If you read my marathon training weekly recaps then you know I used the Hansons Marathon Method.  In a nutshell, this training is based on the concept of cumulative fatigue. You train your body to run often so that you are frequently running on tired legs.  The idea is to run this way so that during the last miles of a race you are prepared to push through the final miles. These plans are 18 weeks and have you running 6 days (easy, speed/strength, tempo, and long runs) a week with one rest day.  

This was my first time using this method for the marathon.  I was fortunate to be off this summer (I am a teacher) so I knew I would be able to handle running 6 days a week.  However, going back to work did not go well.  Please note that I am NOT saying that if you are not off this summer that you will not be able to handle it.  This girl has a job and always made time to get her runs before going to work.  

  • This plan is HARD.  However, I am not saying that it isn’t doable.  It is but you need to make sure you can run 6 days a week with only 1 day to rest.
  • Tempo runs freaked me out.  I ran all of them on the treadmill and they weren’t bad after all.  I managed to run them at the specified pace and that was a confidence booster.
  • Plan to run high mileage.  I was not used to running so many miles in one week.  The Advanced Plan had me running over 40, 50, or 60 miles in one week.  
  • I was constantly tired.  Oh my goodness.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt as tired as I did this summer.  Again, I was fortunate that I did not have to get up early to go to work.
  • Sleep was my best friend.  See point above.  I slept and napped like a baby.
  • Wednesday was the best day of the week.  Remember that one rest day mentioned above?  Yep, that is on Wednesday.  Each week I looked forward to this day.
  • No strength training for me.  In the beginning I did a few TRX sessions before my runs but stopped once I realized I could not wake up in time for the class.  <<Excuses, I could have taken the class in the afternoon or evening.  See points 4 and 5.
  • You can choose from 3 different plans.  In the book you’ll find plans for “Just Want to Finish”, “Beginner”, and “Advanced”.  I chose the latter because, well, this was my 8th marathon so I knew it would be perfect for me.
  • Read the whole book; a few times if necessary.  I didn’t and ended up asking many, many questions that could have been answered if I had read the whole book.

Going back to work was challenging.  I was fine the first two weeks and then BAM it was a struggle.  I had to stay late most days and found it hard to run after work.  I am not making any excuses.  I know everyone has a job and finds a way to make it work but I just could not find a balance nor get back to a different routine.  That left me worried and frustrated and various times I thought about giving up.


Now that the Chicago Marathon is over (read my recap here), I’ve asked myself if I would use it again for another marathon.  At this point I have NO desire to run another marathon.  However, if I were to run another one then I might use the Hansons Marathon Method again.  I am already familiar with it.  I know it is doable.  However, I would run my speed/strength and tempo runs outside instead of the treadmill.  Or at least alternate a bit so as not to do all of them on the treadmill.  And I will make sure I do not skip so many runs. 

I do wonder if my marathon experience would have been better if I had followed the plan exactly as stated.  However, I know that there are no guaranteed and anything can happen on marathon day.  I mean, I was ready for my marathon but somehow my hip decided to be a jerk that day.  I did get a PR and I am definitely happy about it!


I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.

Hoping everyone had a good week!


18 Comments on Thoughts on Hansons Marathon Method

  1. Great review of the training plan. I looked into Hansons before signing on with Becky (my coach). There is no conceivable way I could run 6 days/week nor run the mileage they are asking for without quitting my job. We all find a way to get to the finish line. And while I’m so impressed with everyone who does Hanson’s, I don’t see results that would make me want to put myself through that. I’m grateful to you and everyone else who tested it out so I don’t have to! 🙂

    • Thank you Wendy! I am glad I trained using this plan. I was curious about it and determined to do it. I was stubborn. 🙂 But I agree with you that we all find a way to get to the finish line one way or another.

  2. Thanks for this review. I have a few friends who’ve had great success with this plan. Your PR speaks to the effectiveness of your training, however I highly doubt I’d be able to handle mileage like that without falling apart.

  3. I admire people who use the Hansons method. I am in my mid forties and there is no way my body or schedule could handle running 6 days a week. Burn out, bore out, but also I travel for work, so I know it just is not compatible with my life.
    Thanks for the honest review. And congrats on your race and PR !

    • Thank you. I know everyone is different and every body is different too. It wasn’t easy. I was fortunate that I had the summer off and it was easier for me to get my runs done. I was curious about this plan and that is why I decided to use it.

  4. Great to hear more about Hansons and that it worked for you. It seems way too advanced for me at this point but it seems to work really well for those who use it. Balancing running with life is always a struggle!

  5. I have never used this training plan. That sounds like a lot of miles to do it one week. I do need to incorporate more tempo and speed runs into my training though. I always think of following a training plan but then think I can’t commit to all the workouts so I don’t want to feel like I am failing. But I have heard many people use this training program and have been quite happy with it.

    • It is a lot of mileage and part of me was doubting myself and said that there was no way I could run that many miles. I did skip a few runs but I tried not to worry about it too much. Life happens and it goes on. There are so many plans out there and sometimes it is hard to pick the best one. I’ve heard great things about “Run Less, Run Faster”. You run 3x a week so it isn’t as time consuming as Hansons.

  6. Interesting observations. I don’t know much about this program, although I know many people use it. Seems like it was a nice challenge for you and really helped boost your fitness.

    • Thank you Elizabeth! It was definitely challenging and I am glad I followed this plan. There were so many times that I was doubting myself and then at the end of the run I realized that it wasn’t so bad after all. I could definitely do it!

  7. I’m not so much intimidated by the mileage, but I think I’m too injury prone to handle the six days running and one day rest. It definitely worked well for you and a few others I know who’ve used it. I’m very impressed you ran a PR with your hip hurting too! Thanks for linking, Zenaida!

  8. great recap of the training plan…i have the book but to be honest, i’ve not read it thoroughly and havent examined what it would take to give it a try…the sheer number of runs is a bit daunting, 6 times a week would be a challenge just to fit it all in…you did an awesome job getting through it and using it for your PR, congrats!

  9. You know just about anything is doable if you set your mind to it! I’m so glad there are options out there and more than one way to skin the cat of the marathon! I think this plan worked well for you and yes knowing you had more time in the summer months to train was a great plus for you! It brought you to a PR! That right there tells it worked !! Congratulations Zenaida!

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