Fall Marathon Training: Ready for Ignition!


Well, kids, the moment you I have been waiting for has arrived: training for the Space Coast Marathon, my fall marathon / third official attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon starts on Monday, July 29th. My 18-week training plan will be unlike any other I have used before, and as I have alluded to over the past few weeks, looks a little something like this:

(from my instagram)
(from my instagram)

Yup, I am going with the Hansons Marathon Method, an interesting (to say the least) plan that many people know by its most ‘controversial’ distinction of limiting weekend long runs to just 16-miles. Gone are the 18, 20, 22+ hours-long slow-paced runs…but, that doesn’t mean that those hours won’t be redistributed *ahem* elsewhere 😉

You see, the HMM subscribes to several concepts, Strategic Weekly Volume being one of the most crucial. HMM argues that most marathon training plans cater to schedule of an average runner – y’know, any of us regular non-elites that has a 9-5 job, more time on the weekends – so on and so forth. These standard plans often stack high volumes of mileage in a condensed space and therefore result in 60-75 percent of a week’s mileage in just two days. While some bodies can “take” that, I think the book says it best:

“One of the major downfalls of existing marathon training plans is that they lack balance. There tends to be a standard emphasis on the long run, with the rest of the days of the week spent recovering from that one workout. When the long run serves as the primary focus, training consistency, weekly volume, recovery and intensity are all lost. To fully reach your potential as a runner, all the physiological systems must be incorporated into training. Remember, nothing is make-or-break” (Humphrey, Hanson, Hanson, 2012).

After I read that section more than a month ago in the Barnes & Noble back in VA, something clicked for me. As I read on, and learned the reasoning behind the 16-mile run (spoiler alert: those miles can the hardest miles to run during a 26.2) I decided it was right for me at this point in my marathoning / running journey.

You see, this will be my 8th full marathon, and after a few of them, I learned a lot about myself – I know what my body can do in ideal circumstances, as well as the mental difficulties of a really rough marathon. I know how to have fun and when to just go with the flow – and you know what, things may change but this time, I’m ready to give it all I’ve got to reach my goal.

Sub 3:35...I'm coming for ya!
Sub 3:35…I’m coming for ya!

My 18-week plan (the beginner’s version) will start with low miles, then eventually move into 6 days a week, with lots of “easy” miles, a dedicated track or strength workout day, a tempo day and then, starting with Week 7, long runs that top out at 16-miles. Each run pace has been tailored to my training goals, and prior performance, and have ranges that are challenging, but attainable according to my current fitness level. Running longer distances during the week will be different than what I’m used to (i.e. 10-mile tempo runs) but I’m ready to step up to the plate and see what I’ve got!

I will be providing periodic updates on the plan, but nothing too “these were my workouts” boring 😉 I have modified two weeks due to upcoming races, but for the most part, I’m going to be as consistent as possible to the prescribed runs and workouts so I can keep myself honest and accountable.

Now, all I’ve gotta do is…GO!

Are you training for a fall marathon? What kind of plan are you following?


Humphrey, L., Hanson, K. & Hanson K. (2012) Hansons Marathon Method. Boulder, CO: Velo Press.



  1. I have read this book too and am intrigued. I am not using this method for my next full because that will be at Disney with the Dopey Challenge and I really don’t think that I’d be giving it an accurate assessment under those conditions. I will most likely use it for a marathon next spring (marathon yet to be determined!). I look forward to seeing how you like it and how your marathon experience compares to previous races.

  2. I tried Hansons last time through by using a Hansons coach. I have to say–it’s hard, but I think really, really good. i hope it works or you!

  3. Whoop! I hope you get the results you’re looking for! Good luck!!

    I’m sticking with the same RYBQ plan I did for Chicago. I think it’ll be more challenging this time around for me, but I got really good results from it last year even though I missed a few of the runs and didn’t do hardly any of the strength work.

  4. That’s what I am talking about- limiting to 16 miles works for me! 😉 But I do agree that those last miles during the race are the toughest (but you’ve got lots of experience). Curious to see how distributing it all elsewhere will affect the outcome. Good luck!

  5. I have heard a lot of folks have success with the Hanson method! You will totally get your 3:35~

    I am training for Wineglass Marathon, following a mixture of plans. That is what works best for me, a little bit of everything!

  6. I am currently training for my very first marathon (WDW 2014!!) and I’m not gonna lie- I pulled my plan out of an issue of Runner’s World a couple months back. Just start my first week of 5 day a week runs, but it seemed relatively attainable to me. I also work 8-5 Monday-Friday so it has to work with my work schedule. My longest run will be one or two 20 mile runs. I’m freaking out a little, but excited! Good luck on your BQ! Hopefully we meet at Dumbo!

  7. […] July. Yes, that’s when it all began. The 18-week program (I did the “beginner’s version”) started with relatively low weekly mileage (I’m talking 10, 15, 21, 21, 24) for the first few weeks. This was perfect for me at the time, because we had recently moved to FL and I was getting reacclimatized to the heat. Those first five weeks didn’t feature any sort of fancy runs, either – it was ALL easy mileage, and I did my best to stay in my low range of paces (the plan/book outlines your goal paces to a “T” – which makes it nice and easy for you to manage). […]

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