Continuing with our JEANO RAN A MARATHON coverage, I wanted to give the Hanson Method its own post. The Hanson Method was the unsung hero of Saturday's race. Yes, I put in a lot of work to get myself there, but without those crazy brothers I would undoubtedly have ended up
2) hating running
Okay, that last one may be a slight exaggeration.
As I've mentioned before, I chose to follow the Hanson Method without really knowing anything about it. The book was very convincing, but so are a lot of books. Their logic made a lot of sense, but so did "balancing humours" via blood-sucking leeches (!) at one time. I searched for bloggers who had followed the Hansons' plan to completion, ultimately in vain. Finally I decided to just go for it and see what happened. I would devote my body to science and prove, once and for all, whether the Hanson Method was to be trusted (I was obviously feeling a bit grandiose at the time).
So, now that all's said and done, did the Hanson Method do its job? Anyone who's read this blog for any length of time knows the answer (and if not, what's wrong with you?! I thought we were friends!), but to anyone who stumbled upon this thing by googling, oh, I don't know, "sexy jogging pics" (moving up in life!), the answer is a resounding YES. With one caveat.
The Hanson Method took my running to a whole new level. The runner I am now is unrecognizable from the runner who started this crazy plan 18 weeks ago. I went from someone who maxed out at 20-25 easy miles a week (because of chronic shin pain) to someone who can very comfortably run 50 miles in a week. I no longer consider running six days a week something that only dumb, obviously disordered runners do. In fact, it's not that hard! The gains I have made are, in every sense of the word, incredible.
Now for my caveat, which relates specifically to the marathon itself.
There is something to be said for the peace-of-mind that comes with running 20+ miles prior to race day. For someone who has completed a marathon before, I think the Hansons' program is excellent as is. As a newbie marathoner, however, I have to admit that I questioned my ability to complete the entire 26 miles more than a few times during my race.
There were a lot of unknowns that came with maxing out at 16 miles: how was my stomach going to take it, were my shoes going to fall apart/give me a stress fracture, was my body going to disintegrate at mile 20? These are questions all marathoners face to a certain extent, but I think that in my case the "what the hell's going to happen to me" factor was upped significantly (both because of my shorter long runs and my unorthodox shoes). Although it runs counter to one of the Hansons' central tenets, I think I could have used a few extra miles on my long run for sanity's sake.
Unrelated photo of my shoes because I cannot tolerate a post without pictures.
My suggestion would be that if you follow the Hanson Method and are worried about the length of the long runs, add a couple of miles on. The Hansons say that the damage outweighs the benefits after three hours of running, and yet my 16-milers took me around 2:45. Faster runners could easily run 18-20 miles without violating the three-hour rule. Plus, I very highly doubt there is a sort of "cliff" at three hours after which your body falls apart. Going ten minutes over shouldn't do any harm. Don't sue me if I'm wrong.
I have no idea what plan I'll end up using for my next marathon (you read it here first: next), but the only reason I wouldn't use Hanson Method again is if I decide I want variety; using the same plan time and time again is probably pretty boring. But, you know, old habits die hard.
Question: does anyone want to know anything else about the Hanson Method, or are we all Hanson-ed out?