MCM13: Week 12 Training with Hansons Marathon Method

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

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

My oldest daughter, Marjorie, is getting married on Saturday the 21st and things are getting pretty busy around here getting ready.  Throw in training using the Hansons Method with 49 scheduled miles for the week, a key employee being on vacation and needing to work the floor more than usual, flooring work being done in a rental house we own and needing to be present when the renter is at work, and a trail 1/2 marathon and you’ve got an insane woman.

The trail 1/2 marathon I’m running is hosted by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club ( and is a woman-only 1/2 marathon run at Fountainhead Park.  It is a difficult trail.   This will be the third time that Marjorie and I have run this race “competing” in the Mother-Daughter category.  When I told Marjorie that I signed us up for this year’s race and that it was the weekend before her wedding, she thanked me graciously (not at all) and started training — both for this race and the Dallas marathon in early December.

After warming up to the idea of running the race, Marjorie and I talked about really racing and trying to beat a specific time goal.  After all, we’re both training for a marathon, so we should be able to do pretty well, right?

Only very good friends can knock you on the head and clarify things pretty quickly.  Below is a recap of a conversation two weeks ago with our friend Joe who is also the Captain of the Applegrove Runner Runners HTC team and Applegrove 5k (see previous posts).

Joe: How’s your training going?

Me:  Going pretty well.  Got the VHTRC woman’s trail 1/2 marathon coming up next week.

Joe:  That’ll be a great training run.

Me:  No, Marjorie and I are going to run it for time.


Me:  What do you mean?

Joe:  I don’t understand you.  Why in the world would you put Marjorie in jeopardy of being injured on the trail a week before her wedding and you risking your training as well?

Me: Well, we wanted to win the Mother-Daughter category as we did in 2010.  (ok, in hindsight I know that sounds really stupid)

Joe:  Helen, there will be a time in your marathon when you are going to have to dig deep if you’re going to run you sub 4:00 marathon.  Don’t let this race be the reason that you can’t.

Thank you Joe.  You’re a good friend and I appreciate that you straightened me out on this.

Week 12:  Plan vs Actual

Week 12: Plan vs Actual


After listening to Thérèse Raquin last week, I needed something that I knew I would enjoy.  Back to a favorite author, Neil Gaiman.  I listened to The Ocean at the End of the Lane and as always, Neil delivered an interesting story that was entertaining and enjoyable to listen to.

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2013: Neil Gaiman’s intent was simple: to write a short story. What he ended up with instead was The Ocean at the of the Lane–his first adult novel since Anansi Boys came out in 2005, and a narrative so thoughtful and thrilling that it’s as difficult to stop reading as it was for Gaiman to stop writing. Forty years ago, our narrator, who was then a seven-year-old boy, unwittingly discovered a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. What happens next is an imaginative romp through otherwordly adventure that could only come from Gaiman’s magical mind. Childhood innocence is tested and transcended as we see what getting between ancient, mystic forces can cost, as well as what can be gained from the power of true friendship. The result is a captivating tale that is equal parts sweet, sad, and spooky. Robin A. Rothman

I finished it halfway through the week and started Sharon Draper‘s Out of My Mind.  This is the story of an 11 year old girl, Melody with cerebral palsy who has little to no physical abilities and cannot verbalize.   The story is written from the perspective of Melody as if she is speaking.  Having a child with cerebral palsy, I connected to the story immediately.  It was intensely sad, heartbreaking, uplifting and true in so many aspects.

Monday 9/9

Easy 5 after Long 16 yesterday.  My connective tissue doesn’t feel connected to anything.  I’m feeling like a loose bag of bones.  In my head I’m anticipating an incredibly hard 5 mjile run.   My running form during the first mile wasn’t beautiful, that much is true.  But, surprisingly once I warmed up it felt pretty good.  By the time I was done, I felt connected again.

Tuesday 9/10

Oh boy.  It’s 7:15 and already hot and very humid.  Today’s workout is 1.5 mile intervals.

Just as I did last week, I’ll be running my repeats along the Fairfax County Parkway between Stringfellow Rd and Rugby Rd.  Its mostly flat and there are some shaded parts.

Again, I run my intervals too fast,  but better than last week.  It wasn’t too hard until the last one when I was really hot.  Mark happened to be driving past on his way to the store when I was halfway into my last one.  Later he told me that I looked quite unhappy and very hot with a bright red face.  I was.

Wednesday 9/11


Thursday 9/12

Because I have the 1/2 marathon on Saturday, I change today’s workout from the scheduled Tempo 9 to a Long 8.

One of the most common reasons runners require a change in their training program is to accommodate races.

The Program Modifications chapter discussed the positive and negative aspects of racing and generally recommends no races within 6 weeks of the marathon.  Since this 1/2 is 6 weeks out, I think its ok, especially since I’m no longer running it for time. (thanks joe)

Thursday’s scheduled tempo run is replaced by Saturday’s easy run, while the Friday run remains the same.  Saturday is then race day, which replaces the tempo run.  This is a strategic replacement because both a race and a tempo run stimulate the anaerobic threshold.

After yesterday’s heat, this morning is quite lovely with cooler temps.  I enjoy a Long 8 mile averaging a 9:52 pace.

Friday 9/13

Somehow I can’t quite get that 5 miles in.  The roads I’m running a just a little bit shorter than I thought and I don’t want to run back and forth on our street just to get that last 1/4 mile in.  Knowing that I’ve got the 1/2 marathon tomorrow, I’m content with today’s slighter shorter run.

Saturday 9/14

It is an absolutely beautiful morning for a race!  Cooler temps, low humidity, a bit cloudy at the start.

There are about 220 women running in the 1/2 this morning.  Marjorie and I start close to the back of the pack.  After about a mile, we fall in behind a member of the VHTRC who has run this race, really knows the course, and how to effectively pace for the terrain.  We stick with her until the aid station at mile 8.

We’ve been running well — not too fast, but strong.  Everything feels good.  Our mantra is “don’t get hurt.”  Well… until Marjorie looks at her watch at mile 8 and says:  “Hey Mom, we’ve got a good time going here…”  Nope!  We’re not running for time.  We’re here to have a good time and not get hurt.

I did end up falling twice on the back part of the course but they were relatively gentle falls going up hills which is much better than downward falls.  (We had already seen a number of bloodied women coming off the course.)

We ended up finishing in 2:33:56 & 2:33:57 — 4 minutes faster than our 2010 race and 20 minutes faster than last year.

While tired, we both felt really good and are very happy with our performance.

Sunday 9/15

Oh my gosh, my legs are tired and my quads are sore!  All the up and downhills yesterday took a toll on me that I didn’t really feel until this morning.

I didn’t read the plan.  I assumed that every Sunday was now a Long run with a goal pace of 9:52 (for me).  Turns out that’s not true.  Today was supposed to be an Easy 10.  Not only that, but since I raced yesterday I was supposed to make today an Easy pace regardless of the distance

Hence, the Sunday run is replaced by another easy run…

Read the book, Helen.  Oh well.  I did enjoy most of the run however.  Certainly I was tired starting and finishing, but I did find a nice pace in the middle.

In Conclusion

A good week.  A fun race,  51 miles and one week closer to the marathon.

I’ve heard from a few of you also following Hansons.  Sounds like things are going well for you.  Please continue to keep in touch.

Until next week,  train well and stay healthy…


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2 Responses to MCM13: Week 12 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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