I'm Setting a Marathon PR with Hanson Marathon Method

About a week before I was scheduled to start the training plan I created for my third marathon I made a switch to an entire different plan. I’m hoping to PR at the Pensacola Marathon this November by using the Hanson Method.


As I was resting up waiting for the training cycle to begin I started seeing a few friends of mine post runs they were doing with the Hanson method. Intrigued, I decided to look more into what that method was.

From the Amazon description: Hansons Marathon Method does away with mega long runs and high mileage weekends—two outdated traditions that make most runners miserable. Instead, runners using the Hansons method will gradually build up to the moderate-high mileage required for marathon success, spreading those miles more sensibly throughout the week. Running easy days mixed with precisely paced speed, strength, and tempo workouts, runners will steel their bodies and minds to run the hardest miles of the marathon.

Basically, they focus to get you ready for the last 16 miles of the marathon (where people typically fall apart.) You run 6 days a week, with three workout being pretty high intensity, and three workouts done at an easy pace. The general schedule looks like this:

  • Monday: Easy run
  • Tuesday: Speed work
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Tempo run
  • Friday: Easy Run
  • Saturday: Easy Run
  • Sunday: Long Run

Am I nervous about running SIX DAYS in a row without a break each week? YES. I ran high mileage weeks when training for my first marathon and I was exhausted. I was also working 60+ hours a week outside the home so I’m hoping now that my schedule is a little more flexible, and I’ve been running for another year, that the miles won’t be so hard on my body.

I’m also apprehensive about not maintaining any strength training doing this plan. My first full week of training the only strength I did was 20 minutes of core work after a run on Thursday. My goal is to do core/upper body work for at least 20 minutes 2-3 times a week. It’s certainly not as much as I’ve been doing – but it’s better than nothing. Yesterday I came home after a 6 miler and went straight to plank and 10 minutes of upper body/core work. If that's all I can fit in on top of the running schedule I'll be happy with that!

I’m so nervous/excited about committing to this plan. I’m following the advanced plan but on days I’m really not feeling it I may go down and do the run from the beginners program that day (or meet in the middle somewhere.) From every review I read people have loved it, and set major PR’s with it. I thought a while about sharing publicly what my goal is because I don’t want to feel like an idiot if I don’t hit it (again.) But – I ain’t no chicken so here goes.

I’m GOING to sub 4:30 at the Pensacola Marathon.

pensacola marathon

To do so means cutting 15 minutes off my time from last year. I trained with the 4:30 group and just couldn’t keep the pace after mile 17. This year I’m more prepared mentally having run two marathons, I feel stronger with 8 more months of running behind me, and I have the best unofficial coach/cheerleading squad with Travis, Salem and my family. All the tools are there for me to succeed.  I just need to make it happen.

Achieving my marathon goal time happens every day when my alarm goes off, not at the finish line in 4 months. Wish me luck!

Have you followed a formal training plan for a race before?