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Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon Paperback – October 1, 2012
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"Keith and Kevin Hanson have been training professional and amateur distance runners for over 20 years. Last year the brothers, along with Luke Humphrey, an exercise physiologist and one of their coaches, published Hansons Marathon Method. In it, they've thrown out just about every standard of the marathon training program" ¦Unlike other marathon training programs, which typically have runs of 20 miles or longer, the Hansons method tops out at 16 miles, an appealing draw." -- New York Times
"You might expect a training program devised by the Hanson brothers, Keith and Kevin, to be a little different than the usual rehashing of principles and schedules. Given the success of athletes from the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, you wouldn't be surprised if it was effective, too." -- Runner's World
"Whether you're a first-time half-marathoner or want to improve your PR, this book is worth a read." -- Competitor magazine
"Hansons Half-Marathon Method lays out an approach that can work for anyone from a runner who's doing a charity run with the goal of just finishing to a highly competitive runner trying to PR." -- The Runivore
"Kevin and Keith Hanson have years of experience coaching athletes at many levels. Their knowledge of the sport is evident in their ability to continually develop athletes and take them to the next level. In addition, Luke Humphrey's science background coupled with being a top-tier marathoner brings a unique and beneficial perspective to training. Not only can Luke provide the scientific approach to the training methods, but he's done the workouts and had successful results. The results have been proven at every level, from the beginner to the elite, the Hanson's training system works. With the coaching experience of Kevin and Keith and the science background Luke brings to the table, you have an incredible wealth of knowledge, and arguably one of the best marathon coaching teams in the country." -- Desiree Linden, Olympic marathoner
"Keith and Kevin Hanson, through their passion for the sport of distance running, have developed an amazing history of successful coaching with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Their insights into their individual athletes and coaching philosophies have enabled athletes like Desi Davila and Brian Sell to successfully compete on the world's greatest running stages. Even more impressive is the development of what many elite coaches would call "marginally talented runners" who the Hansons have coached up to being national-caliber competitors. Many coaches have systems, but the key to success is the athlete's belief in that system. That comes with trust. The athletes trust the process and the people directing that process. Luke Humphrey adds the science behind the process, but the implementation of the process is an art perfected one athlete at a time." -- Greg Meyer, American distance runner and winner of the Boston and Chicago Marathons
From the Back Cover
Break free of outdated training traditions to run your fastest marathon!
The Hansons-Brooks Distance Project has taken American running by storm, becoming one of the nation's most successful running groups. Known for upstart talent and an unconventional 16-mile long run, the group has earned spots on podiums at the biggest U.S. marathons and on the U.S. Olympic team.
Now you can learn the team's secrets for a PR-busting performance in your next marathon. Combining smart science with proven practice, Hansons Marathon Method starts with the end in mind, preparing your body for a marathon's toughest final miles through:
- Lower-mileage long runs that emphasize quality over quantity
- Speed, strength, and tempo workouts focused tightly on goal pace
- Crucial nutrition and hydration guidance to avoid hitting the wall
- Detailed training plans for both beginners and advanced runners
Coaches Keith and Kevin Hanson break old rules and new ground, combining science and strategy to cultivate the very best race in any runner. Their method, laid out in clear, easy-to-understand terms, arms you with the knowledge, tools, and training plans you need to run your best marathon and achieve the personal record you've dreamed of.
Luke Humphrey is head coach of Hansons Coaching Services and a runner with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project.
Keith & Kevin Hanson are elite running coaches and founders of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project.
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While that was the goal I had set, I was able to achieve it feeling strong and without hitting the dreaded wall where one just wants to give up especially mentally and start walking. My paces for the 10K segments through 30K were nearly perfectly even: 7:55, 7:53, 7:55, and final average pace for the whole marathon was 7:53. I was even able to run Mile 26, the last full mile, at 7:21 pace, meaning I was doing a speed workout and finish strong at the end of 25 miles already run at goal pace.
I attribute my improvement to the features of this program: more than most others, many of the miles in the program are run at race goal pace, so the goal pace seemed not only easy but also well-ingrained (cadence, stride lengths, feel of the pace in the legs and the lungs). There were also plenty of weekly runs that gave me confidence I could run at the goal pace.
The longest runs in this program are done after the runner has gone through a challenging Thursday - Saturday section, and those runs are definitely not started on fresh legs as many other programs will have you do. This means on race day, when you are actually starting on fresh legs for once, the marathon distance is not that big a deal any more.
It is important to remember this program is NOT A SHORTCUT, despite the misleading notoriety of its "only 16 mile as longest run!" feature. The total miles per week, the intensity of workouts, and the deliberate accumulation of fatigue are real, and are just as challenging to manage both on the body and on your schedules as other programs of similar demands (the closest in terms of mileage and intensity I found was the Pfitzinger 18/55 program). I totaled about 1,000 miles through the 18-week program. I was consistently at a level of 4/10 fatigue from about week 8-17, but on race day I was feeling more than ready.
The 16-mile long run feature has created a lot of buzz and some negative snarky remarks from people who haven't followed it (obvious, because they were already criticizing the program BEFORE the actual book became available). This is unfortunate, because there is no shortcut to marathon success, and this program's 16-mile feature was being misleadingly singled-out as its main point.
What the 16-mile run does is it allows the rest of the days in the week to be used in a productive way, and to not turn the 20-22 mile long run as the disproportionate focus of the week while the days before and after were relegated to super easy, essentially "rest" days. If one is always running the long runs while being shielded from fatigue, even the "classic" 20-miler, 22-miler long runs that critics of this program seem so fixated on will still lead the runner only "to" the wall every time, and still not prepare the runner to go "through or over or around" the wall.
There is an outline of the program on the Hansons website. While that is the same outline as in the book, the book goes into the actual paces of the individual workouts a lot more, and is a good resource well worth the modest cost. It is very easy to adjust the paces: all the prescribed paces for all the workouts are pegged to the goal pace. I will be using this program as long as I am running marathons.
I NEVER missed a training run, and religiously followed the schedule with three noted exceptions. First, and an important exception, I was too chicken to stick to just 4 x16 mile long runs as the program lays out. I converted the last two scheduled 16's into an 18 and a 20, respectively run at their suggested pace for those runs. Second, because I was someone who almost never ran more than 20-30 miles max per week before this program, I made this a 20 week program instead of 16. In part, I also did this to allow for race weeks, where I typically made the race day run my tempo run for the week. Third, I modified slightly the tapered schedule of the last two weeks because my legs were really really tired and I could tell I needed more time. If you look at the "taper" it is much less than most programs.
As everyone who rates this program will tell you, it is a LOT of running - 6 days a week with the Tues strength run and the Th tempo runs maxing out at 10 and 14 miles for me. This is a lot of mileage for a run before the work day! But I did it, and (mostly) loved it. You definitely start to see Sunday's long slow run as an easy day out, especially compared to Th's tempo run of a 2 mile WU, 10 x goal marathon pace, 2 mi CD.
I grew to crave all of the running. In fact, by TH morning (Wed is the scheduled day off) I would feel like I hadn't run in ages while it was only 2 days prior! This method works! I can tell you that for sure. In fact, it may have worked even better if I had followed the program exactly and not done any Sunday runs longer than 16. And, perhaps if I hadn't interjected a few races, especially a 13.1 about 5 wks prior to race day. The reason I say that is that I did not feel like my legs were 100% fresh on race day. I felt strong, I felt steady, and I was pretty confident that I was going to hit my goal time and BQ, but I was bummed about running on slightly ragged legs.
I loved the pace charts, and used them religiously. (While the Hansons will give you the mileage for each day on their website, you need the book for the charts.) This program works for someone who likes to go into training runs with certain pace goals in mind. If you are like some of my friends and get stressed out by wearing a Garmin, this is not the plan for you. I also appreciated how the program taught me to embrace slow recovery runs! I think that prior to this program, I was like many people I know. That is, running the same pace - neither fast nor slow - for almost every run. After a hard tempo run of 14 miles on a TH, I was more than happy to run 2 to 2:30 minutes over GMP the next couple of days.
I will also add that this program helped me take 9 minutes off of my 13.1 time even though I was training for a 26.2! I am pretty sure that I will use the half marathon method for a race I plan to do in March. Worked for me! Maybe it would have worked even better I'd followed the program exactly.
I took off one star of my rating because like others, I think the book needs testimonials to both motivate the reader and to provide context for the reader. I also found the chapters on stretching, nutrition, clothes, etc. to be after-thoughts with nowhere near the details of the program itself. I'm sure they have more to share than what they've included.
I'll end by saying that if you are like me, you may look at the 6 day a week schedule peaking at 60 some odd miles per week and think that's crazy I could never do that. But if you have the desire, like I did, and the time and commitment - try it. I got up at 4:30 most mornings to get my run done, and it just set up my day perfectly. You'll be amazed at how relaxed you start to feel on runs mainly because you do it SO MUCH. I knew how to dress for weather, how to run on flats, hills, in cold, heat. All b/c I ran so consistently. I found this to be a definite advantage on race day - when you just don't know what to expect sometimes until you get up that morning. I loved how taken in the big picture, no one run was ever that meaningful (except maybe the Tues/Thur track/strength tempo runs) and you know you'll be out there again the next day. Definitely a sense of ease and relaxation earned - perhaps ironicaly - by such hard work.
Most recent customer reviews
This training program and book absolutely worked for me, and I highly recommend it.
IN DEPTH: (because these are the types of reviews I was looking for...Read more