Tag Archives: marathon training

Hanson’s Marathon Method Month 4

It’s race evening, and the pre-race nerves and excitement are kicking in now. It’s been a somewhat interesting last 4 weeks of training, it was all going smoothly and to plan until I got struck down with one of the worst gastro bugs of my life last week, I managed to only miss 4 sessions and 5 days of training, but the after effects were tough, and it really was dreadful timing.

Going into week 13 I was pretty tired as I was still recovering from the cold, this week was peak week though so I really wanted to nail it. The sessions were good, I did a strength workout of 3 x 2 miles with 800m recovery’s, and the tempo workout went up to 10 miles tempo so 12 miles for the session. This week was my final 16 mile run, and I did a Mile End parkrun sandwich, it was a good run, my pacing was a bit all over the place- a lot of miles were way too fast, but I felt good during it so that was the most important thing.


Week 14 had a slight drop in mileage, but it was still a 50+ mile week, there has been a lot of them in a row! I was in Cardiff visiting my parents this week, and it was really nice to mix it up and do my sessions somewhere a bit different. It was really muggy this week- I feel like the temperature has dropped so suddenly from a couple of weeks ago. This weeks strength workout was 4 x 1.5 miles with 800m recovery, I wasn’t sure how the strength and tempo sessions would go as Cardiff is quite hilly, but actually they were fine, I hit my targets no problem.


August was my highest ever mileage month at 238 miles and I felt really good for it. The biggest thing I’ve noticed about Hanson’s is that I’m not battered after sessions and tired for days after long runs like I would have been had I been doing much longer ones. My final long run was 10 miles and I did a Cardiff parkrun sandwich. I followed it up with 8 easy miles the next day, I loved this run despite having a hangover and trying to avoid period cramps coming on, it was just really chilled, and I felt really comfortable and strong.


That is where it all went a bit wrong. I went to work on Monday of week 15 feeling like I had the flu, I had a headache all day, was lethargic, and my whole body ached. I woke up on the Tuesday still with a severe headache, and then had an upset stomach all day, I just ate plain food, but by Wednesday I was feeling even worse, had a temperature of 103F, I didn’t eat anything for nearly 2 whole days, and it’s taken the entire week for my stomach to start improving, and for me to be able to introduce bland foods and keep expanding my diet. There was no way I could run at all, the only running I was doing was to the bathroom. I lost over 6 pounds during the 4 really bad days of illness, and since then I’ve been trying to build myself back up and I have managed to regain some of the weight (hopefully in glycogen storage!). It wasn’t missing the four sessions and 34 miles this week, but how I felt after, just weak and drained, and inflamed. I was improving day by day, and on the weekend ran 7 miles on Saturday and 8 on Sunday, both easy paced- I couldn’t go any faster, but I felt very sore particularly on the right hand side while running- almost like running with a constant stitch.


This week I’ve just been trying to recover, and build myself back up for race day while getting in the easy runs on the plan. I still had the soreness and constant side stitch in the first runs of the week, but this has improved on my last two runs, so hoping I will feel ok tomorrow.

I did my regular 3 gym sessions a week in week 13/14 but haven’t trained since then due to the illness in week 15 and the taper this week, I am missing the gym a lot! I have barely been to yoga all month again but managed it this week, for a little pre-race stretch out, my hips were so tight so it was definitely needed.

4 months of work is done, 638 miles, 85 out of 91 planned sessions complete. I guess it’s time to race- let’s see what happens.

Week 13: 58 Miles
Week 14: 51 Miles
Week 15: 15 Miles (Ill)
Week 16: 17 Miles + 26.2?

Hanson’s Marathon Method Month 3

1 month to go! Just 4 weeks until marathon day. This third month has absolutely flown by- I feel like I say that on every update though. The weekly mileage has been bigger of late, and for the first time in the whole plan I’ve felt really tired (could also be something to do with training while I had a head cold…).

In Week 9 the Tuesday speed sessions turned into strength sessions. These are still interval based, but they are much longer repeats and done a bit slower than the speed sessions were. The first session was 6 x 1 mile with 400m recovery jogs. The Tuesday interval session now is 10-11 miles each week which was a big jump from the 6-8 mile speed sessions. I am still really enjoying these sessions though. I was starting to get a few niggles this week and had to invest in some new Adidas ultra boost trainers, as mine had a lot of mileage on them. This week was also the first 16 mile long run (I had done a 15 miler two weeks before) which is as far as the distance goes in this plan, I did a parkrun sandwich with a few miles either side of Southwark parkrun which finally was my 50th parkrun.


Week 10 saw the tempo runs jump up to 9 miles of tempo from 8 the previous few weeks with a mile warm up and cool down, so this now means I’m doing three double figure runs each week, two of which are quality sessions. I had no problem hitting the required pace for this run, it was only an increase of 1 extra mile at tempo, and it stays at this distance for the next 3 weeks. I got my period this week which usually means I have to miss some training, but I actually managed my runs quite well around the pain so got all my sessions in. I’m trying to do the long runs on feel (ie. what I think 9.38 pace feels like) but I mostly find myself going way too fast so having to slow down, especially if I include a parkrun. I’ve been doing a lot of my easy paced runs with my other half, who has been doing a lot of running this summer, he’s been joining me on 5-8 mile runs which I am so impressed with, and he’s even gone on and run further without me up to 13 miles now, which is awesome, it’s really nice having a training buddy, especially on those days where my legs are tired.


Week 11 was a big mileage week, its the second highest in the plan after peak week next week. My ITB started to really flare up this week, and I had a little bit of pain during my speed session (3 x 2 miles with 800m recovery) which reminded me I really needed to focus on my rolling and stretching routine (I had been slacking as I went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and went to the athletics twice so my evening routine was out the window!). I started to come down with a sore throat on Thursday, but I managed to get my tempo 9 miles in, hoping it would go away. I just about managed to stay on top of the cold, and it didn’t develop into anything really, just a bit of a stuffed up head and blocked nose to add to the sore throat, it went very quickly too so I managed not to miss any training, I have been very tired during and after the illness though, probably my body fighting it off. This week was another 16 mile run, I didn’t do this as parkrun sandwich this week as I was out on Saturday so this was a Sunday run.


Baxter after walking down and up Boxhill

On the Saturday we went to the NDW and walked down and back up Box Hill, so my legs were pretty fatigued and as I was still getting over the cold, I was really happy to hit the required pace and get the miles in on the Sunday long run. I felt absolutely shattered at the end of it though, I really had nothing left, which is not reassuring when you have to run an extra 10 miles on race day, but I think it was a combo of fatigue, illness and heat.


Week 12 had a slight drop in mileage, but still some really tough sessions. The Tuesday strength session was 2 x 3 miles with 1 mile recovery, totaling up to another 11 miles in the bank, and I did another tough 11 miles with a tempo 9 miler on Thursday. I’ve still been feeling tired this week as I recover from the head cold, but hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon. It’s easy to underestimate the time it takes your body to recover from things, and what an impact it can have on your running while your body is busy fighting stuff off, so I’m trying to be kind to it (outside of doing loads of miles of course!).

I’ve managed to get to the gym for my usual 3 strength sessions a week, though I’ve been slacking on the yoga with only one class this month- oops! Next week is peak week, and then the countdown to race day really is on.

Week 9: 55 miles
Week 10: 50 miles
Week 11: 57 miles
Week 12: 51 miles

Training: Hanson’s Marathon Method

For the last three months my life has been taken over by the Hanson’s marathon method. I’ve blogged about a few of the months of training so far, but I thought I’d give a little insight into how the weeks are structured and what training my week consists of.

Monday: This is an easy day, which for me means the pace needs to be between 10-10.40 minute per mile pace. By Monday I have run for 4 days in a row, so my legs are usually fairly tired and I enjoy having an easier session. These runs tend to alternate between 5 and 7 miles depending on if it’s a higher mileage week or not. I will try and get one of my gym sessions in today too, usually Push which is chest/triceps/shoulders and a bit of core to finish. I don’t train legs or back on this day as I need my legs to be fresh for Tuesday’s session.

Tuesday: I head into Tuesday’s with a sense of dread, but I always really enjoy the sessions. The first 5 interval sessions were speed sessions made up of shorter faster intervals, but the last 7 weeks of training are strength sessions made up of longer intervals, but not done as fast as the speed sessions at 8.48mm pace. This week I did 3 x 2miles with 800m easy recovery, for a total of 10.5 miles. The Tuesday runs are pretty long now, between 10-11 miles, but I do feel really good after finishing them. I will try and get to the gym again on Tuesday, and usually train Pull (back/biceps) and core, or Legs and core. I’m pretty tired by the end of the day and ready for that Wednesday rest day.

Wednesday: Rest day. I’ve never appreciated a rest day as much as on this plan. I try to move as little as possible on this day and really embrace the rest, and time off my feet. Going for a dog walk, or walking to/from work is about as active as I get.

Thursday: This is another big session day as it’s tempo time. The tempo runs have been increasing over the weeks. Currently I am doing 9 miles of tempo at 8.58mm pace with a mile warm up and cool down. This is another session I sort of dread, just because of the length of it at pace, but it feels good hitting the paces and I know this session is really important to practice race pace. I am very reliant on my Garmin for pacing though, I find whenever I try to go without it I either run way too fast or slightly too slow- something I need to work on. If I haven’t been to the gym twice already this week then I will go today.

Friday: Easy run. This one is usually a tough one after the previous days tempo session, especially if I’ve done a gym session as well. This is usually around 5 miles and I tend to do it with the other half, it’s one of my easier sessions of the week as my legs are pretty tired. After this I will head straight to yoga for 1 hour, although I haven’t managed to make it the last two weeks as I haven’t had time. It’s not a particularly gentle class which I think would be more beneficial, but I do find it helps me to recover, and I feel good after the class too. This is another potential gym day, and I will either do the second session of the week or third depending on what I have had on that week.

Saturday: This is marked as an easy day, but I usually do my long run this day as I like to combine it with parkrun. The long runs vary between 10 and 16 miles each week, and are done at 9.38mm pace. I try to leave as late as possible from my house, turning up to parkrun just in time for the start as I don’t like to break up the session and stop. I’ll do parkrun and then continue on for the rest of the miles after quickly having my barcode scanned. I find mentally it makes the runs not seem as long, and I’m keeping my number of parkruns ticking over too. I’ve been doing the shorter long runs (10) at Hilly Fields, which is a really hilly route for me there and during the run, and the longer (16) ones at Southwark which is much flatter, and closer to what the race course will be like.

Sunday: This is usually an easy 8 mile run which I do with the other half. My legs usually feel OK after the day before, though I start to feel pretty tired at this point in the week. If I haven’t done my third and final gym session of the week, then I will do it on Sunday afternoon.

So that’s the current schedule. I tend to do either a series of stretches or foam rolling each evening, though I think it’s the strength sessions each week that keep me injury free. I am training for a sub-4 hour marathon, so these paces would go up or down depending on your goals. Running six times a week seems like a lot, but the mileage is so spread out that I feel as though the plan is quite well balanced, and I’ve never been crazy sore or tired compared to previous marathon/ultra training where long runs have dominated the week. I guess the verdict on the plan will have to wait until race day, but so far I am really enjoying it.

Hanson’s Marathon Method Month 2

I am already into the second half of the Hanson’s marathon method training for Richmond Marathon in September. The weeks seem to be flying by and the marathon is fast approaching. As I said previously I skipped the first 2 weeks of training of the beginner plan as they were just base building and I was recovering from an ultra, so I’ve shortened the plan to 16 weeks total.

This past month has really focused on solid base mileage, and the interval and tempo sessions have got kind of serious, and some longer runs have appeared too. I’m feeling really good right now, enjoying the training, and the sessions, although I wish I didn’t need to be so tied to my watch with sessions, but I’m still figuring out my internal pacing clock.

Week 5 I had a really good speed session of 8 x 600m. I’ve not been doing my intervals on a track which would probably be easier, but I think having a bit of incline and having to change direction now and again is probably a good challenge to throw into them anyway. The long run for this week was 10 miles which I incorporated a Hilly Fields parkrun into, to get some sort of incline training into my week and try and maintain the 9.38 target pace over tougher terrain- I was really knackered for the last few miles.


On Week 6 I swapped out my interval session to Monday as I was going to Wimbledon on Tuesday (I went to queue at Wimbledon at 1.30am and had no sleep the entire night), this was tough as it was a day less recovery on the legs and I trained legs at the gym the day before. I did 6 x 800m and just about managed to get it done. My long run this week was supposed to be 10 miles, but I went and did the North Down’s Way half instead so I definitely didn’t hit my target long run pace but it was a bloody good training run over brutal terrain.


I felt like I recovered from the race really well going into week 7, trail runs are so much gentler on the body. Having said that my legs did feel really tired during the speed session on Tuesday and I just felt like I couldn’t move them any faster. This week the tempo 5 miles (7 total) of the last few weeks turned into a tempo 8 (10 miles total), which was a pretty big jump, I would have preferred a gradual increase in weekly tempo mileage, but alas. I found it pretty tough going, but managed to stay right around the target 8.58 pace I am aiming to do tempo runs at. This week should have been my 49th parkrun, but I forgot my barcode, so my 50th run has to wait! I did my longest run in a while at 15 miles along the river and back, it was really humid, I saved myself from two horrendous trips, and I somehow got lost a few times, but I managed to stay under my 9.38 pace for long runs, and complete my longest run since early May.


Week 8 has been another good training week. My mileage stayed stable-it really jumps up next week-I had a really good 4 x 1200m speed session, where I hit all my target paces or faster. I’m still relying too much on my watch for tempo and long run pace, so I tried to run without it on Saturday’s long run, which ended in me either being way too fast per mile, or slightly too slow. I hit my 49th parkrun on this hilly 10 miler including Hilly Fields, and I followed this up with an easy 8 miler which was the other half’s longest run ever. The Hanson’s plan doesn’t really do drop weeks/recovery weeks, which is something I’ve always done before every 3 weeks, though it does alternate long running weeks- so some weeks the long run is 10 miles and sometimes it’s 16, but the mileage stays fairly stable, so the other runs along the week increase or decrease.

I have continued with my three heavy lifting sessions a week, and I’m feeling really good in the gym right now, I’ve figured out a schedule so that my legs can recover pretty well from leg day and not affect any of my sessions. I feel stronger than ever in the gym and out on the road, and I know its the continued hard work in the gym that is keeping me injury free. I’ve also managed to get to yoga once a week, and I’ve been militant about my stretching, rolling and strength exercises at home. I’m heading to the half way point feeling really good about training, and really enjoying it most importantly. I’m hoping for another good 8 weeks ahead!

Week 5: 38 miles
Week 6: 44 miles
Week 7: 47.4 miles
Week 8: 46 miles

Hanson’s Marathon Method Month 1

I’m already into week 8 of the Hanson’s Marathon Method beginner plan, time seems to be flying by this summer. This is the first Autumn race I’ve trained for in years, and with all this hot weather I now remember why! I started the beginner plan on week 3, as the first two weeks were easy base mileage, and I was recovering from NDW50 and still had decent miles in my legs.

I spent the first 3 weeks of the plan, getting back into running, with some light mileage weeks (20-25miles), just to shake off the cobwebs from a few weeks of rest and ease back into running. I know I won’t have lost my endurance completely in those 2 weeks, but it always feels hard to get back into it after a break.


For week 1 of my training I was in Wales staying with my parents, they helped to look after my dog for the best part of 3 weeks while we were having our bathroom renovated, and I stayed with them for over a week to escape the chaos at home too. This meant I could get lots of nice easy runs in, in a different location, and some Cardiff parkrun’s too. On the weekend of the Champions League final we had to run an alternate, alternate course, as the regular and alternate courses were unavailable due to the football, it was a really nice route, more like a cross country and a bit hillier than the usual course, but nice for a change. This was my fastest parkrun in a while at 24.56, slightly surprising given the terrain and elevation. I am creeping closer to that PB (24.12) again, though I probably won’t be attempting it for a while as the weekend runs on Hanson’s are at long run (9.38mm) or easy pace (10-10.40mm).

Week 2 was another week of decent mileage. I did a really hilly run up to Castell Coch on the Taff Trail while in Wales, and put in a decent parkrun at Southwark of 25.27, despite feeling pretty crummy after just getting my period.


Week 3 I did my first speed session in ages. I looked at Hanson’s plan and saw 12 x 400m on next week’s plan for the first speed session, and had a sight panic. I just did 5 x 400m, with 400m recovery’s to ease back in as my body is not used to any speedwork at all. This was the start of the June heatwave, with temps reaching 30+ in London, so I felt pretty tired and sluggish out there all week. I have felt much better running this week (early July) in the heat and sun, so I think my body has started to get used to it now, but back in June I was really struggling. Unfortunately, I got a couple of really bad bites while volunteering all night on the SDW100, and they just got worse over the course of 10 days so I had to go on antibiotics for a week, and fingers crossed it has sorted it out. Not ideal though.


Week 4 was the first proper week of training. My mileage jumped from early 20’s to almost 40 miles this week, and I also increased from 5 runs a week, to 6. This will be the first time I’ve run 6 times a week during a training plan so I am interested to see how my body copes with this. On the Hanson’s plan, Mon/Fri/Sat are easy days, Tues Intervals, Thurs tempo and Sunday long run, I like how it’s all set out and knowing exactly what I have to do that day. I did my first speedwork session of 8 miles in boiling conditions, I took a while to get used to using my watch and didn’t hit my target pace once during the reps although I was using my Garmin in miles rather than meters and I think that would explain it. I really enjoyed the new challenge of speedwork and trying to hit the required pace. I swapped my tempo run to Friday this week as Thursday was extremely hot and humid, and it turned out to be the right decision. My tempo pace is 8.58, and I had no problem hitting this for 5 miles with a one mile warm up and cool down. This was another really enjoyable run, I’m having to use my watch a lot at the moment, but hopefully I can start to trust in my own pacing soon. This week had two weekend runs of 8 miles to ease back into longer runs, these were my longest runs since the NDW50 in May, so it was good to put in some higher mileage.


I’ve been sticking to my three gyms sessions a week (push, pull, legs with a bit of core each time) and so far it’s working out fine, I feel good during my sessions, it’s just a case of training in the gym at the right times so I can recover for the really big run sessions. The mileage stays kind of steady for the next few weeks, and I’m looking forward to more of these speed sessions.

Week 1: 23 miles
Week 2: 21.6 miles
Week 3: 25 miles
Week 4: 39 miles