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Hansons Method

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  • I'm a big fan of the Hanson's method. I've done 2 cycles of it, dropping from a 3.08 PB in 2017 to 2.59 in 2018 then 2.52 last month.

    It's pretty demanding overall but I've felt very well prepared for my last 2 races. In 2018 I followed the advanced plan laid out in the book, for the last cycle I beefed it as all up a little while following the same 6 day structure ( adding some easy doubles, extra on long runs and pushed the pace on intervals). I topped out just under 130k in my peak week this time round.

    In terms of tips for the plan. Consistency really is key with this one. Same structure pretty much week after week. The MP runs sat in the back of my head for a few days before but I always managed my pace. They are tough at times but definitely have you ready for race day. I found the speed work really challenging but it really prepares you well for the tempo like strength work later in the plan.

    When I raced usually did so on tired legs then modified the Tuesday run. Worked for me with a few PBs racked up each cycle.

    Feel free to fire me a message if you have any questions.




  • skyblue46 wrote: »
    I've had a think about this and I won't be 'following' the plan for the Amsterdam Half. For me at this point it is overly regimental and changing runs seems to be problematical. This wouldn't be a problem if there was a major goal to be achieved at the end of it all. I decided not to do DCM as I didn't want to be tied religiously to a plan which would prevent me running the races that I'd like to. I will pull quite a lot of the general structure into my training though.

    I wouldn’t say changing runs is a problem. When I did the HM version a couple of years ago I regularly swapped the Tues session for whatever was going on at the club. As long as the pace and volume is broadly comparable, I think it’s always acceptable to do this - preferable, almost, as running sessions in a group is psychologically easier (if you have the discipline to not overcook things). I hear you about the tune up races although on the other hand if the half isn’t a major goal race, so what if you depart from the plan?




  • Hey - Here is the plan based on 3:10. I put in the training paces and Race series dates.

    10k - Don't see an issue with it. You will have 5x1,000m intervals the following Tuesday which should be ok, just err on the side of caution if legs are toasted from the 10k.

    10m - Same weekend as your 15M LR. LRs are precious in the plan. If doing the 10m on the Saturday then I'd suggest dropping the pace of your LR the next day to the lower end of easy (8:45)

    HM - This is the dilemma. You have your 2nd 16m LR on that weekend. Are you willing to give it up for the half marathon? Will you be aiming to race the HM? Personally, I'd drop it if its your first time using the Hansons plan. You will certainly have the cumulative fatigue in your legs already from a 9m tempo (MP) run (13m total) 2 days prior to the Race Series Half and you will risk dropping the 16m LR.

    This is actually a key week as you have 3 sessions, 3x 2mile strength, 9m tempo and 16m LR all in a 62m week.

    To race the HM you would likely have to drop the 9m Tempo and the 16m LR or do some careful workarounds. Then you have to consider the 2x3m strength session the following Tuesday. Its not far off doing 2x 5k at your HM pace 3 days after doing the HM itself. You risk giving up 3 key workouts for the half marathon. Hence the dilemma....

    To add to that, Chapter 5 has some recommendations on when and how to work around races. Generally the advice for a Saturday race is to drop the Thurs tempo, and keep the Sun LR easy, cutting it back by 20 percent if necessary.




  • Hanson Marathon Book ordered for DCM 19. Did Hanson Half Advanced for Mullingar which worked out very well (pb). The last 5 miles were into a significant headwind on the exposed canal etc and this is where I felt the Hanson prep really helped. The legs could manage the additional loading and the head ( probably more important in my case (smiley) benefited.





  • To race the HM you would likely have to drop the 9m Tempo and the 16m LR or do some careful workarounds. Then you have to consider the 2x3m strength session the following Tuesday. Its not far off doing 2x 5k at your HM pace 3 days after doing the HM itself. You risk giving up 3 key workouts for the half marathon. Hence the dilemma....

    The main thing, is to keep the main thing, the main thing.

    Be clear on what the 'Main Thing' is.


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  • I did my first tempo session yesterday. It was a 5k (3 mile) with warm up and cool down. I found it tough doing the full 5 k at that speed (especially in this horrible muggy heat).

    In the P&L plan I did before, the tempos start as splits so the first one is 14 mins tempo, 4 min jog, 12 mins tempo. I found these easier despite the same amount of time at similar pace. Does anyone know what impact a 4 min jog in the middle makes?




  • chickey2 wrote: »
    I did my first tempo session yesterday. It was a 5k (3 mile) with warm up and cool down. I found it tough doing the full 5 k at that speed (especially in this horrible muggy heat).

    In the P&L plan I did before, the tempos start as splits so the first one is 14 mins tempo, 4 min jog, 12 mins tempo. I found these easier despite the same amount of time at similar pace. Does anyone know what impact a 4 min jog in the middle makes?

    Struggling to remember P+L now, but are they not quite different sessions? P+L being LT runs and HMM being pace runs?

    I'm not sure about breaking the tempo runs up, tbh. The guidance seems to be that if you can't complete the SOS, your pace might be a bit hot. I will say that the half tempo runs were TOUGH.




  • chickey2 wrote: »
    I did my first tempo session yesterday. It was a 5k (3 mile) with warm up and cool down. I found it tough doing the full 5 k at that speed (especially in this horrible muggy heat).

    In the P&L plan I did before, the tempos start as splits so the first one is 14 mins tempo, 4 min jog, 12 mins tempo. I found these easier despite the same amount of time at similar pace. Does anyone know what impact a 4 min jog in the middle makes?

    Back off the pace a little (5-10secs), it will become more achieveable as your training progresses and you fitness improves.
    Are you basing your tempo pace off a recent race, or an aspirational marathon goal?




  • Got the book. Powering through it now.

    Tested out the tempo last evening. 1.5 mile warm up/down. Then a 5 mile tempo. The goal was 6:52 per mile.

    6:56
    6:54
    6:50
    6:51
    6:47

    Works out at 6:52 average. The run was testing but do-able. Enjoyed it actually. Weather was nice.




  • BeepBeep67 wrote: »
    Back off the pace a little (5-10secs), it will become more achieveable as your training progresses and you fitness improves.
    Are you basing your tempo pace off a recent race, or an aspirational marathon goal?

    I'm following the half plan so the tempo is half marathon pace.

    I'm basing it off a goal of 1:45 which is just an even number slightly less than my pb (1:48). My recent 5k time is 23:26 which gives a predicted half of 1:48. I hadn't done much training for the 5k though and I've no other longer races recently. I think I'll keep going with the goal of 1:45 and see how I get on with the tempos. I managed to keep the pace but found it tough. I think it's supposed to be though! I've signed up for the race series 10k so if I can do that in less than 48 then a 1:45 half is realistic.

    It's hard to pick a goal that's challenging but realistic.


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  • chickey2 wrote:
    I'm basing it off a goal of 1:45 which is just an even number slightly less than my pb (1:48). My recent 5k time is 23:26 which gives a predicted half of 1:48. I hadn't done much training for the 5k though and I've no other longer races recently. I think I'll keep going with the goal of 1:45 and see how I get on with the tempos. I managed to keep the pace but found it tough. I think it's supposed to be though! I've signed up for the race series 10k so if I can do that in less than 48 then a 1:45 half is realistic.

    Honestly I think you should be training to current fitness and not goal fitness.

    I'd also say that a HM effort (not pace) session over 5k should be reasonably manageable so you probably need to dial back a bit for now anyway.

    I'd also be a little worried with some of those tempo runs in the plan. Some people will end up running ridiculously long (in terms of time) HM paced sessions.




  • Honestly I think you should be training to current fitness and not goal fitness.

    I'd also say that a HM effort (not pace) session over 5k should be reasonably manageable so you probably need to dial back a bit for now anyway.

    I'd also be a little worried with some of those tempo runs in the plan. Some people will end up running ridiculously long (in terms of time) HM paced sessions.

    Yeah you're right. I guess I was disappointed that my predicted time was exactly the same as my pb and all I want to do is beat it! Better to be realistic though than run myself into the ground.

    That's an interesting point about the time running tempo on the half plan especially for slower runners. The longest tempo is 7 miles. At my goal pace of 8 min/mile that's 56 minutes of tempo (not including wu/cd). The P&L plan on the other hand has all the runs in time rather than distance.

    I've just had another look at the book. It does say the tempo runs will decide whether you've selected the right goal! I did manage to keep the pace though and it was very warm and muggy....Maybe I'll see how next week's tempo goes.




  • chickey2 wrote:
    I've just had another look at the book. It does say the tempo runs will decide whether you've selected the right goal! I did manage to keep the pace though and it was very warm and muggy....Maybe I'll see how next week's tempo goes.

    chickey2 wrote:
    Yeah you're right. I guess I was disappointed that my predicted time was exactly the same as my pb and all I want to do is beat it! Better to be realistic though than run myself into the ground.

    Training to current fitness will very likely leave you in a position to beat it. Have faith! Train smart and run yourself into the ground on race day ;)
    chickey2 wrote:
    That's an interesting point about the time running tempo on the half plan especially for slower runners. The longest tempo is 7 miles. At my goal pace of 8 min/mile that's 56 minutes of tempo (not including wu/cd). The P&L plan on the other hand has all the runs in time rather than distance.

    Yep everything about that makes me feel uncomfortable but others might disagree. 56 mins of HM effort is a huge effort in my opinion. That being said I haven't read the book so I'm not really in a position to comment.
    chickey2 wrote:
    I've just had another look at the book. It does say the tempo runs will decide whether you've selected the right goal! I did manage to keep the pace though and it was very warm and muggy....Maybe I'll see how next week's tempo goes.

    The only thing I'd say here is "managing to keep pace" to me sound more than tempo effort. But tempo as I know it and tempo as Hansen defines could be two very different things.




  • You can't compare Pfitzinger tempo (LT) with Hanson tempo (race pace) - unless your goal race time is about an hour, in which case they will be about the same! :p

    Absolutely train to current fitness. 3 min faster than 'predicted MP' is too much. C, you'd be far better off dialing down on the paces - extrapolate 1:48 pace from somewhere between whatever is suggested for 1:45 and 1:50.

    As to worrying about length of race pace ('tempo') runs - it doesn't go beyond a little over half the race distance (if I remember accurately), which is tough but manageable, when you get to that advanced stage of the schedule.

    Again 'tempo' is a relative term. Hanson 'tempo' just means race pace, so not a particularly difficult pace to maintain (psychologically) in the context of a plan with lengthy faster speed/strength sessions built in. Don't get me wrong though - those longer tempo sessions will beat the crap out of you when they happen. But you'll be ready.

    The amount of running at goal pace is one of the distinguishing features of Hanson. I did a Pfitzinger HM plan the year before I tried the Hanson method - the Pfitzinger plan had, as far as I remember, only 2 miles of HMP running, and that was in the final week. Both methods worked out well for me but I found the Hanson version more effective (and perhaps more technically advanced).




  • Been a while since I read Hanson so I may be wrong but my understanding is that the tempo/race pace runs are about teaching your body what it feels like to run at race pace rather than running at perceived race effort and figuring out later what that means for pace.

    If the chosen target race pace makes the "tempo" too tough then you have the wrong target.

    I know people who have tweaked things by cutting them 10/15s slack in the tempo run during the first couple of weeks and waiting until the start of the strength phase to fully committ to target pace and then finished out the rest of the plan and ran the race at the revised target.




  • Hansons Tempo is MP. You do it from the start. The pace should feel "easier" by the time you get to the strength phase but you are running 50% more volume of that tempo, your mileage has increased 20% and you have fatigue in your legs.

    If you cannot sustain the tempo pace then you probably need to consider a different target.

    The objective of the session is to dial the pace (not the effort) into the legs, on tired legs. Making it easier by 10-15secs for the first 10 weeks is counter intuitive IMO and speeding up by 10 secs when the tempo run hits 9m is asking for it.

    It was only on the day rested and fuelled up did that pace feel easy, at east for the first hour




  • Hansons Tempo is MP. You do it from the start. The pace should feel "easier" by the time you get to the strength phase but you are running 50% more volume of that tempo, your mileage has increased 20% and you have fatigue in your legs.

    If you cannot sustain the tempo pace then you probably need to consider a different target.

    The objective of the session is to dial the pace (not the effort) into the legs, on tired legs. Making it easier by 10-15secs for the first 10 weeks is counter intuitive IMO and speeding up by 10 secs when the tempo run hits 9m is asking for it.

    It was only on the day rested and fuelled up did that pace feel easy, at east for the first hour

    Won't disagree with you as I did it by the book from day one and nailed my colours to the mast from the beginning in terms of target pace. At the same I have seen the more conservative option of allowing a small amount of goal creep work too.....I stress a SMALL amount of goal creep and probably more like when the tempo was moving to 7 or 8 rather than as late as 9.




  • This is a more novice question, but how do you settle on your target pace? I haven't raced longer than five miles this year and I'm finding it tricky to decide on a PMP. I trained last year with a 4:30 target (based on a HM of 2:08) but ended up deciding to aim for a more conservative time on the day of 4:40. I'm wondering if 4:30 is a good aim for DCM. I would like to race in the build up to DCM but don't think it's feasible at this point.




  • Huzzah! wrote: »
    This is a more novice question, but how do you settle on your target pace? I haven't raced longer than five miles this year and I'm finding it tricky to decide on a PMP. I trained last year with a 4:30 target (based on a HM of 2:08) but ended up deciding to aim for a more conservative time on the day of 4:40. I'm wondering if 4:30 is a good aim for DCM. I would like to race in the build up to DCM but don't think it's feasible at this point.

    It’s a stretch - but what time does your 5-mile suggest? A lot of the Hanson paces are based off 5k time as it happens. Some people feel differently about this, but I think you should base training paces off your fastest relative achievement - because that’s the best judgement of your potential. If you had a recent 10m or HM you’d have a better idea if your actual endurance - but the fact is your best race time is the best correlation to your actual VO2Max, LT etc, and PMP is always related to that. Be ambitious!

    (Caveat - my own best VDOT correlates to a MP that’s far below 3 hours, and that’s just ridiculous, so I’d exclude race times below 5k if they tell you anything different).




  • Murph_D wrote: »
    It’s a stretch - but what time does your 5-mile suggest? A lot of the Hanson paces are based off 5k time as it happens. Some people feel differently about this, but I think you should base training paces off your fastest relative achievement - because that’s the best judgement of your potential. If you had a recent 10m or HM you’d have a better idea if your actual endurance - but the fact is your best race time is the best correlation to your actual VO2Max, LT etc, and PMP is always related to that. Be ambitious!

    (Caveat - my own best VDOT correlates to a MP that’s far below 3 hours, and that’s just ridiculous, so I’d exclude race times below 5k if they tell you anything different).

    It gives me 4:20 approx which would equate to the paces I trained at using the half plan early last year. Might try it and see. I'll either be able for the tempo runs or I won't. Thanks.


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  • Great thread, i've been following and i finally managed to read through a good section of the HHMM book over the weekend.

    Question - has anyone jumped into one of the plans a few weeks in? Situation is i will have 13 weeks to train for a HM, i'm thinking if i skip the first 4 weeks and the last week of the strength (week 16) also. I'm already doing the mileage required for week 5 (beginner plan) so that's not a concern for me. I expect the result to be compromised, I could even possibly get a better result if i choose a different 12-14 plan but i'm keen to get a taste of Hanson and consider it an opportune time to do that without the risk involved in dedicating myself to it for 18 weeks of a marathon cycle. The HM is a goal race i suppose or at least it was at the start of the year but the year got off to a pretty poor start for 2-3 months so I'm just enjoying running and racing now and anything else is a bonus. So really what i hope to discover is if i enjoy training the Hanson way or not (and of course a small PB would be nice too!).

    Opinions welcome, tia :)




  • ariana` wrote: »
    Great thread, i've been following and i finally managed to read through a good section of the HHMM book over the weekend.

    Question - has anyone jumped into one of the plans a few weeks in? Situation is i will have 13 weeks to train for a HM, i'm thinking if i skip the first 4 weeks and the last week of the strength (week 16) also. I'm already doing the mileage required for week 5 (beginner plan) so that's not a concern for me. I expect the result to be compromised, I could even possibly get a better result if i choose a different 12-14 plan but i'm keen to get a taste of Hanson and consider it an opportune time to do that without the risk involved in dedicating myself to it for 18 weeks of a marathon cycle. The HM is a goal race i suppose or at least it was at the start of the year but the year got off to a pretty poor start for 2-3 months so I'm just enjoying running and racing now and anything else is a bonus. So really what i hope to discover is if i enjoy training the Hanson way or not (and of course a small PB would be nice too!).

    Opinions welcome, tia :)

    If you're planning on following the Beginner plan, then, imho, there's no issue with skipping the first four or five weeks as they're all just easy miles and you've a plenty good base. I don't see it as being a compromise at all.

    The way I see it is the mileage in the last 12 weeks of the beginner plan is similar, if not a bit higher, to the FRR half plan, so it should achieve good results.

    I do have a 12 week Hanson plan if you'd prefer that?




  • Huzzah! wrote: »
    If you're planning on following the Beginner plan, then, imho, there's no issue with skipping the first four or five weeks as they're all just easy miles and you've a plenty good base. I don't see it as being a compromise at all.

    The way I see it is the mileage in the last 12 weeks of the beginner plan is similar, if not a bit higher, to the FRR half plan, so it should achieve good results.

    I do have a 12 week Hanson plan if you'd prefer that?

    Thank E. And I'd love a look at the 12 week plan if you don't mind :)




  • ariana` wrote: »
    Thank E. And I'd love a look at the 12 week plan if you don't mind :)

    Yes, woukd be very interested also. Thanks




  • Another craic at sub 3 using the HM. First time I used it I got from 3.23 to 3.10. Last yr I trained for sub 3 but bottled it on the day and settled for a pb 3.05. Week holiday in the middle of the plan didn’t help. Think I’m heading to Amsterdam as I’m not around for DCM this yr.

    Did Manchester in April with some of the HM sessions but not as much training as for Berlin, found it hard to do the speed and tempo work in the dark. Came in 3.09 with a negative split so happy enough.

    This time around I’m going to try keep my LSR just below 8.00 min miles. That will be down from 8.10-8.20 or slower depending on how tired I was feeling. Also going to get my weight right. Hopefully that will get me over the sub 3 line. Main holiday out of the way already so no excuses there.




  • rooneyjm wrote: »
    Another craic at sub 3 using the HM. First time I used it I got from 3.23 to 3.10. Last yr I trained for sub 3 but bottled it on the day and settled for a pb 3.05. Week holiday in the middle of the plan didn’t help. Think I’m heading to Amsterdam as I’m not around for DCM this yr.

    Did Manchester in April with some of the HM sessions but not as much training as for Berlin, found it hard to do the speed and tempo work in the dark. Came in 3.09 with a negative split so happy enough.

    This time around I’m going to try keep my LSR just below 8.00 min miles. That will be down from 8.10-8.20 or slower depending on how tired I was feeling. Also going to get my weight right. Hopefully that will get me over the sub 3 line. Main holiday out of the way already so no excuses there.

    Best of luck with your sub 3 attempt. One small point if you have to focus on anything focus on sticking to the plan and getting the core sessions days right. Nothing wrong with going with feel if you are tried on an LR day as long as you stay within the range and if it means you are in better shape to get the next session done right then that is the important thing. A few secs a mile on a standard LR won't be the making or breaking of you. Not nailing the sessions would have a far greater effect IMHO.




  • FBOT01 wrote: »
    Best of luck with your sub 3 attempt. One small point if you have to focus on anything focus on sticking to the plan and getting the core sessions days right. Nothing wrong with going with feel if you are tried on an LR day as long as you stay within the range and if it means you are in better shape to get the next session done right then that is the important thing. A few secs a mile on a standard LR won't be the making or breaking of you. Not nailing the sessions would have a far greater effect IMHO.

    I was fairly good at hitting the sessions last time out. Was tracking at 3.03 until mile 24 so I don't think I need to change too much. Hopefully just a tweek here and there and back myself on the day.

    One thing I noticed was the Wednesday off really helped hitting the tempo paces in the latter stages of the plan. The weeks where I had to move things around and had to do an easy run the day before the tempo session I noticed a difference, ie harder to hit the 6.50pace.

    Did Mullingar 10mile in July last year instead of the tempo session that week. Good race. Also the previous year I did Dublin Half but used it as a Marathon Pace session. Some might think what's the point but can use it as a marathon day race prep and having to be disciplined to hold the MP.




  • rooneyjm wrote: »
    Another craic at sub 3 using the HM.......

    This time around I’m going to try keep my LSR just below 8.00 min miles. That will be down from 8.10-8.20 or slower depending on how tired I was feeling. Also going to get my weight right. Hopefully that will get me over the sub 3 line. Main holiday out of the way already so no excuses there.


    That is too slow for the method if you are aiming for sub 3. Its not a LSR its a LR. The pace prescribed would be closer to 7:25-7:30 for LRs. The objective of them is make them feel more like the last 16 miles of the marathon that the first 16m. Treat the LR as a SOS rather than a LSR.

    You get to the LR tired but cumulative fatigue is the principle of the plan. I found that the fast paced LR on already tired legs really stood to me at the business end of the marathon




  • Came across this today I figured it might help people get a bit of context around the training philosophy and methodology of this approach

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBuBii-Dc9Q


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  • Great thread! Very interesting approach and I'm also going to use it for a half marathon attempt. I have the 18 week plan but id love to see the 12 week one that was mentioned above if you get a chance.

    What is the main difference between them - less base building weeks?? Thanks!


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