MCM13: Week 9 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

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

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

Here I am, halfway through the training for this year’s Marine Corps Marathon.  Overall, I am really enjoying the training and have come to appreciate the method.  Even though I’ve read the book several times and some of the chapters many times, I’m not sure I fully understand the science behind it, so there is a little bit of a “leap of faith” following the training.  Sure, lots of people have followed it and been successful, but as most of ask as I do “What about me?”

I think its ok to feel this way.  For me, its makes me more committed to following the plan.  For sure there are days when I don’t feel like running, or I’m feeling tired, or I don’t want to get up so early but overall not as much as I expected or feared.   I still have much to learn and lots of running to do before October 26, but am feeling pretty good about how things are going.

I am still listening to The Winter Sea, the story of the 1708 failed attempt by the Jacobites to bring King James of Scotland back to the throne of England.

Lessons Learned:

  • Choose shorter books.  I  like to listen to a different story each week.
  • Read the entire summary and review of the book.  I had a completely different impression of what the story would be.
  • Listen to the excerpt before purchasing the book to make sure you like the narrators voice and tempo.

All in all though, I did enjoy listening to the book and learned a lot about Scottish life in 1708.

After my run on Sunday of Week 8, Mark and I traveled to a retail conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

What a pretty little city.  The Grand River (yes, with wide slow rapids) flows right through the city.  Ordinarily, on the east side of the river, there is a path that parallels that river, but parts of it are under construction and closed for a short time.

This week, the plan takes another jump in intensity with the lengthening of both the Tempo Run (from 5 to 8 miles) and the Long Run (from 10 to 15 miles).   Those are big jumps in distances and based on how I was feeling at the end of the 5 mile Tempo Run and 10 mile Long run, going another 50% longer worries me.  I hope my training to this point has prepared me for it.

It takes a good number of tempo workouts before you fully internalize the pace and can regulate your runs based on feel.  What does change throughout training is the distance of these workouts.  Tempo runs are progressive in length, adjusting every few weeks, increasing from 5 miles to 10 miles over the last few weeks of training.

Week 9 Plan vs Actual

Week 9 Plan vs Actual

Monday 8/19

Beautiful, relatively cool morning here in Grand Rapids.  Ran North – South hoping to find sections where I could run along the river.  Never did, but enjoyed the run nonetheless.  Every ¾ mile or so, there is a riverside park so that made the feel of the run less urban.

You know how a sock can really dominate a run?  Well, last Saturday was a bad sock day and I ended up with a pretty big blister on the outside of my left big toe.  I haven’t had a blister in years.  It was a pretty big one though and it hurt so I have been wearing a gel toe cap since then to protect it and stop it from getting worse.

Tuesday 8/20

Gerald R. Ford Museum and Grounds

Gerald R. Ford Museum and Grounds

What is it about me that attracts groundskeepers and painters?  I crossed the river to run 1k laps around the Gerald Ford Museum.   The grounds were beautiful with grass, trees, flowering shrubs, flowers and a pretty fountain.   During my warm-up lap, no groundskeeper.  As soon as I start my first 1k interval, the groundskeepers virtually attacked the property.  It was a siege!  Grass flying, and freshly mowed grass smell clogging up my nose and lungs.

Having never done speed work before I started with Hansons, somehow I expected that even though the distance increased that it gets easier  because the number of repetitions decreased.  Silly me!  Not so.  5 x 1k was hard.

My goal pace for the 1k intervals was 4:48.   I was a few seconds slower than goal time on 3 of the 5 (4:55, 4:50, 4:50) laps, so I was feeling dispirited after finishing.  I worked really hard.  Is this an indication that I can’t run a sub 4:00 marathon if I can’t even hit the goal time on all my intervals?

On the flight home, I started reading The Charge, Activating the 10 Human Drivers That Make You Feel Alive, by Brendon Burchard.   (Yes, I can read as well as listen to books :>)  Chapter Three: The Drive for Competence starts with the following quote:

A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself.  — Alexander Dumas

Well that hit home!  Here I was feeling doubtful about achieving my goal based on NOTHING!  I remembered that the whole point of the training was to train my body for the marathon, not for the interval.  The intervals are simply one piece of the training and that my time goals for the speed work are based on a 24:00 5k which is actually a little bit faster than a 4:00 marathon.

Find your goal pace for 5k or 10k and run the designated interval as close to that pace as possible.

It doesn’t say run faster than the goal pace.  And a 1-2 second deviation (slower) which is how much I missed the intervals by is NOTHING!

Wednesday 8/21

Back home enjoying an off day.

Thursday 8/22

Today is the Tempo 8 which is a 3 mile increase in the Tempo run.  My goal pace for the Tempo run is 9:09 miles.  Because I had a 9am meeting at the store and Mark was in an early morning meeting in West Springfield, I decided to ride with Mark to his place of meeting and then run to the store.  I ran my warm-up through one of the neighborhoods in West Springfield until I arrived at one of the paths that access the Lake Accotink Park trail system.

I stayed on the trails and paths during the entire Tempo run so I could take advantage of the shade.  Surprisingly, I hit the 5 mile mark and didn’t feel fatigued.  Last week, when I hit the 4.5 mile mark for the 5 mile Tempo, I was thinking about how tired I was and how I was looking forward to finishing.  This week, even with the big increase in Tempo distance, I didn’t feel fatigued until the 7.5 mile mark.  I finish with an average 9:11 pace.  I’m feeling very happy with my time.

Have continued to wear the toe cap and the blister isn’t getting worse, but its not really getting better either.  And now after this morning’s Tempo run, I have a really bad blister on the inside of the left big toe so now I have big blisters on both sides of my toe.  Ouch.

Friday 8/23

I wrap my toe in gauze and then Duck tape.  It really hurts to put the tape on but once its on and my socks and shoes are on, it feels better.  Off I go on an Easy 6.  Dang it!  I forgot to charge my Garmin and it powers down after about a half mile.  I think my pace was probably 10:15 – 10:30, just right for an easy run.

Saturday 8/24

I feel like a baby complaining, but my toe hurts!  The blisters keep filling with fluid which tells me I’ve still got a problem.  This morning I wear my Injinji toe socks hoping that will help.

Run an Easy 5.

Sunday 8/25

Happy Birthday to me!

I’ve got a Long 15 to do this morning so I best prepare my toe wisely.  I put Spenco Blister Pads on both sides and then Injinji toe socks.  I probably should have wrapped it with the Duck tape again, but I didn’t.  I come to regret that.

I’ve having a great Long run.  Pace is good, working but not too hard.  Even do a little walking on some of the stiffer hills.  Again, I was expecting to fatigue at the 10 mile mark but no problem.  Still running strong until I get to about 14.5 then I start to feel pretty tired.  At about mile 12, I was really feeling the blisters on my left big toe and new toe pain on my right foot.  I know this pain.  My feet swelled and toe #3 on my right foot is banging into the front and top of the shoe.  Definitely going to loose that toe nail.

Sure enough, when I get home and take my shoes and socks off, I can already see the gray ghosting of the toenail.

Aside from toe problems, a hugely successful run!  I’m really happy.

Later that day I was talking to Paula and Fred (sister-in-law and brother-in-law; see Week 2).  They asked me how the training was going and how my long run went today and I told them how surprised I was that I didn’t feel fatigued as soon as I expected to.   Fred very simply said that my perception, thinking, and mental feeling was influencing me, not my physical feeling.  Another epiphany!  I think that’s true to a large extent.  On my Tempo 5, I was feeling fatigued towards the end of my run, but the very next week on my Tempo 8 I wasn’t feeling fatigued until the end of that run in spite of the (relatively) big increase in miles.

Confidence is key.


Another really good week of training.  I’ve just to solve my toe problems so they don’t get in the way.  That’ll easily be solved with shoes a half-size longer and more consistent use of Duck tape.

Until next week, train well and stay healthy.


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5 Responses to MCM13: Week 9 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

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

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