MCM13: Week 7 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Co-owner, Metro Run & Walk, Certified Pedorthist, and Runner

Undoubtedly the hardest week of running in many years for me.  It wasn’t the mileage or the frequency… it was the location.  We were on vacation at Smith Mountain Lake and THERE IS NOWHERE to run that is ANYTHING CLOSE TO FLAT!  Well, let me temper that a little bit.  I was able to find 600m for my Tuesday speed workout that was a mild convex but other than that, there were hills, hills, and more hills.

Of course, I know that hill running is beneficial and I don’t shy away from them during my running at home.  In fact, last summer, I ran Hood to Coast with our neighborhood team where there are many, many hills — both up and down.  My first and third legs were easy, but the second leg which I “ran” at 11:00pm at night was on a very dusty gravel road up a mountain (Leg 20:  challenging up and downhills on partially paved and gravel.  Note:  A bandana or scarf is recommended to ease breathing due to dust on gravel road.   Yep, I can confirm that.  To see the elevation changes: Just in case Joe, our team captain, is reading this; I need to point out that I didn’t volunteer for those legs, complained when I got assigned them, cursed when I was doing Leg 20, and like to point out to anyone who will listen how difficult it was.  Nonetheless, I trained for it and regularly include hills in my training now.

Smith Mountain Lake Terrain Map

Smith Mountain Lake Terrain Map

Back to Smith Mountain Lake running.  I don’t think that I ran the downhills smartly.  I believe this based on how sore my quads are.  I must have been braking on the downhill stretchs.  Runners World has a good article on how to run hills:

Here I am doing all this complaining about hills and terrain and when I get home and pick up the Washington Post magazine in Sunday’s paper and the First Person Singular article is about Maria Shields a woman who took up running and ran her first marathon at 45.  Now over 50 years old, she is running 100 mile ultra runs and won her age group.   Her picture shows her happy, smiling and I’m sure not a wimp when it comes it hills.  I vow to be more like her!

This week, I finished listening to Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.  While listening to it I was struck with the repeated references to the “old man coming out of the sea each morning.”  I think it struck a chord with me because I listened to The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway several years ago.  It made me wonder what, if any, relationship existed between Steinbeck and Hemingway.  Did they know each other?  Where they friends?  Did they discuss their stories? Cannery Row was written in 1945 and The Old Man and the Sea in 1951.  That surprised me for some reason.  I imagined that Steinbeck’s old man was influenced by Hemingway’s old man.   According to the little bit of research I did, Steinbeck and Hemingway only met in person one time, although Steinbeck admitted that his writing was heavily influenced by Hemingway’s works while Hemingway reputedly did not fully appreciate Steinbeck’s works.

Now I’m on to Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  Odd that this is the second dystopian novels I’ve listened to in several weeks.  There are familiar themes in both The Handmaids Tale and Fahrenheit 451 — procreation, the political climate, overpowering the government and establishment of a new order, the role of women,and the role of technology.  I wonder that science fiction authors know that the rest of us don’t.  Bradbury writes about newspapers as moths that open and die just as our newspapers are dying today.   My (step)dad loves to ask the question “What will the world be like for your great, great grandchild?”  I’m sure I don’t know, but maybe today’s science fiction writers have some inkling.   I think I’ll stay away from science fiction for the next few books.

By now, you might be wondering, did I do any actual running as opposed to complaining about hills and listening to my books.  Well, yes I did.  We arrived on Saturday and both my Saturday and Sunday runs are included the my Week 6 post.

Week 7 Plan vs Actual

Week 7 Plan vs Actual

Monday 8/5

SML Trail Map

SML Trail Map

We went over to Smith Mountain Lake State Park for a bit of trail running.  Ran a moderately difficult 4 mile trail run with guess what?  Yes Hills!  IT was a beautiful run and a portion of the trail took us along the lakeshore and past the Osprey Nest.   We really couldn’t see the nest through the trees, but from a boat on the lake, you can easily see the nest, “Parker” the osprey, and the camera.  Parker the osprey has his own video streaming channel at:  Who knew?

While we were at the State Park, I was scoping out where I might do my Tuesday speed workout.  I think I might have a route.

Tuesday 8/6

The plan calls for 8x600m with 400 recovery.  I walked off a 600m course that started just before you enter the Park, past the Visitor Center, and down to the Hiking Trails parking lot.  Its not as flat as a track but not too bad.  A little convex with inclines at both ends.

Warmed up with an easy 1 mile where I placed my water on both ends of the 600m course and figured out the 400m recovery landmarks on both ends.  Then, off I went. 600m in one direction with a 400m recovery, then 600m in the other direction with a 400m recovery.   I really prefer to run by myself, but Mark wanted to run the last 600 with me.  I realized that running fast is easier when you’re distracted with music or a book.  That last 600 was really hard!  It turns out it was my fastest one as well.

Speed workouts develop aerobic capacity and should be run just under your maximal aerobic capacity, not beyond it… If you do the early intervals faster than the workout pace, there’s a good chance the late intervals will be slower.  This means you didn’t accumulate any training at the desired pace which was specifically set to stimulate aerobic capacity.

I was able to maintain a pretty speedy pace for all 8 with all 8 intervals being under the workout pace, so while I’m faster than I should be (NEVER thought I’d say that!), I’m pretty consistent and able to complete all intervals under the workout pace.  As the intervals get longer, I hope I’ll be able to figure out the appropriate speed pacing.

When we got back to the house, my future (step) grandchildren asked to go running.  Twin girls, aged 7.  One wants to train and run a 5k next July 4th — the Applegrove 5k.  So, with tired legs, I take them out and give a quick Good Form Running lesson and we run a delightfully slow mile.  They both ran great!

Wednesday 8/7

I enjoy an off day.  Yay!

Thursday 8/8

Today is my Tempo 5 which really means 7-9 miles because of the warm-up and recovery miles.  I really struggled to find a course that I thought I could be successful on.  Everywhere we drove earlier in the week, Where's a flat road?I was on the lookout for a route, a trail, a community with sidewalks, anything besides the small country roads that surrounded where were were staying.  Throughout this process, I had a visual image of myself in a maze trying to find my way.

At one point, I drove to the Booker T, Washington Museum in Moneta VA thinking that there would be long stretches of roads to run.  No, just a short driveway, but while I was there it reminded me of when we were staying at Peaks of Otter 14 years ago with Mark’s family celebrating his parents 50th wedding anniversary.  We took several field trips one to the Booker T. Washington museum.  My mother-in-law asked my oldest daughter, Marjorie,  to prepare an oral presentation that she would share with the family at the museum.  Somehow, a miscommunication occurred and Marjorie prepared a report on George Washington Carver.  No one realized the mistake until she started her presentation in the auditorium of the museum.  Nonplussed, she just continued with her presentation which was fine because in 1896 Booker T Washington invited Carver to head the Agriculture Department at the Tuskegee Institute — convergence!

Back to running… finally realizing that I was being ridiculous and that I needed to just embrace my location, I mapped out my run.    My warm-up was a nice easy 9:55 on rolling hills, and then I started my tempo run.  Knowing that I would run faster on the downhills, I gave myself permission to walk the steepest uphills.  There were several rolling gravel sideroads that allowed me to get back into a regular pace.  Finished my tempo 5 almost exactly according to goal pace and enjoyed an easy 1 mile recovery run and .5 mile walk back to the house.

Friday 8/9

Nothing special here.  Ran an easy 4 on the local roads while listening to my book.

Saturday 8/10

Just as last Saturday, we were planning to pack and leave early, this Saturday we planned to pack and leave by 10am.  We were mostly packed by Friday bedtime, but you can’t fully pack the kitchen, toiletries or your clothes the night before.  Particularly your clothes if you have to run the morning of your departure.

I set the alarm for 6am so I could get out by 7am with the goal of being back by 8:20.  Even though the plan called for an easy 6, I like to walk a half mile or so before and after.   Because it was an easy 6, I ran on the local roads stopping and exploring a bit more.  I stopped at one property for sale and looked at the real estate brochure.  5 acres high up above the lake, 4 bedroom house listed for $1.1 million.  Guess we’ll continue to rent.

Sunday 8/11

This week starts the third component of the Hanson SOS workouts — the long run.  (The first and second being the speed and tempo — see Week 6.)

The long run should simulate the last 16 miles of the marathon… The plan allows for partial recovery, but it is designed to keep you from feeling completely fresh going into a long run.  The benefits of long runs include:

— confidence building as you increase milage across weeks

— improved VO2 max

— ability to utilize fat on a cellular level

— increased muscle strength

— increased energy stores in muscles

While initially reading the book, I either misread or misunderstood and thought that my pace for the long run should be 9 minute miles — faster than the tempo runs!  That didn’t make any sense, so I read and re-read and re-read the material discussing the long run.  Finally, I understand the my desired pace for the long run is shown in Table 3.5 Pace Chart for Various Training Intensities and should be 9:53 minute miles.  The material covering the long run is rather confusing in the book and as it is discussed in multiple chapters.

I’m back on home turf and know what to expect in terms of hills (both steep and gradual), routes, sunny vs shady paths, long straight stretches, etc.  This is good.  EXCEPT, I’m sleepy and don’t get up as early as I wanted.  The consequence of this is that I missed the cloudy, cool morning and didn’t get out until about 8:45am.  Right when the sun came out.  Serves me right.

I started nice and easy, got into a nice pace and groove for most of the run, walked a few times, stopped once to stretch since my quads were tight and a little sore from the hills, and finished with a 9:33 pace for the 10 miles.


All in all, a good week of running, reading / listening, and down time.  Going forward, I think that I really need to try to match the proscribed paces for each type of run.  The intensity and total number of weekly miles is really starting to ramp up in the next 2 weeks.

Nutrition will play a really key role and I’m definitely working on that as well.  Now that I’m back with internet, I’ll finish my first nutrition accompaniment article and post it quickly.

Until next week, stay healthy and injury free.  Happy Running!


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12 Responses to MCM13: Week 7 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

  1. Pingback: MCM13: My training ends… | Run, Walk, Live in Springfield, Virginia

  2. Pingback: MCM13: Week 13 & 14 Training with Hansons Marathon Method | Run, Walk, Live in Springfield, Virginia

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  4. jblairlane says:

    Ok, I finished week six yesterday and started week 7 today. Those back to back 8 milers really boosted my confidence. It’s been really rainy here – so that’s been a challenge. Still slow, but I’m moving forward with the training plan.

  5. jblairlane says:

    Aside from the tracks at the schools, nothing is flat here (rocky mtns) – I have a love/hate relationship with the hills lol. I see that you listen to books while you run, hmm, I hadn’t thought of doing that. Might be a good way to take my mind off of what I’m doing 🙂

    • Books help tremendously although you have to find the right ones to keep your interest. My future son-in-law decided to start listening to books and he said 1776 by David McCullough for this first book. He just about to give up because of the sheer boredom. He said he couldn’t keep focused on what he was listening to. Having read 1776 in a book club, I understood completely and recommended others. He now is a convert. My unsolicited advice: (1) stay with an author you like (2) stick to the subject matter you enjoy listening to or learning about (3) read the book summary and all of the listeners reviews. Those reviews will at least either forewarn you or convince you. (4) listen to the sample; the narrators voice, cadence, and tone make a huge difference. I am a subscribed to and they have enough specials and sales to keep the cost down. You could do the public library but I’ve found that the selection isn’t that great (for me). ITunes is pretty expensive for the number of books I go thru.

      If you’re training in the SML area, you’ll be in amazing shape by the time you finish the Hansons program. Those hills will make you so much stronger! Definitely find a way to get some flat runs in though especially if the marathon you’re training for is flat or semi-flat. The SML State Park seemed like a great place to get some runs in.

      Keep in touch. I’d love to hear how your training is going.

  6. Pingback: MCM13: Week 11 Training with Hansons Marathon Method | Run, Walk, Live in Springfield, Virginia

  7. Pingback: MCM13: Week 10 Training with Hansons Marathon Method | Run, Walk, Live in Springfield, Virginia

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