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Hansons Marathon Book

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:14 pm
by wvrunner
Just finishing up the Hansons Marathon Book, it was a pretty good read with some different takes on marathon training. I just wanted to get everyone's thoughts on a few things I found a bit different from traditional marathon training methods:

1. Long Run- It is well explained in the book but until you get above approximately the 70 mpw mark long runs are less than 20 miles (mostly explained due to length of time spent on feet and percentage of weekly mileage in one run). One trade-off is that the long runs are slightly faster that most training programs long runs.

2. Two weekly workouts- one workout is always a tempo which gradually progresses in distance (6-7-8-9-10 miles). The other workout starts off as speed based for the first phase of the plan (400's-600's-800's) then progresses into longer strength based ( 1 mile-1.5 mile-2 mile-3 mile repeats).

The book has many excellent tips ecspecially for people just venturing into marathoning. It's pretty detailed with everything from training-nutrition-shoes-flexilbility-race day prep.  I trust the knowledge on this board and wanted to see what our resident experts (including Tinman) thought of these variations.

Re: Hansons Marathon Book

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:38 am
by ap4305
Sounds like the schedules are very similar (or identical?) to what they have published in Running Times articles.

Overall, a decent generic yet truncated approach that anecdotally has worked for several experienced marathoners who have many seasons of 20+ milers and marathon races under their belts.  Though marketed toward novice marathoners, it appears best suited for veteran runners who can get away with shorter long runs. 

For novice marathoners, I suppose it comes down to the "least of the evils"...the traditional Runners World approach (crush people with 20+ milers who simply need more experience running before doing marathons) versus the Hansons approach (skip the longer runs but compensate with more weekly consistency).

I agree with most of the general principles the Hanson's state behind their plan, particularly in swinging the pendulum back toward weekly consistency and away from overemphasizing the long run to novices who demolish themselves running 20+ miles each weekend (which can take 3-4 hours).  But to suggest 16 mile long runs are even close to ideal for anyone is a myopic view, in my opinion.   

Personally, I think "none of the above" is ideal.  If you get crushed by long runs and you're new to training for marathons, maybe you need more time to prepare and develop as a runner; not try to shortcut the process with a truncated schedule.  That said, I do know some masters marathoners who adequately keep themselves "in the game" with the Hanson's approach.   

Re: Hansons Marathon Book

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:23 pm
As far as ideal marathon training goes, do you think a 16 mile long run is any less ideal than trying to race a marathon on less than 70 mpw?

Re: Hansons Marathon Book

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:54 pm
by ap4305
As far as ideal marathon training goes, do you think a 16 mile long run is any less ideal than trying to race a marathon on less than 70 mpw?

Good question.  I'd say the 16 mile long(est) run is less ideal.  Quite simply, it makes more concessions in a key area (the long run) than you'd have to make within a sensibly planned sub 70 mile week (provided we're talking about a reasonably experienced healthy runner; not a couch-to-marathon candidate).     

Re: Hansons Marathon Book

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:29 pm
by Schebo
I´m certainly not a marathon expert. During my prime racing years I never raced anything longer than 12 km, and after my comeback after a 6 year hiatus at the age of 36 my best marathon time is 3,00. I have, however, discussed marathon training a lot with some very successful runners in my club (one has even run the world championship). They have all basically said the same thing: if you do a long run on Sunday you will be tired on Monday, but if you still feel tired from the long run on Tuesday it has been either too long or too fast for your current fitness. Sometimes during a marathon buildup you will do very long or fairly
fast long runs (or long MP runs), but those are not done on a weekly basis.

Re: Hansons Marathon Book

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:05 am
by Tinman
The Hanson training plan for marathons works a lot better in concept when you are running 120+ miles per week. Then, the so-called "not-long" run is not as important. I believe they base their marathon plan on what they think Frank Shorter did in training, which was a 20-mile run (10 easy and 10 at marathon racing effort) each week, along with a couple of interval workouts that were reasonably paced. Frank ran 130-150 miles per week for 17 years straight.

I think the average Joe or Jane runner will struggle if they only run 16 miles for a long run on modest mileage. They might run a decent marathon on 70 miles per week and a fast 16 miler, along with other tempo and interval work, but I think they would run a lot faster on a 20-24 miler every three weeks.