Hanson’s Marathon Method–Personal Review

It’s been a long time coming, this review, lol!! I want to preface this post saying that my personal experience using this training plan is just that, my personal experience. And like with any plan, what works for me, might not work for others. I’m also no expert, so be aware of that going in to this post 😉

About the Plan

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High Mileage

That’s the premise behind Hanson’s Marathon Method–higher mileage so that the runner practices running on cumulative fatigue, similar to the end of the marathon. It’s six days of running with one rest day in the middle of the week, Wednesday. Regardless of whether you choose the Just Finish Plan (which maxes at round 50 miles/week), the Beginner Plan (which maxes at around 60 miles/week), or the Advanced Plan (which maxes out at around 70), it’s a lot of running. So unless you’ve already been training at that mileage, it will take some getting used to. I used a full month as pre-season training to transition to the start of the plan–that way, I wasn’t going from 0-to-60.

Specific Workouts

You are running 6 days a week and each day you are running has a purpose and prescribed pace–Easy Run, Speed/Strength Run, Tempo Run, Long Run. (Speed/Strength Run and Tempo Run are the Something of Substance (SOS) runs.) The book has paces for each run depending on your marathon goal. I liked having a set pace for each run and I liked knowing what each day was “supposed” to be. Some people do not like having such a structured plan, but I’m a rule follower by nature so this was perfect for me, lol. This is not to say that you cannot modify the plan, you can, and there’s a section in the book that talks about how. You can also hire a coach through Hanson’s website and they can create a plan specific to your life schedule.

The Plan.

My husband made this pretty chart for me.

Warm-up/Cool-down

The Speed/Strength and Tempo Runs come with a  1.5-2 mile warm-up and cool-down that are really essential to the success of the plan. So while the schedule would say 6 Miles Tempo, it was really more than that with the addition of the WU and CD. I mostly stuck to a mile for each and felt that it was super helpful as I began and finished each workout. I don’t recommend skipping it.

Supplemental Training

Running so much leaves little time for cross training and there’s a section in the book that discusses why they don’t suggest it. There’s also a section that include stretches and strength training exercises which they encourage you to include in your training. I did, and I felt that it was a big reason I was able to make it the whole way through without injury. I don’t recommend skipping it.

Okay, so there’s some basic stuff about the plan. What I want to share with you next are some more personal feelings/thoughts about it. 

Train Your Brain

It’s a lot of running. You know that going in because you’ve looked at the plan. But when you’re in the midst of it all, it can get to be a little crazy. I couldn’t believe I was doing double digit mid-week runs. I couldn’t believe I was running back to back to back to back days. I couldn’t believe a lot of things. I really had to focus on each day/workout and not look too far into the future/week so that I wouldn’t become overwhelmed. It can be daunting to look at your plan and see you have a 10 mile Tempo Run (that’s really like 12 miles total) and then see a 16 mile Long Run a few days later. I think if you accept the mileage going in, you’ll make your life a whole lot easier. Accept that it’s a lot of running. Trust that all that running is going to help you reach your goal. This also helped me throughout the training.

Train Your Brain: Part II

The SOS (Something of Substance) runs are hard but they are the bread and butter of the plan. You’re essentially running at or faster than your goal pace. As each week passed, and the mileage increased for those runs, I would sometimes doubt that I’d be able to nail the paces. I’d have to remind myself that I’d done it before, that’s it’s just ‘x’ amount more miles. It’s hard, but I would try to not sabotage my run before I even started. Positive thoughts. Accept the challenge, and just do it.

I found that these runs really built my confidence about my goal pace and also helped me internalize the pace. What I mean is that as each week passed, my body just did the pace. I didn’t have to rely on my watch to guide me.

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The 8:45 pace became home.

The 8:45 pace became home.

Garmin stats from NYC Marathon. 8:50 average...five seconds from goal pace.

Garmin stats from NYC Marathon. 8:50 average…five seconds from goal pace.

Read The Book (and join the club)

I know that sounds so obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people who’ve asked questions about the plan (from the Facebook group which you should join if you’re going to use this plan), simply didn’t read the book. I also followed a lot blogs from people who used the plan and one thing I often saw was they re-adjusted their goals once they grew into the paces/workouts. When I would see/read them do that, I would recall page 151 of the book: “Ask yourself if, when you first began training, you would have been happy with your original time goal. If the answer is “yes,” then why jeopardize training…?”

The book is sooooo thorough and explains everything. Anytime I had a question/doubt about anything, I would go back to the book. At the beginning, I was running the Easy Runs too fast and then in re-reading the book,I saw how it stressed these be done at easy pace. Once I modified, I felt the difference. Easy means easy.

I mentioned the Facebook group above. It was very helpful having a forum to go to with people who were using or have used the plan. Luke Humphrey, co-writer, is very active in it and answers a lot of runner questions. I was also congratulated by Keith Hanson himself 😀

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Reconsider Racing During Training

Unless you’re going to use the race as a training run, like legit follow the prescribed pace for the workout, I wouldn’t recommend to “race race” during the plan. My reasoning is that if you run a race and go all out, you’ll need recovery time afterward which means you’ll miss a few days of the plan. And because it’s a tough plan, going back after a fast race, to me, is risky. I did not race throughout the entire time I was using Hanson’s.

Eyes on the prize.

Be Ready to Make Sacrifices

I wrote about how not working helped me in being able to follow this plan and be successful. And even without that work commitment, I had to make some major adjustments to get each run in. A lot of these runs were done at crazy o’clock in the morning before my husband went to work. Some of these runs were done in the afternoon Arizona heat, as that was the only time I could get it in. When I went to visit my sister in Ohio, I planned in advanced when I would run (and ran in the rain on a few occasions, lol). I had to do what I had to do to make it work.

Many people who do have jobs have used this plan and have made it work. It just requires you to plan ahead, be disciplined, and stay committed. Hard, I know, but you already know going in that it’s 6 days of running. You gotta get it in somehow.

101 miles, 176, miles, 152 miles

June: 101 pre-season miles, 176 July miles, 152 August miles

198 miles, 184 miles

198 September miles, 184 October miles

But Don’t Sweat a Missed Workout

As you can see from the pictures, I did pretty good following the plan, especially at the beginning lol, and didn’t miss a whole lot of days. When I did take an extra rest day, I tried to have it be on an Easy Run day. The SOS runs are the biggies and I didn’t like missing those. That being said, if you have to miss a run, just pick up where you left off. I wouldn’t try to “make up” the miles. When I visited my sister in Ohio, I missed an SOS Tempo Run. So on my 16 mile Long Run day later that week, I did 5 miles at Long Run pace, 6 miles at Tempo pace, 5 miles Long Run pace. Bam, done.

Final Thoughts

Never once did I feel like I needed to do a 20 miler. I know that a lot of runners feel like they need to get to that major distance at least once in their training, but with Hanson’s, the three 16ers, the tempo runs at race pace, and the high weekly mileage was enough to make me feel like I was ready.

I absolutely love this plan. I felt that it put me in the best running shape of my life and I had never felt as confident going in to a race as I did at the start line of the New York City Marathon. I knew I had trained well.

And I met my sub 4 hour marathon goal.

3:58:40

3:58:40

–Have you used Hanson’s Marathon Method? What advice would you give to someone wanting to try the plan?

–Do you have a favorite training plan? 

–Are you a good plan follower? 

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SPIbelt Ambassador (and a Discount Code For YOU!)

I only ever promote races and products that I legit like and use and I’ve been a liker and a user of SPIbelt products since I began running seriously a couple of years ago. I wrote a review about it a while ago, too.

Anyway, I’m super happy to share with you I’ve been chosen as a SPIbelt ambassador (<–my little bio 😀 )!!

#holdsmystuff

#holdsmystuff

What’s a SPIbelt? Think of it like a fanny pack for walking/running/hiking, lol! But really though, it’s a small belt that holds stuff. When I race, I like my hands free so I carry my fuel and salt tabs in my SPIbelt. When I’m running alone during training, it holds my keys and phone.

SPIbelt offers different sizes and also has a special belt for diabetics (which I think is really neat). They offer a SPIband for your arm and even have a SPIleash! Beyond running, it’s good for travel, Disneyland, or even gym-ing (you know, when you’re working out but want your phone on you 😉 )

I’m not one to sign up for any ambassadorship that comes my way, but when I saw the opening for SPIbelt, I decided to drop my name in the hat. I hoped that if I was chosen, I’d have something to share with you besides my opinions on the product, lol. Sure enough, I’ve been given my own little code: Helly2017 You can use that bad boy to get 15% off your purchase.

Enjoy your weekend and maybe splurge on yourself with a SPIbelt 😉

❤ , helly

–Do you own a SPIbelt? What do you usually carry in it?

–Where do you put your stuff when you run?

–Oh, yeah! I almost forgot to share. The first time I had an Exercise Induced Allergic Reaction, I happened to have my phone in my SPIbelt. Thank goodness because I was able to call my husband! I wrote about that here.

 

Lace ‘Em Up Only Once!! Slick Laces {Review & Giveaway}

I’ve mentioned numerous times before the awesome running group I’m in. It’s a pretty large group of about 80 or so regulars–not all run on the same meet up days, but cumulatively, that’s about the average people active in our group.

Anyway, I’m pretty good friends with everyone but not many know I blog. (It’s one those things you just don’t announce, you know? lol!)  A couple of months ago, a friend in the group, Mark, who does know I blog, told me about a product a friend of his had designed.

It’s a shoe lace but not your normal shoe lace.

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He showed them to me as he had them on as we spoke and they did indeed look very interesting. No loose strings? No bunny ears?

My curiosity was piqued.

His buddy Jason, the designer/inventor, hooked me up with a pair and told me to give ’em a shot. He even was nice enough to show me how to lace them! (The product comes with instructions and there is a very helpful video on the website as well.)

As he taught me how to lace them properly, he gave me a little background on his product. Jason is a triathlete and in preparation for a 70.3 Ironman a while back, he found that he was losing precious seconds tying his shoes getting off the bike. Lo and behold, inspiration for Slick Laces was born!

He knew other products like it existed but what he wanted–and what he created–was a no-tie lace that can be reused. Similar products are sold for a one-time, one-shoe use but not Slick Laces. End of the road for your current shoes? No problem, transfer the laces to your new pair.

Big, big plus.

Questions I had:

**Will my shoe be loose or become loose after taking it off and on?

The answer was no. When you first lace up the shoe, you decide how tight you want it (not crazy tight because you need to put it on) but you can still create a snug feel because the laces expand. They expand but they DO NOT become loose-er as you wear them. The Snap Disc (the pink part on my laces) prevents that from happening. I’ve taken them out for a few miles already and they’re just as snug as the first time I put them on.

**What do I do with the excess lace?

Do not cut. Cutting prevents you from being able to re-use the lace as the length my differ in your next shoe. Cutting will also cause the lace to fray. Instead, it is recommended you tuck the excess lace underneath the crossing of your shoe.

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I do not feel the excess lace at all when I have the shoe on. I also don’t think there’d be a crazy amount left over for it to be an issue.

**What if I tie my laces in an unorthodox way?”

Doesn’t matter. You can tie your Slick Laces any way you want.

The Rundown:

Likes

–The big one: It can be used with any shoe even after your old pair are done for. (Yes, I do like to save money 🙂 )

–Easy installation. The instructions on the back are thorough and the company does a good job of detailing further in its video online.

–No more worrying about your laces coming untied. The worst is when you’re mid-race and have to stop to tie your shoe. Then you of course have to tie the other to make sure both are equally tight, right? Not a problem with Slick Laces.

–For the triathlete, when you’re transitioning from bike to run, all you gotta do is slip on your shoe.

–I tie my shoes the good ‘ol fashion way but have friends who do it differently. They’re not singled out with this product.

–Not just for runners. Slick Laces would be great for my kids as they begin to transition into big boy/girl shoes (kid lengths available) and for my grandma who is over having to bend down and tie her shoes (love you, Nana!).

Dislikes

–Not at a lot of color options for the Snap Disc at the moment (hello, where’s purple?!) but they have the basics down.

–Currently, laces only come in black.

This isn’t a dislike but just a head’s up: it does take more than a minute to lace the first time, but once you do, you don’t have to worry about anything ever again. Just slip on and go! 🙂

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Before and after! 🙂

Jason was sweet enough to gift me another pair to give to ONE OF YOU!!! You’ll get to choose the color of the Disc so check out their website!

To enter, all you have to do is click on the Rafflecopter giveaway link below — A winner will be announced on Monday, back-to-school/work day for Helly 😀 (Giveaway is for readers in the United States only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re interested in Slick Laces but don’t wanna wait to see if you win, check out their website and treat yourself to some extra free time. 🙂

I was provided with a pair of Slick Laces to review but as always, opinions expressed on my blog are honest and my own.

–Have you ever had to tie your shoe(s) mid-race?

–Were you taught to tie your shoes using Bunny Ears?

Linking with Smitha and Erica for the Wednesday Giveaway Roundup!! Thanks gals!!

smitha