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The Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon

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In November I attended The Running Event in Austin, TX where I as asked to discuss foot strengthening with the company Hygenic (makers of Theraband and Biofreeze).  Here I was given a copy of the book, The Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon, and had a chance to meet the author Luke Humphrey.  Humphrey is an exercise physiologist and has also utilized the Hanson’s training principals to qualify for several Olympic Trials Marathons and a marathon PR of 2:14:39.  Coaches, as well as brothers, Kevin and Keith Hanson’s marathon plan is outlined and discussed by Luke Humphrey.
One of the unique aspects of this plan is that it doesn’t have runners doing the popular 20 mile long runs in preparation for the Marathon. In fact, the longest run is only 16 miles.  Their philosophy is based off of the training principals of famous New Zeleand running coach Arthur Lydiard who was a proponent of logging high mileage.  How can that be if the longest run is only 16 miles?  There are several important aspects to consider.  Even though the longest run may be 16 miles, the rest of the week’s mileage will easily add up to 50 plus miles.  In most traditional beginner plans, a runner may be logging 50 miles, but roughly 40% of that is performed on one day in the long run.  Here’s a quote from Runner’s World discussing the training program.

The Hansons’ schedules are based on the philosophy that no one workout is more important than another. “On some schedules, you rest the day before and after the 20-miler,” says Kevin. “That’s putting too much emphasis on one workout. And for someone whose weekly mileage is going to top out at 50, it means they’re doing 40 percent of their running in one day.” To people who question whether the elite Hansons-Brooks athletes do longer runs, he replies, “Sure, they’ll do a 20 to 22 miler, but it’s part of a 130-mile week. So it’s actually a smaller percentage of their total volume than it would be for someone doing less mileage.”

Something else to consider is that other programs typically have you resting on the day before and after a long run.  Hanson’s program will have you approach your long run with three 3 days worth of fatigue making the run feel like the last 16 miles of a marathon.

I haven’t read the book in it’s entirety, but from what I have read, it certainly offers more to gain then from following the popular Hal Higdon programs.  I feel those programs focus too much on long runs and short track workouts with less overall mileage.  Even the advanced programs feature track workouts at the beginning which is when runners should be focusing on building a base with aerobic training.  I do still think heart rate training needs to be incorporated as many runners do not understand pace and running easy.  Easy running is really more important then speed work when trying to build endurance to become faster.

Humphrey’s  book is available at Amazon and is also in ebook format for the iPad and Kindle.

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