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Monday, January 23, 2017

You can't cheat Hansons

Lesson learned from the Louisiana Marathon: You can't cheat Hansons Marathon Method. That's kind of what I set out to do, and as you know, that didn't produce the most spectacular results.
Heading to a slow finish

Heading into the race, I had high hopes, because my tempos and long runs had both been fast for me. But that speed didn't translate into a fast race. Why?

1. The tempos were on fresh legs. My tempos felt fast and easy because my legs weren't tired, not because I was in amazing shape. This summer, I struggled during every single tempo. But that was because I followed the training plan very closely. They were hard because I was tired, which is the whole point. In December, my tempos were fast because I was cutting corners. I only did the last four weeks of the training, and I cut the mileage in sneaky ways, like minimal warm up and cool down or shortened easy runs.
2. I never got to cumulative fatigue, because the training was too short. I mentioned that I had a solid 229 miles in December - a lot for me - but that November was 146 and October just 119. The only way Hansons allows you to get away with just a few long runs of just 16 miles is because you complete them on exhausted legs, tired from months of long miles daily. I totally skipped that part.
3. My long runs were too fast. I wanted to run more by feel this cycle, but that resulted in me started at long run moderate pace and ending much faster, faster than marathon pace for some long runs. I've been gravitating toward accidental progression runs lately, but that means that I'm faster than even Hansons allows (the book recommends 40 - 45 seconds slower than goal marathon pace). I do my pace calculations a little weird, since I base everything off a 26.3 mile marathon - something that I intend to change. I know that my Garmin readout is off, so I assume it will read at least 26.3 at the end of a race. But this new 620 is off even more than my 305, so that my last marathon I had 26.5 at the end! But anyway, using 26.3 as my distance, I'd need my Garmin to read 7:10, so I should be running long runs around 7:50. I had some down in the 7:40s or lower! Now, given my ACTUAL marathon finish, I should be closer to 8 minute pace....but hey, how was I to know. The point is, I cheated myself out of time on my feet with my faster long runs. And I think that time matters.

So what does this mean for my next race, fast approaching on February 5th? Probably another slightly undertrained race!


  1. Even if your time wasn't as fast as last year, or as fast as you wanted, you still ran a really good time. You are right about cheating Hansons though, and I feel like it is one plan that a LOT of people cheat!

    I was talking to someone about how I don't follow that plan anymore but follow that style of training (as in, 6 days of running each week, tempo runs at goal race pace, doing many but not all of those speed workouts, and a long run that is not more than 1/3 of my weekly mileage). The person I talked to told me about how they followed Hansons but they extended the long runs, shortened the other runs or took days off, and never heard about long runs being a smaller percentage of your weekly mileage. I was like lady, did you even read the book?

    Honestly, you are a good runner and have been running for years and I think you know what works for your body more than a plan-in-a-can. Even being undertrained you do a pretty good job!

  2. Are you going to run another marathon Feb 5th?! I've been getting killed by my class schedule, and I just barley read your race recap from last week! I admire your guts to drop the hammer and go for the win. What a cool feeling to have a pace bike. Congrats on taking 2nd.