Most of you who read on a regular basis know that I'm not a crowd follower. I like experimenting on my own. And challenging norms. I'm anti "we've always done it this way". And most importantly, I LOVE it when someone tells me that my plan won't work ... it's just fuels the fire my friend. That said, it IS nice occasionally when one of my hair-brained ideas is validated ... like my marathon training plan.
I'm by no means a great or elite runner, but since January 1, 2010, I've ran exactly 16,794 miles. I've also trained for, and completed 30 marathons, one ultra, and countless other races. I've been fortunate to BQ several times, set numerous PR's, and ran more than half of the marathons that I was "racing" under 3:30. And while I NEVER classify myself as a "running expert" ... I AM, without a doubt, the undisputed authority and outright expert of all-time on my body. After all those miles and training, I'm intimate with what works for me, and understand exactly what I respond to. And as a result, over the years my training plan has evolved to produce faster and faster race times, even as I inch closer and closer to 50 years of age.
I've always believed, simply from trial and error in my own training ... to run faster marathons, I needed to run faster during training. To me it was a matter of common sense. Moreover, after trying several marathon training methods, the ones in which I ran faster during training, always produced faster results on race day. So I developed a personalized plan in which I ran Tempo Workouts on Tuesday, Speed Workouts on Thursday, and race-paced Long Runs on the weekend. Of course I've received several "NOOOO Jim!!! You're doing it wrong!!!" over the years ... but it's a system that's worked for me, and I'm always thankful for the feedback from readers.
But recently I bought the book, "Hanson's Marathon Method" by Luke Humphrey and Keith and Kevin Hanson. And I was amazed at how similar my training method is to the one they've developed. Before I read the book, the only thing I knew about the Hanson Method was it recommended faster paces. But after delving into it, I learned it's a lot more involved than that. Their plan includes what they call Something Of Substance (SOS) workouts ... which are Tempo, Speed, and fast-paced Long Runs every week - sounds familiar. The biggest difference is that they run Speed Workouts on Tuesday, and Tempo Workouts on Thursday. Another key difference between my plan and theirs is the Long Run, and overall weekly mileage. They typically don't want runners going much over 60 miles per week, with a maximum Long Run of 16 miles. When I'm in a "maxed out" block, I'll reach mileage of 75-80 miles, with long runs of 20-24 miles. But they DO recommend faster paced Long Runs, which I completely advocate.
While I understand the physiology behind the Hanson Method, I won't be changing to it completely. But while they recommend NOT "tinkering" with the plan ... I will definitely take principles from it and "tinker" with mine, ha. The biggest thing I won't change in my plan are the Long Runs. I have friends who train with Long Runs of 16-18 miles and do just fine in marathons. But I've tried the reduced mileage in the past and it's just doesn't work for me. I really have to stretch myself out during Long Runs to race effectively. But one thing I will probably try is incorporating the Tempo and Speed Workout paces they recommend. Based on their charts, I've been running mine a little too fast.
More than anything, the book just made me feel like I'm not crazy with the way I train. Honestly, it doesn't bother me when people criticize my regimen ... I just wish they understood how much thought, research, and experience I've put into it over the years. I'm not a coach, and NEVER recommend my training practices for anyone else - I just know what works for me. But every once in a while it's nice to find "like minds" - and the Hanson's Marathon Method is just that for me.
... Be Great Today!