Hansons: Post Race Thoughts & Round Two!

I’ve had a few weeks to reflect on using Hansons and this past season as a whole. I thought about what I liked, what worked, what didn’t, and what went wrong. I’ve come up with a few theories and ideas for moving forward. If you want to read my more “heartfelt” and “in the moment” post where I talked about how I benefited from Hansons, it’s here. It was really more of a post about my last tempo run turned sappy. If you would have asked me on that day, Hansons is all about sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and smiles. In reality, it’s certainly all of that, but add blood, sweat, and tears and it’s a lot little more accurate.

At this point, Hansons is an ideal plan for me and my current ability level, especially when following the program modifications. I learned more during this training block than I ever have before, which is more valuable than any PR. I learned so much about running, but also about myself.

What I Liked

I learned that I love following a plan with structure. In the past, I’ve used other training plans, a coach, or created my own plans. I’ve always lacked some sort of structure. I never did the same thing each week for the whole training cycle. This plan is very regimented and very simple: you always have a speed workout, a tempo and a long run (or an easy run depending on the week) each week on very specific days. This made scheduling “life” around training much easier. I never felt like I had to consult my training before I made plans – I knew what each week would bring. I’d try like hell to steer clear of doing “life things” on speed and tempo days. But if something happened and I had something else going on, I knew well in advance that I needed to make other arrangements to accomodate the workout.

I found that prefer running long on Sunday. In the past, I always ran long on Saturdays because it’s what my friends did. I don’t know if it was the way the plan was structured or just how my body felt, but I felt better running long on Sunday. Changing the day of my long run meant running solo or with new friends. I was still able to meet Kathy and Mark for a few miles on Saturday when they were running long, so it was like the best of both worlds.

I liked that as I followed this structured schedule and became dedicated to it, I stopped making decisions that worked better for everyone else. I don’t mean that to sound selfish or harsh. I realized how often in past training cycles I altered the pace or timing of a run to meet up with running friends. That’s fine to do sometimes, but at some point you need to be able to do the work on your own, too.

I like to think following this plan helped me figure out the line between taking myself too seriously, and having fun with my friends. I learned that it’s important to have a healthy balance: you shouldn’t always run solo, but you shouldn’t always run with a group. When you race, most times you race alone so it’s good practice. I know that makes me sound selfish, but I spent two years chasing PRs and something had to change if I wanted to see a change in the time on the clock.

What Worked

This could probably also be filed under “what I liked”, but whatever. I’m going to say it. I liked the speed, strength, and tempo run. It’s simple: they work.

The first ten weeks are devoted to building speed, so the workouts are run at 5K pace. Track workouts – this was nothing new. The progression, however, was new to me. In the past, I always jumped right to 800s or mile repeats and hoped for the best. Usually, I would do 3-4 track workouts in my whole entire training cycle. With Hansons, you start at the very beginning with 400s. Why do 400s in marathon training? Makes zero sense to me, so I never did it before (with the exception of my 2015 fall training cycle). With Hansons, your little 400s in week one turn into mile repeats by week eight. And – bonus – do you know what happened after actually working up to mile repeats? I ran a 5K PR – because I was ready for it.

By the time I got to week 11 and Hanson’s was telling me to switch to strength workouts, I was ready for the change of pace. Between the speed and the strength workouts, the strength workouts were my favorite. The focus was marathon pace minus 10 seconds per mile, and to hold that for just enough time that you were comfortably uncomfortable. The result? I felt unstoppable. The day I did my hardest workout from the strength set – 2×3 miles – I was on top of the world. I felt like I could do anything.

Let it also be known that workouts like “10 miles at marathon pace” still scares the absolute living shit out of me. I’m not saying this was ever easy, but ohmigosh. The feeling you get when you nail a workout like that. By yourself. On a Thursday afternoon in whatever the weather throws at you. YAS. You just know that you are capable of anything when you finish something like that. I’m not sure if you can sense it, but every item I’m listing as what “worked” for me all has something in common – confidence. I felt like I could DO this.

What Didn’t Work

This plan doesn’t address hill training. I made sure to try to choose rolling hills for my terrain for my long runs when possible, but I did use some flat trails for some of them occasionally to accommodate running with a group. I’d originally planned to do my easy days on roads with rolling hills, but as the weeks progressed, I wanted to do my easy runs on flat surfaces because my legs were tired. Sometimes, I was able to stick to the roads and incorporate a variety of terrain but most days I headed somewhere flat.

Most of my next training cycle is going to happen over the summer, when I have more flexibility in my schedule. The days are longer, and I’m not working since I’m a teacher. I’m able to go wherever I need to for my runs, so my goal is to try to stick to the track for my speed work, trails for strength workouts and tempo runs, and roads for my easy days. I’m not going to do hill repeats, but I will run hills. One day per week, I want to start running the hill by my house again – Honeysuckle Road. I’ve talked about that before, but I haven’t done it since the beginning of my fall training cycle. I haven’t done as a regular, weekly workout since 2014. This was an old picture from one of the last times I blogged about it:


What Went Wrong

I wasn’t sure why I didn’t have it at Boston (other than the heat, I truly didn’t feel amazing) and have spent some time considering what factors to attribute that performance to. I don’t know many people who ran the race they trained for that day, so I could blame it on the heat and move on. I want to learn from this experience, so I need to be honest and consider other factors.

Did I go out too fast? Was it really just the heat? Was it the duration of the Hanson’s taper? Was it the races I incorporated throughout my training? Was I fighting off a cold? I blogged that in the beginning of marathon week, I had a weird spot in my throat that felt sore but it went away by the middle of the week. The morning of the race, I woke up with a headache but just chalked it up to nerves. If the outcome of my race had anything to do with illness, there isn’t much more I could have done. I was diligent about sleeping, taking vitamins and walked around with a Clorox wipe in hand the whole week.

Part of what went wrong was absolutely my pacing. Technically, I trained for a 7:03. If you go back and look at my tempo runs, my average for the tempo miles was always just under seven minute pace. I would bet if I went back and averaged them all out from the entire cycle, they would average out to be 6:57. In Kentucky, when I started at a more appropriate pace, I ran a 6:57 pace for the marathon. I think part of what happened in Boston had to do with my excitement over my training, resulting in me going out just a touch too fast. If the weather had been a bit better and I felt 100% (assuming I just didn’t feel great in general), it’s possible I would have gotten closer to a PR that day. But I didn’t train for sub-3, and all of the stars are going to have to align for that to happen even when I do train for it.

I was talking to Megan on our run this weekend and we discussed all of these factors. She’s brutally honest with me, has broken three hours many times, qualified for the Olympic Trials, and has been a coach. Neither of us think I raced too much during this cycle, but she believes the timing of my final race was my biggest error. While I had a great day at the Kutztown Fool’s Run, she thinks it was too close to Boston. She didn’t think my taper was too short, but did think the final race was a big part of what went wrong in Boston, and I agree.

So putting aside the heat and the possibility that maybe I wasn’t feeling 100%, the timing of my races and my pacing on race day were my biggest issues. Moving forward, the lesson here is to run the pace I trained for from the beginning, and to stop adding tune up races to my schedule about a month out.

Moving Forward

Every weekly update I did throughout my spring training began with my marathon goal and my training paces. I began to consider what I want that to look like for fall. I realize the reality of the races I chose: a hot race in October (Southernmost in Key West) and a hilly one in November (Madison, WI) may not be conducive to running a PR or sub-3. I’m not going to let those factors dictate my goal for the race or scare me away. I will take the conditions of those races into consideration as I train for them – add races this summer to practice racing in the heat, add hills to get ready for hillier courses, etc – but I’m not going to back down. If there’s one thing I learned as I’m conquering this 50 state goal: there’s always going to be weird weather and a hill you didn’t know about if you’re choosing to run in unfamiliar territory. I’m not being cocky and saying I’m not scared of it. I’m acknowledging that there may be some challenges on race day and I’m willing to give it my all anyway.

I’m going to be modifying the schedule the same way I did before to make sure I peak in the 80s again. I’d like to see if I can peak closer to 90, but I’m taking things one day at a time. One mile at a time. The only area I never messed with last time around was the sacred Wednesday rest day. The program modifications chapter does, in fact, state that you can add easy miles on your rest day if you’re trying to run more volume. I don’t want to run 7 days/week for 18 weeks, but I’m considering it for every other week in this round of training. I planning very short distances (2-4 miles) at recovery pace to see how my body responds.

Training for Key West begins the week of June 6th. Here’s a sneak peek of what my weekly workout post will look like… 🙂

Marathon Goal –  2:57 (that looks really really scary on here)
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs –  6:45/mile
Recovery Runs – 8:45/mile
Aerobic A/Easy – 7:45/mile
Aerobic B/Easy – 8:25/mile
Long Run: 7:23

I was debating between 2:55 and 3:00 for my goal. Using Hanson’s online pace calculator, the improvement calculator, and the Hanson’s community page on Facebook, I came up with the 2:57. Luke Humphrey himself voiced his opinion and said 2:57 should be what I should aim for. This would be something like a 2.5% improvement in my current marathon time. The improvement calculator explains it like this: “Highly trained athletes should look for improvements in the 2-4% range, while newer runners can often expect slightly higher rates of initial improvements.” I believe 2.5% improvement is a reasonable goal.

I improved my marathon PR by almost five minutes this past spring. Running a 2:57 would be another five minute improvement. However, I hadn’t touched that time since 2014 and had been hovering in the 3:12 range on my best days over the past two years, so it was almost like a 10 minute improvement. I don’t think shaving 10 minutes off of a 3:02 is a wise goal, and five minutes is still extremely aggressive. My expectation is to train at 2:57 pace and hope to come in under three hours. At any rate, it’s certainly going to make it an interesting summer!


65 Replies to “Hansons: Post Race Thoughts & Round Two!”

  1. Glad to hear you’re giving Hanson’s another go around, and that you’ve got a handle on how to make it work even better for you. I’m excited for you to start this next round of training!

  2. People thought I was crazy trying to PR on a course like Pittsburgh. But I did it. It’s all about the training. I ate hills for breakfast for 18 weeks. And while that course kicked my BUTT, my training came through for me and I got the time I wanted, even surpassing my adjusted expectations for the race. PRing on a hilly course is not impossible. It’s hard, but it can be done with the right training and a STRONG mental game.

    Madison is a tough course, so even if you weren’t gunning for a PR I would strongly suggest LOTS of hills. Don’t just sprinkle them in here and there: do them every week. Hilly long runs are the best prep, but if you can afford to swap out some speed work sessions for a set of hard hill repeats, those really helped me too (they also helped my overall speed!). I know that deviating from the plan is sacrilegious in Hansons land, but seriously, hill repeats WORK. The hidden benefit is that I found it easier to recovery from hilly runs – less pounding :-).

    You can do it! I look forward to seeing you around here in November 🙂

    1. I’m just like you! People sometimes shy away from trying for a PR on different types of courses, but I see it as an opportunity. I run hills pretty well, and have had some great races on hills – so maybe it would be a good pick for me, like PGH was for you! I am planning to run my hill route weekly. I’ll see how it’s going when I run the Perk Up Half again in early August – SUPER hilly. If I think I’m feeling week on the hills, I will definitely incorporate hill repeats at that point for sure. Plus, I have five weeks between the two marathons so I can change my focus from speed to hill work during that time too. I am so excited – and SO EXCITED TO SEE YOU!!!!!!!!!

  3. 2:57 is a more appropriate goal for me too. Maybe even 2:59. What is the min/mile pace for 2:57? Eeeep! And yeah, you can totally handle running 7 days/week. Just take it realllllllly easy on your easy days. That’s what I do! Even if you just use a treadmill and listen to a podcast or watch Netflix to keep you honest. I run those recovery runs at about a 8:30 min/mile pace. Sometimes I’ll even start them out at 9:15 min/mile pace.

    1. Girlfriend, you have 2:55 written all over you. You are hitting some serious paces. You got this! Don’t doubt yourself now. I am planning to do my extra day at recovery pace – Hansons tells me that’s like 8:47 or something. I would even go slower. Totally fine by that. Pace for 2:57 is a 6:45, and for a 2:59 is a 6:50!

  4. Wow – your long run pace is my 5k pace!
    I love how you are willing to go after big goals knowing how hard you’ll have to work to achieve them. That’s something I too often shy away from, but you’re inspiring me to not be such a wimp and at least try!

    1. Yes!!!! GO AFTER IT! It’s so rewarding to achieve something big. This past marathon PR was a long road full of obstacles and disappointment. Crossing that finish line represented so much. I know it will hurt and be hard as hell, but that feeling is so worth it. I can’t wait to try again!

      1. I’m glad to see you have such great success after some struggles.
        Would you say the Hanson’s plan is appropriate for someone who’s endurance-challenged (better at shorter distances and pathetic at longer ones)?

      2. Maybe I’m still in the Hanson’s honeymoon phase, but I feel like it would really help. It really helps if you are trying to hold a specific pace over a longer distance, especially through the tempo runs!!

  5. “I liked that as I followed this structured schedule and became dedicated to it, I stopped making decisions that worked better for everyone else.”

    ^ This. I’ve had to do this so much lately in training. Running with other people, sometimes you are at their mercy and I have been so much better about saying no, telling people to run ahead of me, not doing a pub run/pizza run because you really need to do a workout that day even if it’s not as fun, etc. You’re pursuing goals that are much loftier than mine, but at a point in training you have to do what is best for you and not feel selfish about it. I like the Hansons plan because everything is laid out for you and there’s not many questions of what to do on a particular day.

    Also I think you should post this review on the group on Facebook :).

    1. I just might have to do that! I am excited about round 2. I didn’t mention it here, but in future posts I will – I also plan to try some of the elite workout modifications as I go through. They have some ideas like “Last 3 GO” where you do your long run but run the last three miles at marathon pace or faster. I figured when I can’t run with people like Megan who push me, I can try those workouts.

      I am glad you agree with me on the running with other people. I was really hesitant to publish that because I don’t want to come across as snotty or like I take things too seriously – because I totally run with people and adapt to their workouts. But for the past two years, I found myself sacrificing my own workouts or preferred times to suit others. I took the approach that if my friends want to run with me, they would join me on my terms this time around. Some did, some didn’t – and it’s okay! We all have life outside running so when I can catch up with friends over miles, great. If I can’t, the solo miles feel great too!

      1. Honestly, if the person you are running with is training for something (and based on your paces even on easy days, they probably are training or are at least experienced runners)… they should understand. I’ve found that most of my friends completely understood when I was doing a different workout at track, or skipping a fun run in luei of a workout, etc. To me it comes across as someone who has priorities straight :).

        I read the elite modifications in the book. Don’t think I’ll be following those but I like how they go into so much detail on it. It was a great book.

        And you never know you may PR on a hard course or a rough day. I PRed in a half marathon with 3 bridges and I train in a flat area. If you train right and believe, it can happen ;).

      2. I agree – people who are training definitely do understand! My Saturday morning crew is really understanding, but they have life stuff that prevents them from Sunday long runs. Last round of training, the paces Hansons told me to use for easy were slower than they run on Saturdays, but every so often I would make an exception and meet them anyway. This time around, my easy run paces line up nicely with their Saturday run, so I should really be able to spend more time with everyone! I have a friend that just hates to train alone, so she doesn’t care if her workout or my workout is compromised, as long as she has someone to run with. I really like running with her, but I have to be pretty firm when I have a specific workout about what my plan is.

        I definitely am not ruling out a fall PR by any means! I am excited to try some new courses and visit new areas 🙂

      3. With my easy days, I am definitely flexible. I’ve been running with some friends who are heart rate training for a triathlon and even if it’s at the slower end of easy for me, I’d rather run with them for the company because they’re my friends. I think the workouts are the most important things to get the pace right :).

  6. This is so exciting! I’m jumping on the Hansons bandwagon (haven’t started yet, still blissfully hopeful and naive) and this is so encouraging to read. You are so strong, those numbers look scary but you can absolutely do it. Also that elevation on the hill by your house – yikes. That’s one way to get ready for a hard race for sure.

    1. Thanks Sam! You will LOVE Hansons! How are the aerials going? We just had a demo at my pole studio and the girls that did the aerial silks were so amazing! Made me think of you!!

  7. This was really interesting to read and I was glued to my screen. I’m glad you aren’t basing your Boston time and experience from Hansons. I’m glad you had a redemption at Kentucky.

    1. There were so many other factors at Boston that I’m glad I had Kentucky to see what I was really in shape for. I think think the 3:02 was a very accurate snapshot of my fitness from that training. It really shows if I go and look at the tempo runs I did. I think I want to keep track of all of my tempo miles in a spreadsheet next time and see what they average out to and how it measures up on race day. I’m a huge data nerd!

  8. Excellent post and super thought out. I think you are spot on with your assessments and I totally agree with just knowing what courses have to offer and not backing down. If you are aware of what you are tackling, there is no reason to let that get in your way. Smart running!

  9. Thanks for writing this up. I am thinking about using the Hanson’s plan for Chicago in October. I am a little concerned about a few things. I think I could PR there and I have some pretty serious goals, but I am concerned about the taper and I am still not totally convinced about how short the long run is.

    I am really glad that you are going for that sub-3. I really think you can do it. A 5 minute improvement is a lot, but your training came through for you in Kentucky and I bet it can again in your next goal race. I can’t wait to hear all about how the training goes!

    1. You just answered the question I asked you on your blog 😉 CHICAGO! I feel like I knew that but I’m still so excited about your marathon this past weekend that I can’t keep it straight. I think you should try Hansons. I was super skeptical. Get the book and read the theory on it! You have a few weeks to decide, now is the time to think about what you want to change for next time 🙂 Congrats again!

  10. This is super exciting! There’s no doubt in mind that you’ll crush a sub-3!! I can’t wait to follow your journey. 🙂 annnnnd you’ve inspired me to try the Hansons method. When Rock n Blog offered its peeps two free books from VeloPress I opted for this book and racing weight. I’ll be testing the training plan out for Savannah this year! Then Boston -if they let me in!! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged or commented but I still follow you speed racer! 😉

    1. Thanks! It took me two years to run a PR again, so I’m assuming I have another long road ahead of me. That’s okay – it’s worth it! I’m so excited you got this book, you are going to LOVE it!!! xo

  11. I’m so glad you’re using Hansons again because 1. I know it will work for you because it already has and 2. Selfishly I love everything you write about it. 🙂

    Oh, and about the whole being “selfish” thing… I am a SUPER selfish runner! But I don’t look at it as selfish. Running is MY thing and it’s MY body and I’ll do what I want! I once backed out pacing the kid’s fun run at my school because it was a week after Boston and my quads weren’t fully recovered and I felt a weird tightness I never had. No, not going to injure myself or make something worse to pace a “fun run” lol. You gotta do you.

    I know I asked on your other post about running 7 days a week and I got my answer here! It’s sort of hard to wrap my mind around because I think, well what can adding just a couple (2-4) easy miles per week really do to improve someone’s fitness? I would think the body is better off with a nice relaxing recovery day rather than risk over training. However, that line of thinking derives from 1. me being addicted to exercise for about 2 years when I did cardio for 2 hours a day. TWO HOURS A DAY. I was nuts, and 2. Me getting injured. So I don’t ask the question in a snarky way or that I think I know more than you do- I truly want to know what adding 2-4 easy miles on a rest day benefits?

    Okay, another question!! The marathon pace runs… Everywhere I read, people are scared of marathon paced runs, or if it’s a half, scared of their half marathon paced runs. When I look at this plan of only running 10 mi at marathon pace, I think, well, that should be easy to do. If we are going to do it for 26 miles, then 10 miles should be nothing. Or do I have this attitude because my marathon pace isn’t that fast? Or is it that I am going to be so fatigued by training that during the plan, MP runs will be hard but then I will be prepared for race day? I am wondering if I was training TOO hard for my halves. I worked myself up to 11 miles at half marathon pace. Then shit the bed race day. Shit the bed = missed my goal by 6 minutes lol.

    1. I’m glad you asked the question about MP runs. I also had that same exact question and wondered if it had to do with my paces too. For example, last training cycle my marathon pace was a 9 min mile and my half marathon pace was 8:30 (when I wasn’t pushing it and as fast as 8:10 if I were). Running 9 min mile for 10 miles doesn’t seem like a big deal. I mean I know in the summer with the heat and humidity, it’s not a cake walk, but it doesn’t seem scary either.

      Curious minds wanna know. . .

      1. For me, marathon pace is scary but I think it has to do with how I got to my recent PR. I never was athletic, never knew how to actually train, and did way too much yoga (there is such a thing!). I got injured one year and had to make some changes if I wanted to make it to the starting line to my race. I ended up dropping my yoga practice and picking up cross training and speed work and my times dropped quickly. It was like a lightbulb switched on. I jumped from barely being able to break 3:30 to my old PR of a 3:06 in less than a year. I think because the progression happened really quickly, mentally I see these paces and think OMG THAT IS SO FAST. It still shocks me when I look at my last marathon and see that my MP was 6:57. Like, how did I do that for 26.2 miles? It sounds scary even being on the other side of it. So part of my fear, for me, is mental for sure. I think I’m a head case!

    2. I also want to say how I admire you not being afraid of trying to PR on a course that is hilly. I have it set in my mind that it has to be flat to be my fastest, but that is silly. Obviously as long as you train on hills it’s all good. PLUS up and downhills give different muscles a break. Well, that’s what I told myself when I used to run lots of hills. 🙂

      1. Awwww MEG! Thank you ❤ It's fun to race on different types of courses because you never know when you are going to shine. I know I do pretty well on hills in shorter distances, but the last few seasons had lots of flat marathons so its time for a change. Who knows – either way, it's helping, right? If I PR, awesome – if not, the hills will make me stronger and I will choose a flat course for the spring!

    3. I don’t think you are being snarky at all! It’s a valid question, and I agree with your rationale. I don’t know if a recovery run will make much of a difference on my rest days, but I would like to keep seeing my peak week increase in volume with each cycle. The only way I can think to do that at this point is by adding some miles on that day. But if I don’t see any added benefit from it, I will pull the plug for sure.

      As for your time, I think you should train for a 3:20. According to Hansons and your current PRs (I was creepily stalking your PR page on your blog), you fit the 3:20 goal much better. What really solidified my suspicion was your recent 10 miler. If you run Hansons equivalency calculator, all of your PRs from the mile through the 10K align with a 3:20. Your 10 miler is really close, too and that was a recent race. I say take the challenge, go with 3:20 and on race day, start very conservative and you will be successful!

      1. Thank you so much for creeping (teehee) and letting me know what you think. 3:20 just seems so…. daunting to me. I just ran a 1:40 1/2 marathon and had calf cramps from mile 11 on. Before the cramps I was on par for like a 1:37 or so. I know I can’t do a 3:20 NOW but I guess that is the point of training, right??? Okay, now what do you think what Luke sometimes says about better off sometimes training for a 3:25 (or whatever) and then on race day you’ll still probably do well enough to do a 3:20 (or whatever arbitrary number the questioner is asking about). Sorry to keep bugging you about this. I feel like you enjoy talking about Hansons though but if I’m ever annoying tell me to shut up. 🙂

      2. Well, how do you feel about the marathon pace for a 3:20 vs. a 3:25? Do either of those paces scare you? If the 3:20 MP doesn’t seem scary, then go with the 3:20. You might go under 3:20 🙂 I do think Luke is right. If you train for a specific time, you will likely run faster. I did – 3:05 was my goal, 3:02 was the result. He commented on my post to choose 2:57 but that I’d probably run 2:55 in the right conditions. So there is that to consider. I say start training at the 3:20 paces and see how it feels. If, in two weeks, it feels impossible, go back to 3:25. You aren’t going to hurt anything doing it that way.


  12. This was a fascinating read. I really appreciate the time you took to do the analysis of your training period and to write it up. I love these kinds of posts and look forward to your training.

    BTW, I bragged about you at Run for the Red on Sunday. On the shuttle bus back to the start line, I sat next to a lady who did the Garden Spot Half. I think she won the masters division. Anyway, I told her that you were the 1:40 pacer for that race and then went on and on about your glorious race and win at Kentucky Derby. She was suitably impressed. Then like a proud parent, I fished out my phone to show her a photo of you (the one where you broke the tape.).

    1. You are cracking me up! I am getting caught up in the blog world today and I am SO EXCITED to read about how Pocono went for you. But your story about the bus – I read that comment to my husband – I love it!!! You are awesome!!!!

      1. You have a nickname in our house now. Whenever I spoke about you, I would refer to you as, “Allison, the one who won the Kentucky Derby” because I know several different Alison/Allisons. Ben decided that was too much of a mouthful and declared that from here on out, you would be known as “Awesome Allison.”

        There you go, you’re now Awesome Allison.

  13. Great post! Please don’t stop writing about your training. I discovered your blog on the Hanson’s FB page. You are truly inspiring. I am old(er) and slow but I am going to try Hanson’s method for the for the first time. I attempted to follow it for Boston 2016, but gave up on it because I was frightened to give up 20 milers ha ha. You have convinced me to give it a try. I can’t wait to hear about your summer training. PS. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada 🙂

    1. Thank you, Carol! Thanks for stopping by! Nova Scotia, AWESOME!!! I was scared to give up the 20 milers and I sort of cheated and did one 🙂 I used the program modifications because I wanted my mileage to peak in the 80s. Well, Hansons states that your long run should be 25-30% of your weekly volume or no longer than 2:30. I stuck firmly to the 25% and 2:30 time frame and did one 20 miler…oops 🙂 I honestly don’t know if the 20 miler actually helped me though. I am considering not going above 18 this time around – we’ll see how things go! Thanks for reading!

  14. I’m so glad that Hanson’s worked out well for you! I’m excited to give it a try in the future. Good luck on your next round of training!

  15. #badass!!! Gosh, I just love the way you talk about your training! It makes me want to start running laps around my house.

    I’m totally with you on the whole not running just with friends/a group for all long runs versus not running just solo for all long runs. Now that I’m training for my first ultra, I’ve realized that (once again) I got comfortable running with someone. I need to build up my mental strength again! And yeah, it’s easy to feel like you’re being selfish with this. My running buddy wasn’t terribly excited when I told him I’ll be doing most of my long runs solo for now on, but you gotta do what’s best for you.

  16. I bought the Hanson’s book after reading your KY recap! I am a little hesitant because I’m post two surgeries, and there is a lot of hard work per week (normally I only do one speed session per week, the rest easy). But I am hoping to get back to my old speeds before injury, and your results (and others) are so promising! My next race isn’t until October, so I have time to consider, but this post was very helpful. Thanks.

    1. You definitely have time to consider! If you find that two speed workouts a week are two much, maybe you can drop one and alternate each week? Like one week do the speed work, then do easy instead of tempo. Next week do tempo, but easy instead of the track work. You are still being consistent and getting both types of speed, but less pounding while you are still recovering from surgery! Or every third week, do both speed workouts. So you have one week speed, one week tempo, one week both. Then repeat. If that makes sense! I find that even with the best training plan, there are definitely some areas that have to be modified to work for each individual. Good luck and let me know what you decide!

      1. Hm, that makes sense. It’s been over a year since my last surgery, but I had both hips repaired in under a year, and the recovery is very long. When I finally felt ready to run a marathon again, after a four year hiatus for undiagnosed labral tears and then the surgeries, I ran a 3:18 – a good 12 minutes over my PR. That was on one day of speed and typical long run schedule – about 40% of weekly mileage. So I am looking for something new, but the only other time I did two quality workouts a week, I got injured! I like your idea of modifications, though, so that is a good option. Thanks for the tips.

  17. I find it hard at times to fit in hill repeats to my training, so like you I just try to incorporate hills into my regular runs. Sometimes I do my GRP runs on a route with hills just to get used to running that pace with some inclines. Looking forward to your summer training.

    1. I have the same problem. there are so many good places to run hills by me, and so many good hills for repeats, but it’s hard for me to incorporate it into my week. I don’t want my legs tired for the speed workouts, or the hills I want to use for repeats don’t have a good place for warming up and cooling down. I like to do exactly what you do – run hills on my regular run routes!

  18. I’m just stoked to see you’re aiming for a sub-3 next. I’m excited to follow your next training cycle! Man, all these good things about Hansons makes me wish I liked running enough to do it! 😛

    1. Thanks, Katie! Maybe post-Ironman you will decide to give it a go 😉 I’m excited for my first honest try at a sub-3. Might take me a few cycles to get it right, but I think I can do it!

  19. Hanson’s needs to be paying you as a brand ambassador. You probably impacted their book sales significantly this month. I’m just sayin’. I think a 6:45 marathon pace for you is right on the edge of doable. But increasing to 90 miles per week will take you to the cusp of injury. It’s a very fine line.
    Okay – I guess I need to get the book now. I’ll read it and figure out where I want to get to for Chicago. That’s my next marathon. But looking at your plan, it seems to me that the recovery pace is too slow, and the long run pace is too fast (unless that’s a blended pace with last miles at an accelerated pace).
    Round two for you – here’s to your success!

    1. Ha! I would love to be a Hanson’s ambassador. Or, even better – an athlete as part of their “Hansons-Brooks” project (I wear Brooks, too!)!

      I agree that increasing weekly mileage could get tricky. I also believe that everyone has a different threshold, and I think I’ve been pretty mindful of increasing my volume slowly, over each training cycle. I peaked at 75 in the fall, and then 82 in the spring. I think if I plan and build to peak at 85-90, that jump is appropriate. I’ll see how my body feels and evaluate weekly. That’s what I like best about this plan: I can follow the bare bones, or modify it the way they tell you to in the book. It’s structured and flexible all at the same time! If you run the pace calculator on their site, they actually give you a pace range for the long run. I didn’t know that and stuck to the pace in the book for my last run, which is where my long run pace came from. But there is a “range” and you can slow it down significantly. I don’t really use the recovery pace unless I feel REALLY crappy on a Monday or a Friday. This time, if I incorporate a 7th day of running, it will be at the recovery pace!

      If you get the book, let me know your thoughts! Good luck with your Chicago training, I love that race!

  20. Oooh, I loved reading your review of Hansons! I love hearing about other people’s training and what does and does work for them. You are an incredible athlete and I can’t wait to follow along as you train for your sub-3! I’ve been feeling so blah about my upcoming half marathon and your post totally re-engaged my enthusiasm – so thank you!!

    I’m so with you about running with others. I’ve followed Run Less, Run Faster for three training cycles now and it’s so pace specific that I feel like I can never run with other people. I’m part of a pretty active local running group on FB and I’m always amazed at people who are like I’m running between 10-13 miles at 8:30-9:00 pace – who wants to join?” Meanwhile, I’m like, ok I have 11.42 miles at 8:37 pace to get done. 🙂

  21. Okay since I can’t comment on the thread we had going because I commented to much, I will start a new one! One quick comment on MP being scary- If my MP was 6:57, I would be scared too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!! Marathon pace for 3:25 is 7:49. That is a little intimidating to me. Like 7:5X isn’t it’s the 7:4X. The pace for a 3:20 is extremely scary because of my recent half marathons that I ran at that pace… cramping and such. I think I will train for the 3:25 and if I am faster race day, oh well. I have to be honest, I totally trust the training plan but I don’t trust that I will pull through. It is just hard for me to imagine. All I want to do is PR. 3:28:07 or lower. A 3:25 would just be extra honestly. Cool can’t wait to bug you with more qs as I continue training!!!

  22. Thanks for sharing your experience with Hansons. It definitely worked for you and I’m not suprisied you are doing it again.
    You mentioned two marathons for this fall and even though they sound tough (hot or hilly ) you have the right attitude not to be intimated. Are you planning any half marathons this fall other than pacing? Since you improved your marathon time as well as got huge PR’S in shorter distances, I think you should try to go for a PR in the half. 1:27 should be in your reach this fall.
    Running more on your own to complete YOUR specific training, is not selfish. You have goals that are important to you and other runners should understand that. We all run for different reasons, with different speeds, during different time of day and that’s why sometimes it’s hard to find good running partners.

  23. Loved reading this. I just kept nodding yes yes yes. You know I’ve read the book twice and three times over and have obsessed about it since you and colby have done this. I haven’t even started but I think I’ll like the same things as you. None of my friends long run on Sundays but that doesn’t really bother me as I’ve always thought exactly what you said, you race alone and you need to practice running alone. I’m also worried about the lack of hills and decided I’d throw them in in my easy runs. Not hill repeats but just part of the “route”. I don’t think I’ll go with Luke’s time goal for me though, lol. I’m gonna be a daredevil on that one, jaja!!!

    Can’t wait to follow you again!!! Woohooo!!! Hanson’s!!!

  24. I agree 100% about how much the plan builds confidence. I felt like Superwoman so many times when I finished one of those hard workouts that I wasn’t sure I could do. I have a lot of mental issues when it comes to running, so I think the confidence-building is the main reason I also love this method and want to continue using it. I’m excited for your fall marathon and looking forward to following you in your next training cycle!

  25. I prefer long runs on Sundays, too. It’s important to me that I get some sleep in after a long work week so I have the energy to run long the next day.

    It stinks when a race doesn’t go according to plan when your training was so spot on. It really does show that we can’t control race day conditions – training gets us only so far. But I’m glad you bounced back and got your PR because you were able to learn a lesson AND get your PR!

    Someday I’d like to try Hanson’s, but I also know it’s not the type of runner I am yet. I think the structure and 6 days a week of running would really be hard on me at this point in my life.

  26. I admire your discipline and your approach to training. I’m excited for your next training season – to see you crush another PR! Going to re-read Hanson’s and may consider it for my marathon training plan (not until 2017) – still a little unsure how I’m going to fit 6 days of running to my schedule so I may have to modify it and find a happy medium.

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