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 Hanson's marathon training plan
Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:48 pm 

Lately I've been hearing a lot about the Hanson's marathon training program. Has anybody heard of this, or tried it? What are your opinions about it?

You can read about the plan here: http://www.runningtimes.com/rt/articles/?id=4447&page=1&c=83

It's a very simple plan, where each of the 18 weeks is very similar. Each week includes one long run, one marathon pace run, and one speed or strength workout. The speed workouts are similar to VO2Max intervals.

Where the plan differs from most others is that the long runs top out at 16 miles, rather than the 20+ commonly seen in other plans. Also, the strength workouts are performed only 10 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace, which is a fair bit slower than the lactate threshold pace usually prescribed for tempo runs. The inclusion of a MP run every week instead of just a few times in the schedule is unique as well.

Overall, the plan calls for a lot of running at or slighly below your goal marathon pace, whereas the Pfitzinger, Daniels, and other plans include very little running at that pace: most workouts are either significantly slower (easy/long runs) or faster (tempo or VO2Max). Maybe this emphasis on MP workouts is supposed to offset the lack of 20+ mile long runs.

Do you think this kind of plan is appropriate for a beginner to intermediate marathoner, and would it give any better results than the alternative plans? I'm skeptical. Both Pfitzinger and Daniels give a lot of excellent background information about the medical research supporting why their plans are the way they are. The Hanson plan doesn't seem to have that kind of scientific backing, at least that I can see.


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:12 pm 

I'm a firm believer that, for us middle of the pack runners, you have to train your body to go long. You have to get your legs used to running for 3-3.5 hours if that's how long it will take you to run the Marathon. I also agree with those who say going longer can do more harm than good...because you'll need more tme for recover; time that you could be put to better use with more intense training. But then, though I've done 10 marathons, I'm still learning.

I like the idea of only having to run 16 miles as my longest raining run. But knowing it has to be faster than MP probably makes it just as difficult.

Have the Hansons Distance Project produced any stellar Marathon runners; such that would lend credence to the 16 mile long run training plan?


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:01 pm 

They do have some top-level runners: see http://www.hansons-running.com/odp/team.htm

The only name I recognize is Clint Verran, but I see some impressive numbers in their results section: 28 minute 10K's, and 2:17 marathons-- not too shabby! So I don't think these guys are total yahoos. Of course, if you read the original training article, it says that their elite athletes DO run 20+ mile training runs, unlike in the beginner/intermediate plans. However, the principles are the same.

Also, the 16 mile long run is at an easy/long pace, not faster than MP. The sub-MP runs are more on the order of 7 miles, like tempo runs only not as fast.

Hmmm...


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:45 am 

Rickshaw wrote:
Also, the 16 mile long run is at an easy/long pace, not faster than MP. The sub-MP runs are more on the order of 7 miles, like tempo runs only not as fast.


I can't see how the program can be very effective if you are only running 16 miles at just MP. How can you possibly run 10 more miles at that pace when you've only trained your body to endure 16 miles.

Though I think I recall seeing this sort of plan discussed someplace else and the idea was that you would go into the 16 mile run with tired legs. That is, do a tempo or interval workout the day before, or maybe a 13 miler the day before. Then you're not running those 16 miles fresh and perhaps it simulates running the last 16 miles of the marathon.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 12:48 pm 

I ran across another news story about the Hanson's team. Their runners went 1-2 at the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K race last weekend, beating out former world record holder Khalid Khannouchi. Hmm.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060405/SPORTS17/604050382/1065

Come to think of it, wasn't Bricks planning to do this race? And why is a Shamrock Shuffle in April?


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Hanson's at Boston Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:52 pm 

The Hansons-Brooks Distance Project placed 7 runners in the top 25 at last week's Boston Marathon. That's pretty amazing, so they've got to be doing something right. It's not as if they simply recruited runners who were already at the top of the ranks, either: they built their runners up from relative obscurity. I mean, who ever heard of Brian Sell before last week? Then he finishes 4th at Boston.

So now the question in my mind, is whether the success of their elites at Boston means anything about whether their beginner-intermediate marathon training plan is any good.


BK


Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 2

Re: Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:39 am 

I just completed my first marathon several weeks ago. I didn't start running until last May and never even considered a marathon until November. My first 10 miler was in Feb. While I didn't follow this plan, the one I used only brought me to 16 miles. It had tempo runs, but not MP runs. Going into the marathon, I had a lot of concerns that I did not do an 18 or 20 miler. However, I had a GREAT run! I felt good the entire way and had a negative-split time of 4:17 (female, age 42). I don't think I would have done any better if I had included an 18 or 20 mile run in the training. In fact, it may have hampered my overall recovery and pushed me towards injury.

mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Hanson's at Boston Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:10 am 

Rickshaw wrote:
So now the question in my mind, is whether the success of their elites at Boston means anything about whether their beginner-intermediate marathon training plan is any good.


The Hanson's have already stated that their elite runners don't follow their "16 mile max long run" training plan. I'd love to know what type of training they are doing and if it is much different than the type of training most elite marathoners do that we read about. I wonder if there are any similarities to the beginner-intermediate plan (but just faster of course).


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:11 am 

Way to go BK! Welcome to the forum! Which marathon did you do? That's a great debut marathon time.

If I understand correctly, the plan you followed is somewhat different than the Hanson plan. While both plans max out the long run at 16 miles, the Hanson plan intentionally keeps the long runs shorter in order to fit lots more tempo runs and especially MP runs into the schedule. I think that makes sense for beginner marathoners. The elite Hanson runners like Brian Sell don't actually follow this plan, though, and they run 20+ mile long runs like everyone else. So I'm not sure how much the success of their runners at Boston really says about the strength of their published beginner-intermediate training plan.

Have you run any races at other, shorter distances? Do the marathon finish times predicted by those shorter races (you can use the Runworks calculator to do this) come close to matching your 4:17 marathon time?


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:38 am 

BK wrote:
However, I had a GREAT run! I felt good the entire way and had a negative-split time of 4:17 (female, age 42). I don't think I would have done any better if I had included an 18 or 20 mile run in the training. In fact, it may have hampered my overall recovery and pushed me towards injury.


Congratulations BK! Sounds like your first marathon was a huge success. You're now a veteran marathoner. Are you planning another marathon? If so, do you plan to follow the same training plan? What changes, if any, do you think you'd make in training for another marathon?


BK


Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 2

Re: Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:35 am 

I ran the Paris marathon. I definitely am planning another. Perhaps Amsterdam this fall and London in the spring. I am lured by the sightseeing - ha! My intention is start with a stronger base so that I can increase my Vdot and corresponding paces. Many runs were time based, rather than mileage - so the faster paces will increase the overall miles slightly. I also would repeat some of the weeks to increase the 12 week program to 16. I don't have a much of a race history. I did a 1 hour 10k in Oct which got me hooked and a 1:58 half marathon 4 weeks before the marathon. Based on the 1/2, I probably could have pushed a bit more, but it was my first and I had those 20 milers hanging over my head so I didn't push too hard. :)

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Hanson's marathon training plan Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:44 pm 

Do you live in Europe, or just like to travel a lot? If you're tracking your vdot, then you must be a fan of Jack Daniels, which I'd say means you're on the smart path to getting faster and stronger. Have you read his book Running Formula? It's like my bible. :-)

Your training plans look solid. Increasing the length of the program to 16 weeks and upping the mileage a little should definitely help prep you for an even better marathon next time. Are you planning on doing any shorter races in the mean time? The occasional 10K race can be a great way to measure your progress and recalibrate your vdot.


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