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Hansons Method



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,673 ✭✭✭ Murph_D

    I'm using the Hanson Half Marathon schedule at the moment for a race coming up in a couple of weeks. I'm only using the second half of the plan having jumped in in the middle after a period of 5k training, so I'm hoping I have enough of a base. I've done this plan (all the way through) once previously with good results (Charleville in 2017, which is still my PB), so I know it quite well. It will be interesting to see whether I'll get away with leaving out the first half this time - certainly the Thurs tempo runs at MP have been tough going and I'm just hoping I'll have done enough by race day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,354 ✭✭✭ Jim Gazebo

    My apologies for not coming back to ye. As I say, I've read the book, reading it again now actually. And yes, I think once I settle into a plan fatigue will set in.

    Anyway. Aiming at the Limerick marathon on 1st May possibly. So starting the 16 week beginner plan. I will have a few stints away but hoping to manage it.

    19 weeks out technically now but going to repeat a couple of the early weeks for the first 3 weeks as I need to rebuild some base fitness. Done very little recently. Hopefully I'll be in here discussing how good the plan is!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,354 ✭✭✭ Jim Gazebo

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,673 ✭✭✭ Murph_D

    Great! I ran 93:52 for a 25-second PB, which was a great result for me. Report here:

    It was a second HM attempt after falling a little short (94:2x) at Galway a few weeks before. After recovering it gave me a chance to put in another couple of weeks of ‘the method’, and I felt very strong on the day. I’d highly recommend this plan for HM runners of any standard. It’s simple but relentless, and it turns you into an ‘aerobic monster’ if you do it right!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,354 ✭✭✭ Jim Gazebo

    Very impressed. Great report. Fair play. I've done a couple of 6km runs this week now. First one on Sunday was a struggle. Real heavy legs but I took it easy. Tonight was the first structured run I did in a long time, slightly accidental but as I try to build a base I said I better test a little where I am. Progressively got faster as I ran and it seems something is still there. Averaged 4.44 / km which is not bad considering last few months and feel I could have sustained faster.

    Plan for rest of week is a couple of easy runs, around 5/6km mark. Then I'll copy the 1st and 2nd week of the beginner plan out twice in a row to keep the base going before getting straight into it I hope. Need something to keep my mind occupied now.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,354 ✭✭✭ Jim Gazebo

    Hi all,

    I am now through week 5 of the beginner programme for the marathon. So far, all has been good. Just about keeping to easy pace. This week is the first week with workouts. Still aiming 1st May, but I may have to switch depending on work commitments. For now I will crack on. Going really well I can see how the cumulative fatigue kicks in. At the moment I'm holding up well, few pains and aches tonight after the 10km this morning. I pushed the last 3km hard to see where I was and I felt strong.

    All in all, all is going well. Speed workouts and tempo runs and the 6 days a week might crock me but I'm sticking as religiously as I can to it.

    Nutritionally, I'm doing ok. Following what the book says but a heavy Drinking session on Friday screwed me a little. Work is going to mess a little bit with the plan but I'll adjust accordingly. Very excited and hopefully stay injury free. The shoes are a slight concern, I find them a little narrow, as I get longer I might think of switching up in next week or two. My baby toe goes dead a little over a small issue on my right foot. Never happened with the wider shoe, but blisters were a huge issue. At the moment I'll stick, as the shoes have worn in well overall.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,354 ✭✭✭ Jim Gazebo

    Found all very good this week. Feel fresh and nice to mix it up with the tempo and speed sessions. Thinking of throwing in a half marathon race around week 10/11 think the distance is 27km for that run, I'd be running with someone who runs about my easy pace when pushing so I might do it with a 2 mile WU WD, be good for the getting used to race day nerves again, havent done a race since 2020. As long as the pace stays easy I suppose it would be fine.

    How do you guys handle big adjustments in the plan? I might have to take 4/5 days off for work a couple of times next month, don't ask but I definitely wont be able to run. How would you adjust the beginner plan for say three sets of 4 days where you coudn't run? Would pushing back the marathon a bit later work or am I risking burning out then training over too long a period?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,673 ✭✭✭ Murph_D

    I’m not too familiar with the beginner plan but I’d this were me I’d find a way to plough on - if running on those days is genuinely impossible, just treat them as rest days and carry on. And don’t be afraid to dial back the session pace if necessary when resuming.

    if pushing back the marathon is a genuine option that’s workable too - justl suspend the plan for the down weeks, but make sure to run easy during the 3 days you can run.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,581 ✭✭✭ DeepBlue

    For those of you who've used the marathon plan - do you eschew all racing during the 18 weeks of the plan?

    While the book discourages racing it does seem that four and half months without any racing seems, on the face it, a disadvantage? 🤔

  • Registered Users Posts: 327 ✭✭ MrMacPhisto

    I have followed the plan a good few times. Sometimes I have done no racing and other times I have thrown in a couple of races.

    I would say the decision whether or not to race during the training is very individual. If its a case that you need a race for confidence or because you simply love racing, then I say go ahead and do it with a few caveats. I would try to limit racing too much as it may have a negative effect on your training performance and the cumulative fatigue ethos of the plan.

    A half marathon is an ideal opportunity to practice race tactics, kit, nutrition in-take and build confidence at racing at race pace or even slightly faster. I wouldn't race a half within 4 or 5 weeks of your planned marathon though.

    If it is a case of racing for the love of racing, then I would try limit this to a minimum. The training is intense enough and you may not be adequately recovered for your next session. The Hanson plan leads to cumulative fatigue and your body will feel it. Racing too much may be the straw that breaks the camel's back and lead to going into the red and possible overtraining/injury.

    Any time I have raced during the plan I have done the following.

    1. If it was a 10 mile/half race at the weekend, then I would skip the Thursday session (easy day instead), race the weekend and the race would be the LR for the week also. I would then jump back into the plan as published the following week.
    2. for a 5/10k race, I would run the the Thursday session on the Tuesday, run easy on the Thursday and if there was a LR, then I would run this very easy post race day or incorporate into the race day with easy warm-up/cool downs on race day to meet the required distance. Again, I would jump back into the plan the following week.

    From my experience, my preference would be to run a half marathon or 10miler, and that would be my only race. You will have plenty of race pace miles in the training. The half/10miler always gave me confidence for my race. My tactic would have been to run these races at close to my MP for the first half and then finish stronger near actual distance race pace.

    Good luck with the training and the racing decision. Most of all enjoy it, and if that means racing lots, then do that :D

    Post edited by MrMacPhisto on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 561 ✭✭✭ Sandwell

    I'm currently in week 6 of the Advanced. I think a couple of longer races are fine as an alternative to the Thursday session but with no taper and with the understanding that you'll be straight back into the plan the next week. I raced a 10 miler at the weekend and will race a half towards the end of August. My "long" run on Sunday was only eight miles but run at recovery pace so time on feet was probably equivalent to running the prescribed distance at steady. The interval session on Tuesday was on pretty heavy legs but that's to be expected. I guess there is always a risk of injury in racing while in the middle of a plan but it's hard to beat a good hard race effort to get an idea of where you're at.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,673 ✭✭✭ Murph_D

    I suppose everyone is different and gets to know what they can withstand but if I would be skipping the Tuesday session after a Sunday race as well, substituting it for some easy miles. The recovery is more important, and the race itself has delivered a huge stimulus.

  • Registered Users Posts: 561 ✭✭✭ Sandwell

    You're probably right to be honest. In hindsight I should have skipped that Tuesday session. I found yesterday's MP tempo okay though, so hopefully i got away with it. I think I'll take your advice after the half, however, and run easy through to Thursday.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭ chabsey

    Just thought I'd comment here because I used this plan in 2018 for my second Dublin marathon. I trained for a 3:15 and got exactly that, but the plan was very intense and I won't use it again just from a time point of view (too many sessions a week). I managed to hit all required timings etc but did take time off during it because I was convinced I was injured (I wasn't - just didn't have a good base going into the plan so muscles tightened etc).

    So - for me it definitely worked but like I say, I have chosen not to use it this time simply because I don't have the time to do 5 sessions a week. I'm using a different plan this time for DCM and Amsterdam, I guess we'll see how it works out.

    Someone earlier asked about incorporating runs like the Dublin half etc. I did, used them as part of the training - found it very motivating to do the half marathon @4:37 a km without issue. I wasn't wrecked at the end which gave me great hope because that I was the pace I needed to do the full marathon at.

    One other thing to note - I was absolutely butchered by the end, could barely get across the finish line so I'd definitely run the tank dry but I didn't bonk or hit the wall at all.

    And final final point - I also read a book on marathon nutrition for that marathon and actually managed to track down someone who sold beetroot juice in the expo. Bought two bottles, still have one in the fridge...vile stuff but maybe it helped.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,673 ✭✭✭ Murph_D

    Tues speed/strength, Thurs tempo, Sunday long - 3 sessions per week, like most other approaches. Three easy days and a day off. Not sure where you got five from?

    But the main thing is, it worked. Totally agree with the intensity comment too, although if you added two ‘sessions’ that certainly is TOO intense!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭ chabsey

    Just had a look back there at the plan and I was doing something along the lines of the following:

    Mon - Easy 5 mile

    Tues - 4X 1.5 mile

    Wed - off

    Thurs - Tempo 9 miles

    Fri - Easy 5 mile

    Sat - Easy 8 mile

    Sun - Long 16

    So it was actually 6 days a week which was worse than I recalled - I know the easy are easy but it's still running and still requires time. It was time that I just couldn't afford for this attempt - might end up biting me though.

    Confusion arising from my use of the word 'session' I guess - for me any running is a session...some are harder than others. Probably using the term wrongly though, hence confusion.

    Post edited by chabsey on

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,581 ✭✭✭ DeepBlue

    @chabsey - yes, I think anything other than easy run or recovery run would be termed a session e.g. intervals, tempo, long runs (at least that's my impression anyways)

    You say you didn't have much of a base coming in to the plan. Presumably you weren't coming in from a standing start? Could you give a guesstimate at how many miles per week you were doing prior to commencing the plan?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭ chabsey

    Figured it might have been the use of session alright, confusion cleared up.

    I know exactly what base I had coming into the plan because it's my normal 'base' which I put in quotes because it barely represents a base at all. When I don't have a marathon to train for I drop to the spectacular figure of 5k a week. So I went from 5k a week -> whatever Hanson week 1 was. Suffice to say I was lucky not to get injured, but I just did the same thing again this time albeit not with as many runs a week as Hanson's.

    I think perhaps I've an aptitude for running because I had never really run before, then in 2015 decided to do the couch to 5k and just kept increasing the distances. I signed up for the Dublin Marathon that year and knew nothing about plans or hydration or proper training. I just ran the race on the day and enjoyed it so I kept at it.

    Edit - Just checked my logs to confirm this and I'm wrong - I do normally have a 5k a week base but in the 2 weeks running up to starting Hanson's I went from that 5k to 49k for two weeks, then started Hanson's. Don't do like me, looking back it's nuts.

    Post edited by chabsey on

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,673 ✭✭✭ Murph_D

    Yes, a regular base of 30 miles per week is what Hanson looks for for anyone doing the Advanced version of the plan. @chabsey fair play for getting through it and yes, I'd say you probably do have an aptitude for running based on that debut, but imagine what you could do with a proper few years of year-round base building. You say you don't have the time but it's amazing what you can do when running becomes just an accepted part of your background day. Most of us spend at least an hour a day watching TV or otherwise farting around, that could be easily converted to running time!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,190 ✭✭✭ chabsey

    Thanks yeah you're probably right, I could get more into it but I'm getting older now and family time etc cuts into it. I agree about an hour a day watching TV but the other oddity about my running is that I really do not enjoy it so an hour in front of the TV sounds much nicer. The only thing I like about running is that it means I can eat anything and not worry about weight gain and also the buzz of race day events like the marathon is hard to beat.

    The plan I'm following this year says at least a year of 30-40 miles a week base and a 5k time of 19mins. I have neither but I'm going to give it a go.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 524 ✭✭✭ overthebridge

    Anyone else using Hanson Advanced for DCM22 ? I'm tipping away at it for the last few months. It's going pretty well. I've hit every session except the 3rd 7m Tempo where I raced a 10k on that Saturday. I can really feel the fatigue biting this week with the Strength runs taking hold.

  • Registered Users Posts: 779 ✭✭✭ Unthought Known

    I'm on the same plan. Apart from 9 days off in July for Covid it's been going well. I've been hitting 6 runs a week and sessions are going well. I know what you mean about the fatigue, but the legs haven't yet felt like I needed to skip anything.

    Best of luck with it. Are you running the Dublin HM?

  • Registered Users Posts: 524 ✭✭✭ overthebridge

    Cheers.. I'm doing Charleville Half at the end of the month. I started the plan a week early to allow for it so I'm gonna have a hop off it and see how it goes.

    I'm hoping for a 325ish on the day, all the numbers so far are pointing towards that time so once I stay injury free and don't do anything stupid I will be ok.

    I have to say that it's a really good plan. I got to week 6 or 7 on it back in 2020 before Covid f**ked everything up so I had confidence in it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,673 ✭✭✭ Murph_D

    You probably meant 1.25? Good luck. Great course, great race. Go for it. And good luck (although luck never matters)

  • Registered Users Posts: 524 ✭✭✭ overthebridge

    Apologies, I should have said that 325ish is my marathon target. I reckon 137/138 for Charleville. I'll go with the 140 pacers for a bit and kick on once turn after Killmallock. It will be nice to practice gels/water/clothes etc on a proper race day. It's coming up on 3 yrs since I raced anything longer than a 10k.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,581 ✭✭✭ DeepBlue

    7 weeks in here for a December marathon and it definitely feels like it's ramping up a bit but not into the "completely battered" phase yet.

    Given that Hanson's discourages racing how do people figure out if they should adjust their goal marathon pace if they think they may be getting fitter and a more ambitious target might be attainable?

  • Registered Users Posts: 561 ✭✭✭ Sandwell

    I think the consensus around here is that racing once or twice during the plan is no problem if you drop the Thursday and Tuesday sessions around it. If I were you I'd try and race a 10 mile or a half marathon 4-6 weeks out and base my marathon pace off the result using one of the race equivalency calculators.

    If you decide to stick to the letter of the plan then it will come down to the weekly MP tempo sessions. If you're finishing them feeling like you could carry on at that pace for a few more miles then it's probably a bit too easy and you could try dropping the pace by 5-10 seconds per mile the following week and see how that feels.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,673 ✭✭✭ Murph_D

    Another approach some have used is to keep an eye on your HR - or your perceived effort if you're good at judging - during the marathon pace tempos. If the effort levels get lower as the runs get longer that's a sign you might up the target a little. Of course the opposite is also true!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,581 ✭✭✭ DeepBlue

    Thanks @Sandwell and @Murph_D

    There may be scope to drop PMP by 5s or so but I'll see over the next week or so. If changing I'd like to do so as early as possible to get the max benefit of remaining training at the new paces. I don't think I'm going to race again in this block as it's too disruptive imo. Gonna trust the plan and see how it plays out.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,442 ✭✭✭ Trampas

    If doing a half I try and do it on a course that’s similar set up for a full. Give you a good idea where you stand.

    No point in doing a flat half if doing a hilly marathon as you might think I’m capable for a faster run than you think for course. Other way you might be faster in full than half time predicts