in blogland. Seems like we’re all kinda scattered this time of year 🙂

    1. Ugh, I am just now getting back to everyone because things have finally calmed down at home AND at work. I think I like the Hansons plan so far!! I will do some updates soon. I’m struggling with the speed paces a bit but hoping it gets easier as the weeks go on. Hope all is well, lady!!! Love seeing you on Fitbit ❤

      1. I love you, but being your friend on FItbit is the bane of my existence right now. How am I ever supposed to catch up when you are always 30K steps ahead of me??? LOL

      2. Okay so the problem is not me – it’s my FREAKING BROTHER. HE IS KILLING ME. Rob is my brother. He has a desk job but he gets close to me in steps and he can’t beat me! Do you know that I was so worried about him passing me today because I don’t run on Wednesdays that I hauled my ass to the gym at 5am to do 30 min on the elliptical? I need to defriend him. He runs, but not that much – if he beats me, I will never hear the end of it!!! Funny thing about your comment, my friend at work, Leanne said the SAME thing today. If Rob could just chill out, I would back down!! Ha!

      3. LOL! I totally hear you, I’ve gotten WAY too competitive about this thing!! Yesterday I threw a hissy fit because I went to spin class and it didn’t count steps for that (even when I entered it as a workout), so then my step count seemed low and one of my friends passed me and I was like “NO! But I cycled 19 miles today!! It’s not fair!” Someone needs to take this thing away from me.

      4. DUUUUUDE I FEEL YOU. I used to swim more but it doesn’t give me steps. I would have MUCH RATHERED swimming today. I HATE the elliptical. The stuggle. Real. I am with you, sis.

  4. Great job on your first week of Hansons! It’s smart of you to add in some shorter marathon pace runs – that first jump to 6 miles at marathon pace is rough! You maybe be able to get a 3:05 or faster with Hansons – it is a great plan for getting a huge PR and it definitely builds speed during those last several weeks where you have the 10 mile marathon pace runs and the strength workouts at half marathon pace.
    Good luck with your holiday prep and Merry Christmas!

    1. I’m due for lots of catching up and updates but man Hansons is kicking my butt!! Did you struggle with the speed paces in the first few weeks? I’m thinking I lost more fitness than I realize or maybe I set too lofty of a goal! Hope you are well!!!

  5. Yay for marathon training!! I’m SO jealous, LOL!! Great 1st week and I’m always so impressed at how you squeeze everything in your day. Super excited to follow your marathon sub 3 journey!! ❤

  6. I’m sure it’s exciting to be starting your Boston training!
    I’m feeling about 75% ready for Christmas…I have some baking to do still but have another two days to pull it off. We are relaxing at home for Christmas and then on the road for a few days with my family.
    Merry Christmas!

  7. Awesome first week! I’m glad to hear that you are easily getting back into the higher mileage too many issues. With December drawing to a close I’m just starting to feel a tiny bit worried that my longest run since my October marathon was 7.5 miles. I know that once I get back into it, it shouldn’t be an issue, but yeah, definitely starting to feel nervous that all of my fitness is just gone.

    And wow, 25 guests for Christmas Eve. No wonder you are so busy.

    1. How’s it going? Lots to catch up on here since I’ve been MIA. I am struggling a bit because I took some time off after my November marathon. Think I lost a little more fitness than I intended. It’s definitely making training tough!!! Hope it’s been easier for you!!

  8. Looks like you had a great week for returning to training! I don’t blame you to take the break with how you felt after the marathons and the injury issues. I followed the Hansons Half plan and it really worked for me, I liked the longer tempos at half marathon pace. I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do for a full, but I think you will be fine. You get a ton of cross training in with pole fitness, too. Glad you guys are having a great Christmas so far (and yeah, I also had to take a day off work to do stuff- yikes!).

    1. Thanks lady! I am just getting caught up with blog life again. Did you find that it was hard to hit your paces in the early weeks of training with Hansons? I might have set too high of a goal for my fitness level. It’s been struggle bus central here!

      1. It was a long time ago, but yeah, it was a struggle to hit paces occasionally, especially in the very long tempo runs (and when they conveniently fell on hot days). In fact I struggled hitting paces in the heat that I kinda just ran the speed workouts based on effort.

      2. That’s what I did last week. I was coming off of a nasty cold that I had in week 3, so the tempo run on week 4 was done on effort. It was horrendous! But hoping it will get a little bit easier each week!

  9. All the pictures of you and your family are beautiful! 10 brothers and sisters- that’s a lot! I am so excited to spend time with my family this holiday.

    Do you have a hard time slowing down to 9:11 per mile? When I do easy/recovery type runs, I just go by feel, but it is never more than like 40 seconds slower than more normal “la la la” pace. (La la la = just roll out of bed and run, still can talk, it’s not hard, etc) I know you are A LOT faster than me, that is why I ask this!

    1. Sorry I’m just getting back to you now. I was so burned out from the holidays that I took a little blogging break! My easy paces are from 8:01-8:36, recovery pace is 9:11. I do the 9:11 when I’m at the end of my track workouts and tempo runs and I have no problem – if anything I’d go slower, LOL! I also go closer to that on Fridays. I do my tempo runs after work Thursday but run at 5am on Friday. Not a lot of recovery time! I actually love to run a little slower, though.It feels good!! I used to have a tough time slowing down because mentally I didn’t like it. Physically, I love it!

  10. I love all your pictures. I like the idea of holding the miles (for tempo) for 3 weeks before increasing it by a mile. That’s really smart. How long will the longest tempo run be with how many miles run at race pace?

    1. Sorry I’m just getting back! I was burned out from the holidays. Anyway, longest tempo run is 10 miles at marathon pace – with a 1-3 mile w/u and 1-3 mile c/d so it could be a 16 mile run. It sounds so scary, especially since I’ve not been feeling speedy at all lately!!! Hope you are doing well!!!!!

  11. Yikes, that is a crazy busy week! My family is pretty small, so the holidays are pretty relaxing for me, which is great. I’m so excited to read all about your Hansons training. I asked for the book for Christmas, and I’m not sure I will stick to his training methods 100% for my next marathon, but I really like the idea of the tempo runs at marathon pace and incorporating that into long runs… Definitely will be a challenge though, so we’ll see what happens!

  12. I’m really loving your blog and glad I found it! I need to do some back-reading to see why you are coming back to your fast pace – I am in a similar situation myself, after a long injury/surgery hiatus, and you are providing much inspiration, so thanks! And so glad I get to see someone do Hansen’s because – yeah. I don’t want to be the one to experiment. They have such great athletes, but – 16 miles?!

    1. So sorry I’m just getting back to you. I took a blogging break over the holidays 🙂 I had a decently fast fall and after a decent marathon (3:12, but I was shooting for 3:05ish and took it out way too fast), I got roped into running the RW Half Marathon just one week later. I ran it in 1:30 and it was my 2nd fastest half but strained my calf since it was only a week off of the marathon. I started Hansons but I’ve been having trouble getting my speed back. It will come!!! Anyway, the Hansons plan isn’t just 16 miles – I thought the same thing! Your long run is supposed to be 25-30% of your weekly run volume, so 16 miles is what most people end up with. I will probably go to 18 or maybe even 20 based on the numbers. I’d originally planned to add miles and tweak the advanced program to keep my current base but I had to take quite the break from my calf (it’s STILL weird!) so I am currently up to about 50 miles per week right now. I will keep trying to increase and add miles as the weeks go on and that will make my long run longer than 16 miles. Does that make sense? I actually emailed the authors and got a reply from Luke Humphrey himself about it because I had the same reservations – 16 miles?! The cumulative fatigue thing though. It’s a real thing. Wow. Hope you are doing well!

  13. Great first week! I’m always amazed at how much you fit into the day! I really hope that your training goes well and I’m excited to learn more about Hansons.

    I can’t imagine the craziness with the big family that your husband has. I also come from a small family, but my husband is one of five and that’s hectic enough for me.

    Cirque du Soliel with your mom sounds like so much fun! That’s a great gift. I would love to go to one of those performances one day.

    Good luck with your holiday prep and have a Merry Christmas, Allison!

  14. What a week! Sounds like a fun albeit busy one. I’m really glad the running felt better this week for you!! So excited to see what happens with your training using Hansons plan 🙂 Merry Christmas!!!

  15. Yay, Boston training!! I can’t believe it’s that time already. Glad to hear you’re feeling better. I have no doubt that 3:05 is on the horizon for you!! I’m really not sure how I want to structure my training for Boston yet and seeing everyone start to train means I really should figure that out!! What other races do you have on your calendar this winter/spring?

    1. Arggghhh I had a rough start to Boston training – got sick AGAIN right after I started. I’ve been feeling very slow lately and don’t know about that 3:05. I’m thinking the Kentucky Derby Marathon. You???

  16. What a week!!!!!!!!! I’m so proud of you for kicking off Hansons the week before Christmas. Badass. I’m also in love with all of your pole pictures. So. Stunning. As for Hansons, just remember: You’ve got 17 weeks to train your legs to go fast. Go easy. And fast they will go. Easy runs will blow. You’ll doubt yourself. And you will be tuckered. But 18 weeks from now, those damn legs will crank that pace. I can’t wait to watch. Merry Christmas, Lady!!!

      1. xoxo Awwww, thanks 🙂 I am loving it though. You know what I love? The structure. Like I’m terrified of the intervals and tempo every week, but I know it’s there. No surprise. It doesn’t change the days I’m doing it. I really like that.

  17. Wow! With all the family stuff going on, you still rocked your training week. You go girl! I love how dedicated you are to pole fitness; I need to find something like that.

    I thought my mom being one of six made for a big family, but one of ten, whoa! That’s awesome!

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks girl! I held it together before Christmas but after Christmas was a whole other story. Super burned out and took a blog break!!! I’m back now though 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

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