Boston Marathon Training, Hansons: Week 5

I know, I know. What happened to weeks 2-4?

Training happened, and some didn’t happen due to being pretty sick over the holidays. Blogging definitely didn’t happen (I’m so sorry!! I missed all of you!!! I started to get caught up last Friday…I still have more reading and commenting to do!). I was burned out and just zoned out while watching TV and knitting…my lazy alter-ego took over. I feel like weekly training recaps are the same as getting on the scale to lose weight. Like as soon as I start doing it, things get better. It’s just a matter of doing it again.

Speaking of stepping on the scale, I went a little nuts and ate whatever I wanted too. It was glorious. When we came back to work on 1/4, we started a Biggest Losers club at our school. 30 teachers joined! We did a $10 buy in so the “Biggest Loser” will win 80% of that, 20% to second place and the 3rd place gets their money back. We are organizing weekly fitness classes and have little prizes to distribute.

I am not overweight but I want to lose what I gained over the holidays (from Thanksgiving to New Years, 7lbs! I can’t say I’m shocked) and maybe an additional 5-7 lbs to be at racing weight for Boston. So I joined the club. I know there are people who want to kick off a huge loss goal (one woman wants to lose like 60 lbs) so I have no intentions of winning. I wanted to support the crew and give them my $10 to make the pot a little bigger and more lucrative. I am also going to dust of my yoga mat and teach a few free yoga classes to the crew. It’s been awhile since I taught anything.

So weeks 2&4 happened and were mainly fine, even though I was exhausted in week 2 from the holiday and felt horrendous. No recap of those weeks because I did NOT want to own up to anything I did. I did go for a run in shorts and a tank on Christmas morning, though. That was awesome.

Week 3 was an absolute shit show and we aren’t going to rehash that. I don’t think I ever fully recovered from the cold from hell over Thanksgiving, and it came back with a serious vengeance over week 3. Enough said.

As far as the Hansons plan is concerned, I think I love it. I say “I think” because I live in fear of most runs: the tempos and interval days are hardcore, and then you get these “easy” runs thrown in that feel NOTHING but easy. I feel like my running is WAY more structured using Hansons. Even things like chores and meal planning seems to be a little less chaotic because I have the same schedule each week. The running, however…HARD! SO HARD! You guys, this plan is NO FREAKING JOKE. Before following Colby, I always thought Hansons was the slacker plan. Ha. Ha. HA. Let me tell you – my legs have no idea what hit them.

Here’s my pace guide:

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

Monday, 1/11: 7 Mile Easy Run + Pole Fitness

I felt pretty good. I was only scheduled for six miles but in the Hansons plan, they say to add on your easy runs if you want more volume. I ended up running with Emily and she wanted to just do a portion of my run. By the time I ran her to her car to meet her and then back to my car (we were parked in different lots at the parkway), I was at 7 miles. I felt good, and I was right in between my Aerobic A/B paces.

I went to pole class, but lately it’s been all combo work so that means all videos. I promise to get some good pictures soon!

Tuesday, 1/12: Track Workout: 3 mile warm up, 5×1000 w/400 recoveries, 3 mile cool down (about 10 miles) + Myrtls/Core

We FINALLY HAD SNOW IN THE FORECAST which was awesome, but I didn’t know when it was going to hit and I didn’t know what it would do to the track. I ended up on the treadmill, but it was a great workout. I was holding my intervals at about a 6:15 pace (9.6 mph), trying to do my 1000s in under 3:54. This is the slower end of my speed range, and more consistent with running around a 3:10 marathon. It was a HUGE improvement from my 800s last week though, which I felt terrible for. Also I didn’t go flying off the treadmill so I really consider that a win. Speed wise, I am not where I want to be right now but each run is getting better.

I did MYRTLs and core after I was done. I felt pretty good after the workout.

Wednesday, 1/13:  30 Minutes Elliptical + Core+ Pole Fitness 

I wanted to do something to loosen my legs up, so I went to the gym for the elliptical. It was a ‘rest” day on my plan, but I felt stiff so I wanted to get moving. I could only stomach 30 minutes on that tortuous machine – I really dislike the elliptical – and followed it up with about 20 minutes of core work.

After work, I headed to pole and we kept working on combos, but I did get a cool picture of a move I learned called a Chestbreaker:


It actually doesn’t hurt my chest and I really liked it. The thing that scared me about it was the entrance. You get into it from a shoulder mount. I had trouble in the beginning getting my shoulder mount, and even though I can do it now I get nervous anytime it’s part of a move or a combo.

Thursday, 1/14: 11 Mile Tempo Run w/6 Miles @ Goal Marathon Pace + MYRTLs/Core

Holy crap. I was dreading this run like you would not BELIEVE. I was so scared I wasn’t going to be able to do it. Last week, I was on the STRUGGLE BUS. I did last week’s on the treadmill because I was just scared of it, and I had a rough time. Last week, I couldn’t touch that 7:03 pace for one mile. Well, it was a brand new week and I went in with a positive attitude. My legs felt great. My lungs weren’t too happy with the cold weather, but I actually averaged under a 7 minute mile for half of the miles, and hit my pace for the run. I was on cloud nine! I went home and did MYRTLs, core, and a little yoga. I was beyond excited.

Friday, 1/15: 7 Mile Recovery Run + Pole Fitness 

I’ve decided that my most dreaded run of the week is actually the Friday easy run. You see, I do the tempo run on Thursday after work, but I do my Friday run in the morning. If I plan to run after work, I’ll miss pole class and I really like the Friday class. If I go at lunch, there will probably be a fire drill and I’ll be put in another weird situation (we actually got an e-mail on Thursday warning us that there might be one, and I was not taking chances with that again).

There’s less than 12 hours of recovery in there, and I have to run at O-Dark-Thirty (I started at 4:45 am this week). It’s on the road that my house is on, which is not my favorite place to run. I could keep whining, but I think you get it. I keep this run closer to a recovery pace because I feel like complete asshole. There isn’t a lot to re-cap, except that I survived and it’s over. Sweet Jesus, thank you for that.

Friday’s pole class was mostly a review of the combos and moves we did earlier in the week. It was really fun and low key, and I got a cool video of my jade split that I posted on Instagram. Any moves with the word “split” are usually horrific for me and my tight hamstrings, and the jade split is never my favorite since you need to get your legs pretty straight. It’s not a hard move, but mine still isn’t great. For some reason, it didn’t look awful on Friday!

Saturday, 1/16: 6 Mile Easy Run + Pole Fitness 

It was a damp, rainy morning and I ended up wearing too much clothing for this run because by the end of it, it was sunny and warm. I didn’t feel terrible but I kept the pace nice and easy. I headed right to pole class afterwards and my two sister in laws and I had a blast playing around with some doubles/triples moves:

My sister-in-law, Tracie, on the left and me on the right in pink and yellow doing extended butterflies:


And regular butterflies:

Then the three of us (I’m on the floor in the backbend!):


Sunday: 1/17: 12 Mile Easy Run

This was awesome. I wasn’t sure how it would go. I ran with one of our local runners, Megan, who is super speedy. She’s won Steamtown and has qualified for the Olympic Trials. She claims she’s “slow” these days – well, we hung on to a 7:20 overall pace and had a blast doing it. I felt so awesome. We talked the whole time and the miles FLEW by. Honestly, I needed a run like this SO badly and had such a great time running with her. She’s super sweet and down to earth. We ran on the Plainfield trail, and started a little later than I usually begin long runs (10am – I’m usually running around 6:30 with Mark and Kathy, but they were running the Houston Chevron Marathon). It was such a great run. I needed it!!

Overall, this was a productive week. I began to feel a lot better with my running, diet, and life in general.

Have you ever had one run, or a week of running that made you feel like things were back on track?

Swim:  0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥  Run: 53 miles


67 Replies to “Boston Marathon Training, Hansons: Week 5”

  1. Holidays sabotaged my scale too… I’ve always wanted to hit a racing weight but I always plateau at a certain weight. I just do not have the discipline to stay away from all the ice cream!! I’ve tried… You may know I’m training for Nashville marathon in April and I’ve been trying to follow the Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger up to 70 miles plan and it’s kicking my butt. After two weeks I feel like lead….so I’m wondering if I’ve packed too much on my plate? I know marathon training leaves you fatigued but if I’m starting out this way will I be able to finish? The reason I chose this plan is because my body comfortably handles 50ish miles a week and I needed an extra challenge because I’m bent on qualifying for Boston. But ugh. His plan has long tempos too…

    1. Duuuude we are soooo the same. I plateau at the same place and never ever get past it because I love all of the food too much and refuse to totally deprive myself!!!! I love Pfitzy. He’s my main squeeze when training usually. I’m trying this Hansons craziness and I might be a convert, but I have mad love for Pfitz. He got me to some serious PRs!!!! You will have a recovery week soon and your legs will feel better. I did like his 55 mpw plan and I would adapt it a little to get to 70, but I never straight up followed his 70 mpw plan because it started a little too intense each time I was starting. Usually because I was coming back from an injury and didn’t have the base! You got this, sister – keep it UP!!!!!!! I see a BQ in your future 🙂 🙂

      1. Thanks woman!! I figured with all that Savannah training I had a good base built. Even thought I. Didn’t get to run the full 😦 stupid weather. Oh well. It’ll be like I’ve trained doubly for Nashville lol

  2. Girl, you make me want to take pole fitness classes! I am sooooooo not flexible though. But it looks amazing! Yes, last week was a good week where I though ok…. You got this! I mean I have a long way to go, but I’m feeling much more confident👏

  3. We ARE living parallel lives! I wanted to post but couldn’t bring myself to do a weekly recap so that’s where the pathetic race report came in…and being sick suuuuucks! I wonder if it’s just because both of our summer/fall’s training was so intense that when we gave our bodies the tiniest rest they were like, “no ma’am, you are NOT going to jump back in with both feet dangit; actually take your break!” I mean, we’ll both be better for having a true off season, but as evidenced by my race and your workouts-we-won’t-speak-of it’s rough getting back into it! But we will and I’m going to live vicariously through your marathon build up since I’m relegated to short stuff for awhile.

    1. Ugh, the coming back has been nasty but we will get through it! There are also the little aches and pains associated with it. First I thought my calf was acting up. Then my achilles. Now my knee cap feels weird. Every week, it’s something else! I know it’s just the whole “my body needs to remember how to do this” kind of thing but I hate it. I wish I could rewind to September when I was at my peak fitness for fall and build from there, haha. I know that is completely irrational though 🙂 We willg et through this!

  4. I really enjoyed the holidays too so it completely makes sense. I think you are going to do well at Boston Allison and all plans have to start somewhere right?

    I remember last year talking with you about Hansons. It sounds like such an interesting plan.

  5. I started off this year with a nasty head cold so the next week of running/workouts was amazing, ha ha! I love that you are going to teach some free yoga class to your co-workers. “You live in fear of most runs”….love that, made me laugh!

    1. Haha! I am though! They all feel so HARD, even the easy ones!!! But I’m really giving this plan my all. It seems like the theme for this training is being comfortable with being uncomfortable, and that’s what the stupid marathon distance is all about – right? I call it stupid, yet I just keep doing them. Ha.

  6. I am the worst when I’m sick. I can’t concentrate on anything and I never have the energy to do anything. I’m definitely a rest-instead-of-run kind of sick person! Good work with your come back this week. I think you will rock Boston.

    1. Yup – I throw in the towel with sickness FOR SURE. If I don’t, I feel like I make it worse or prolong whatever is ailing me. Case and point, tried to train through it after Thanksgiving and wound up worse off at Christmas. Ugh! Hopefully it’s in the past. Thank you!!!

  7. Running with friends is the best way to have a GREAT run! Talking really makes the miles tick by!

    I love reading your training recaps and I am SO GLAD you are feeling more on your game these days and have left the sickness behind you. Love that 3 person pole move. How many people are generally in a pole class at one time?

    I would love to try pole but I have a question… my back is not flexible at all. My hips are pretty good and hamstrings but I can’t do a split or anything like that… Would I be able to do this? I lift several times a week but it’s more the flexibility thing I worry about.

    1. Thanks, Meg! You are so right, I think simply running and chatting away just made the miles fly by. We have 7 poles at the studio so you can have 7 people per class. You could technically have more in a level 1 class and have people share poles, but the owner tries not to do that! We have a group of 6-7 people that are about the same ability level and so we are always in class together. It is sooo much fun. Believe me when I say that I can’t do a split or anything that even resembles a split. You COULD DEFINITELY do this!!!! People who see these pictures seem to think I am flexible, but I really am not. The only thing that I have going for me is a flexible back and a good backbend. My hamstrings are actually HORRENDOUS. My hips are a little flexible but not as much as my teacher at the studio would like them to be. TRY IT! Come visit me and I will take you to a class 🙂

  8. What a kickass week! I was always under the impression that Hanson’s was a lower mileage plan but it looks as if I’m completely wrong! Are you planning on capping out at 16 for the long runs? Just curious to see how that works because it seems so counter-intuitive. I’m always so impressed by those pole moves – you guys look so great!

    1. Thank you!!! Yeah, I had some real misconceptions about this training plan until I followed Colby.

      I am not going to cap out at 16 miles. I am basing it on weekly volume. I hope to build to be in the mid 70s, and they say that your long run should be 25-30%. Colby recommended NOT adding miles to the long run, so I am going to go with a a happy medium. I’m using the 25% as my guideline. If I get back up to 70 miles per week, my long run will be 18 miles because that’s 25.1% of my weekly volume.

      The argument the Hansons program makes that if you follow the plan exactly (which I’m trying to do it to a T), then you have no rest days leading up to the long run. Your emphasis is having fresh legs for the two “SOS” runs (something of substance), which are track workouts and tempo runs every single Tuesday and Thursday for about 15 weeks of the plan. By the time you get to your long run on Sunday, your legs are tired and it’s like you are running the last 16 miles of the marathon instead of running your long run on fresh legs. The cumulative fatigue thing is so real. It’s insane. I am loving it!!!

      And thanks – I am so loving pole fitness! Totally addicted 🙂

      1. Thanks for this detailed response! I think I understood the basics of the Hanson plan but always thought the long runs sounded way too short but it makes sense if you’re simulating the last part of the race. Have you ever done a post on your running history? I’m assuming you didn’t get to 70 mpw overnight?

      2. I’ve done a couple of posts about how I got into running, but never about my training progression (hmmm, maybe I’ll get on that soon!). I started training for half marathons and generally logged 20-30 miles per week. I wasn’t very consistent. Then I started training for marathons and was logging about 30-40 miles per week – again, I was very inconsistent. When I wanted to qualify for Boston, I was more consistent and started seeing weeks in the mid to upper 40s. Once I was able to qualify, I found myself usually hovering in the 40-50 mile range. Then I wanted to get faster, so I started playing with weeks >50, then >60, now I top out in the 70s. I’m hoping I can go for an 80 mile week in the summer! I’ve been running for about 8 years now, so it’s been a slow progression 🙂

  9. What a great incentive to lose the holiday weight at your school! With the amount of running you’re doing, you should be able to reach your goal weight. The Hanson’s plan looks scary to me too with all the mileage. Awesome job this past week!

    1. Thank you! I am so excited about the program at school. It’s helped me get back on track for sure. There are some teachers who are looking to make a big change and I am so excited for them!!

  10. I definitely packed on a few pounds over the holidays too and I want it gone asap. I think that’s at least part of the reason why I’ve been on the struggle bus lately. I love the pics from your pole class. Those are so awesome! I just got Hanson’s book and I’ve been reading it here and there when I have free time. It sounds very interesting so far.

    1. I think that my eating habits had a LOT to do with my struggle bus status. I still have a few lbs to lose, but just by eating like my normal self I’ve felt so much better! I am still struggling to hit some paces but I seem to have more energy to at least try!

  11. No way- Hansons plan is anything but a slacker plan. I just did the half plan because I don’t run marathons but it was hard. Especially those tempo runs at pace. But by race day I knew how that pace felt and that was comforting. In fact, if I trained for a marathon, I’m not sure I’d want to use a plan as HARD as Hansons. Yes the long runs are shorter but the miles per week are longer and it has more “Something of Substance” quality workouts than most other plans. I would say those running using the Hansons plan run more miles in training than others. It may be a hard plan to juggle with cross training like pole, though.

    You had a great week despite all the setbacks with not feeling well early on in training. I bet as you keep training things will only get better. My job did a biggest loser once and had a maintain category so I did that. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for jobs to do especially this time of year, if nothing else it gets people practicing healthier habits.

    1. Thanks, Amy!!! It was a good week and I really needed the confidence boost. You’re so right – I am having to pick and choose with my cross training. I can still go to pole often not as often on the something of substance days. Those runs take it all out of me!

      My friends and I organized Biggest Loser at work, and we are 2 weeks in. People seem to be liking it and doing well!!! It was a great way to get me back on track. I still have a few holiday lbs to go, but it seems so doable since we are all doing it together!!!

      1. I’m slowly learning that the number on the scale shouldn’t bother me so much, more so how I look/feel/clothes fit. I think my “goal” weight is nearly unattainable because I am much stronger physically than I used to be, and muscle mass can be tricky when weighing yourself. I think you’re gorgeous! ❤

  12. Great week! I’m so glad you’re starting to feel happier with your training and more like your old self. As for your comment about your speed paces not being where you want them to be – my speed work paces are a little slower than I’d like too, but if you think about it, that makes sense – it’s supposed to build as we go along. Otherwise what would be do for the next 10-15 weeks? I’ve just been focusing on making sure the effort is there and trying to be consistent and strong, the better split times will come eventually.

    1. Thank you Hanna!!!! That’s exactly my line of thinking. If the paces aren’t out of reach now, then we would already be able to run our goal time therefore we wouldn’t need to “train” our bodies to get faster! Last week was like a glimmer of hope, so I hope to keep seeing improvements!

  13. Great week! I love when employers do things like Bigger Loser or a Weight Race.. mine is doing a Weight Race – & it starts 2/1.. I gained a few lbs over the holidays too, & would like to lose another 5-7.. so this should be a good kick in the butt! Good luck to you lady!

    1. Thanks, Ciara! My friends and I actually organized the Biggest Loser, and so far it seems to be going great!!! It’s so fun to have people to work with to get back on track. The holidays are my downfall every single year, but everything is so good. I can’t help myself!!!

  14. I feel like this past week was my “back on track” week too! Today marked the beginning of my marathon training, which I am SO psyched for! I’m glad you’re getting back in the swing of things and I can’t wait to read the rest of your weekly recaps! 🙂 Also, the pole moves are insanely cool.

  15. Great training week! I hear you on the scale battle. Between the holidays and a medication change, I feel like I ballooned in December. Grrr. Time to get to work. I’m still debating training styles though, just working on base building until after Surf City. I’ve never heard a bad thing about Hanson’s but it just sounds like more than I can handle. Have a great week!

  16. Oh, shit. I always thought Hansons was slacker too until I read this. I kinda want to try it! Is it lower mileage though? You know me and my mile addiction. I’ll check it out. What’s the link to the plan you’re doing?

    1. I really did think slacker plan. It’s so not. If you follow the advanced program to the BARE min requirements (I’ve been adding miles – but slowly bc I am coming back from a break – you could add way more right off the bat), the plan tops out at 63 miles. But I think Colby topped out at 68 miles, and I plan to be in the mid 70s like my last round of training. The places to add miles are on the something of substance runs (tempos and track wos) and the easy runs. The plan is written for you to max out at a 16 mile long run but that is based on a 63 mile week. You have to figure how long your long run is by deciding what 25-30% of your weekly mileage would be. The 16 mile run is a common misconception that runners hear and don’t understand. It’s only a 16 mile run if you are not adding miles on. Also, your legs are BEAT by Sunday so it’s like you are doing your long run on tired legs. Your rest day (if you take one) is mid week to give you fresh legs for the speed work, not the long run. I actually had to take my rest day yesterday because I had a ski trip planned and I’m actually annoyed because my legs felt great for my tempo run last Thursday.

      Hansons elite runners do 130 mile weeks and are running longer than 16 miles because it goes by percentage of overall volume. I am adding miles slowly and I am going to stick to the 25% volume because Colby recommended not increasing the long run. She CRUSHED her marathon.Her husband has broken 3 hours using the plan! I will likely increase the long run based on my weekly volume but I want to stay as close to the plan as possible.

      They have a web site, but their plan isn’t online unless you buy their online coaching program! I bought their book. It’s my new bible. I am really loving it. I’ve never been this structured or had this many speed workouts on my schedule!!! I’m 5 weeks in, and I had a pretty rough week 3 due to illness but I highly recommend so far.

      1. I read your reply back when you wrote it but I just came back to reply now. I’m going to check out the advanced plan now. I’m so intrigued! I’m running with my friend Lora today and she’s pretty fast, so I’ll see if we can do one of the workouts together.

  17. Great week! Those pole fitness pictures are nuts! I can’t imagine getting into those postures. Does a yoga background help with that? I’d love to try it out some time, but I live in a tiny town, and I don’t have access to cooler stuff like that.

    I think this week felt super on track for me, which I super needed. I’m glad to kinda be getting back into the swing of things.

    1. Thank you! The yoga background helps a LOT! I think I have an easier time picking up on many of the moves because of having body awareness from yoga. Like sometimes you need to do something like “externally rotate your hip” or something and people have no idea what that means. But as someone who did a teacher training program, taught and practiced yoga for years, it really helps a lot. I wish everyone had access to it, because it is a badass strength workout. I’m obsessed!!!!

      So glad to hear you felt super on track. That’s how I was feeling, too! I hope it continues this week for both of us 🙂

  18. Yaaaay you’re back!! I’ve had a few runs where one night was a hard workout and the next morning is easy/recovery and it’s just… Rough. Rough actually doesn’t even describe it!

  19. Ahhhh, I love marathon training. I love me some structure. Can’t wait to hear what you think about Hanson’s in the end. I find their plans intriguing. I also love that your workplace has created such a fun weight loss plan and that you have so many who joined. What a fun idea. And every time I see your pole pics I just wonder who was talented and crafty enough to come up with these moves in the first place. Seriously impressive!

  20. I never thought Hanson was a slacker plan – there’s a lot of work in that plan and not a lot of rest, even if you don’t hit a 20 miler. Oooooof. It seems like everyone is getting back into the swing of things after the holidays – the festivities and food certainly get to all of us, so hooray for coming out of that funk (and sickness!).

    And I would like to reiterate what everyone else says – the pole pictures are so awesome! I need to look into that…

    1. Thanks, lady!!! Yes you do – it’s so fun!

      I never knew enough about Hansons to realize that it wasn’t a slacker plan until I followed a few bloggers using it and WOW. It’s definitely kicking my butt back into shape after all of the holiday indulging!!

  21. Good to hear your training is on track. I have a long run with pace miles on Friday and I’m dreading it. I tried to enlist my speedier friend to go with me, but our schedules didn’t work out. Oh no, going it on my own!!
    Very cool “tandem” pole moves (ok, that probably not a thing, but it should be!).

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