Well, I did it. I committed to running the Marine Corps Marathon this year after taking a break from long-distance running for the last two years. This will be my fourth MCM and sixth marathon. I’m not a fast runner but I’ve always dreamt of qualifying for the Boston Marathon and after this year’s Boston, I decided I was going to train to qualify. For my age group, I need to run a 4:00 marathon. My previous times were MCM 1997 4:26, MCM 2009 4:15, MCM 2010 4:30, Rock n’ Roll San Antonio 2010 4:40 (it was really really hot). As you can see, my previous times are a far cry from 4:00.
Nonetheless, I’m going to try.
There are many training plans out there, which I’ve never followed before. But I know that if I’m really serious about my training, then I need a serious training plan. I decided to follow the Hansons Marathon Method, A Renegade Path To Your Fastest Marathon. The book is written by Luke Humphrey with Keith & Kevin Hanson.
“The Hansons Marathon Method teaches a strategic and scientifically grounded approach to everything from the long run to speed workouts to pacing.” Kevin Hanson
The Hansons Marathon Method training is based on the fundamental principle of “cumulative fatigue” in combination with the five components of Mileage, Intensity, Balance, Consistency, and Recovery. The program works by gradually increasing both mileage and training intensity. Speed workouts and Tempo runs don’t make an appearance until the sixth week of training. This training method tries to simulate running the last 16 miles of the marathon, not the first 16 miles. This is done through the cumulative fatigue principle.
“Cumulative fatigue is the accumulation of fatigue over days, weeks, and even months of consistent training.”
For the beginners program (http://www.hansons-running.com/training-plans/beginner-training-plan/) the longest distance you run during the 18 weeks of training caps off at 16 miles. However, by the end of the sixth week of training you are running 6 days per week and 40 miles per week. The plan continues with running 6 days per week with a maximum of about 60 miles per week. Every Tuesday is a proscribed speed workout, every Thursday is a proscribed Tempo run, and every other day of the week (except Wednesday) is a specific number of “easy” miles to run.
Throughout Fall 2012, I was running easy, not really training for anything, and participating in the EX2 Backyard Burn 10 mile trail runs. Since the last of the fall series in December, I hadn’t been running much. My running only comes in “easy” runs with a little walking when the uphill is kicking my butt. I’ve never run a Tempo run or done a speed workout and with the exception of marathon week, I don’t think I’ve ever run a 40 mile week. Truly a beginner here.My official training started on Sunday June 23 but for the 6 weeks prior to that, I was reading the book, building a base, getting back into the habit of running, and trying to decide if I was really going to follow this method. After loosely following the first few weeks of the beginners plan , I certainly understood what cumulative fatigue meant. But I also was beginning to understand what following the plan was doing for me. I understand and appreciate that the plan is preparing me for the last 16 miles of the marathon.
When I run easy, I like to listen to books. It happened that I was listening to Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. It seemed a very appropriate book to be listening to as I was deciding about the marathon and the training method.
Outliers: The Story of Success is a non-fiction book written by Malcolm Gladwell and published by Little, Brown and Company on November 18, 2008. In Outliers, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. To support his thesis, he examines the causes of why the majority of Canadian ice hockey players are born in the first few months of the calendar year, how Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates achieved his extreme wealth, how The Beatles became one of the most successful musical acts in human history, how Joseph Flom built Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom into one of the most successful law firms in the world, how cultural differences play a large part in perceived intelligence and rational decision making, and how two people with exceptional intelligence, Christopher Langan and J. Robert Oppenheimer, end up with such vastly different fortunes. Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.
After listening to several of the examples of how success was achieved, I made the decision to follow the Hansons Method. Successfully running a marathon and striving for a specific goal does indeed require a number of factors that Gladwell discussed. Ah, convergence.
So, each week from now until the marathon, I will be chronicling my experiences training with the Hansons Method. I hope you enjoy reading.
- Hansons Half Marathon Training Plan (shangrilolly.com)
- Well: Running With the Hansons Method (well.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Trying A New Marathon Training Plan (reach-yourpeak.com)