Hanson's Marathon Method is based on the concept of cumulative fatigue: a process in which you tire your muscles, never allow them to fully recover, and train through the soreness and fatigue to condition your body to perform well when tired - like at the end of a marathon.
Here I am, nearing the end of the program, all my longs runs behind me, and I can tell you that the fatigue has accumulated. The dead legs started in week four. Week three was a massive 60 miles, thanks to some schedule swapping that moved a rest day, and even after finally getting a rest day, I felt tired most of the week. I really started feeling it. And I started to wonder if I wasn't over-fatigued.
Hanson's claims that their plan will get you to the point of fatigue, but not overtraining. But I wonder if I'm in the middle ground: over-fatigue.
Fatigue leaves you tired, definitely needing your easy days, but still hitting your paces on your hard days.
Over-training is a syndrome resulting from stress to the body and is hormone mediated (primarily through cortisol). You can no longer improve, in fact you regress, and while you are exhausted, you can't sleep well and your easy days aren't restful because they feel hard for you.
But what if you're not to the point of over-training, but you are definitely too tired to hit all your paces? That's over-fatigue. It's over-doing the amount of miles needed to make your muscles just tired enough to benefit from pushing through.
I kind of felt like that this week. After hitting over 60 mpw several times (remember that I'm just a lowly 40 mpw-er most of the time), and close to the end of things, I rather gave up this week. I woke up late EVERY DAY and, on tempo day, quit at 8 miles (and still barely made it to work on time). Most of my runs felt hot and hard. It didn't help that the warm, muggy weather is hanging around (91 degrees at 6 pm? For speed work? WHY?! Humidity 90% during tempo? Really, why?!). So I'm short a few miles this week, and slow for a couple, and I am hoping I'm not overly fatigued!