Anyone else disappointed with Hansons Method? (Read 565 times)


    I used the Hansons Method to train for Boston this past winter/spring and I'm having a hard time squaring my results with the flood of testimonials that seem to rain down about everyone's breakthrough race, etc.


    Boston 2013 was my 10th overall marathon and it was also my third Boston. Of my 10 marathons, 6 of them have fallen between a PR of 3:20:41 and 3:24:13, which is what I happened to run at Boston in April. I have a lot of theories about what might have "gone wrong" at Boston after following the Hansons Method so closely and seemingly feeling so strong coming into the race. But after training for a 3:10 using Hansons and pretty much hitting my targets throughout training, when I hit 24 miles on Commonwealth the tank was empty and that was it. I slogged home at 10-11 minute pace and blew even the modest PR I was struggling to hold onto.


    Without getting too far down in the weeds with the analysis I will say this. The plan maxes out long runs at 16 miles as is well known but I maxed at 17. As for the overall mileage I was right on the total that the Hansons book said I should hit and aside from 1-2 workouts I nailed the paces on all the quality runs. To me that low cap on the long seems the biggest culprit but I am not 100% certain about that. I don't think I did anything particularly "wrong" -- I tweaked it a few times but I'd say I followed it 98% to the letter -- yet it didn't deliver on the results. Hence my question about whether others found themselves disappointed by Hansons. Anyone?

      30-40-50 mile week totals isn't going to cut it. Its not one run, but all of them.


      I think Hansons (the book anyway) tops out In the 60-mpw.

      And we run because we like it
      Through the broad bright land

        I'm somewhat surprised. I followed Hansons advanced for a while this spring, but abandoned it when my hamstring prevented me from getting in the speedwork -- yet still somehow managed a PR at Boston. I was getting in some longer runs, though.


        Which plan did you do?


        There are any number of ways a race can go wrong. Was it a sudden bonk? Did you carb load well? Or did you just feel that the pace was too fast throughout?


        The trade off for the long run on Hansons is all the miles at MP. If you did those and it didn't work out well for you, that's an interesting data point.


        Fight The Future

          Might be the race conditions, rather than your particular training. I know I trained better and harder than previously, and was in faster shape, but I came in 2 seconds after you at Boston, and also disappointed I didn't PR to beat 3:21. I was surprised at how warm the middle of the race was, with the direct sun, also there was a headwind that was mild but I could definitely feel it pushing me back. Can't remember for sure, but I thought that the winners also didn't run as fast as they had in cool years before

            30-40-50 mile week totals isn't going to cut it. Its not one run, but all of them.




            You had a grand total of 5 weeks of 50-miles or more, and 3 of those 5 were just barely 50. And you're upset that the plan didn't yield you a time 10 minutes faster than you've ever managed to run in 10 previous tries? Seems like you may have had unrealistic expectations going in.


            People who consider Hansons a low mileage plan completely miss the point. The Hansons are not advocates of low mileage, rather their plan acknowledges the reality that most hobbyjoggers don't run more than 60 miles a week even in marathon training, and they (well actually Luke Humphrey with contributions from the Hansons) design a plan that tries to maximize those 60 miles a week by emphasizing marathon pace running over slogging out 20+ mile long runs.


            But the true Hanson's method is built on high mileage. The most successful Hansons runner, Brian Sell, was well known for putting in 140+ mile weeks. The runners on this board who are actually coached by Luke Humphreys are some of highest mileage runners on here.

            Runners run.

              There are a lot of reason you might not hit a goal time on any race and especially a Marathon.   One race in which you didn't hit your goal time doesn't mean the entire Hanson Method doesn't work...


              You could have had a bad race day, you might have set your goal time a little too might have been just a bit off that day for no particular reason.........    I don't think you can determine that you used Hanson and didn't hit your goal therefore Hanson doesn't work


              I think I'd probably try again in a different race and make sure everything is in order...

              Champions are made when no one is watching


                I agree with those saying a number of factors could have led to a disappointing race.  In addition to the mileage, I was thinking maybe it had something to do with fueling since it can so late in the race.


                I'm glad you posted this, though, because I feel like there was a lot of buzz about Hansons this past winter but I don't recall hearing much follow-up about how it was working for people.  I'd be curious to see if others chime in about how it worked for them.

                “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the fight in the dog. – Dwight D. Eisenhower


                My blog is JT Running DC.  It's awesome.

                  I think in any well run race we want to start unraveling with 10% to go so I find this final stage of a race to be  equally mental and try to train myself for that too. Some days we can handle this torture others we can't.

                  Feeling the growl again

                    You ran a good time for the mileage you put in.  It is hard to draw conclusions from falling apart at the end of a single marathon...there are simply too many things that can go wrong to pin it on the training plan by default....especially with Boston's course.  It can be sweet to you if you get it right, but if you get it wrong it can be a real kick in the pants.


                    My second best marathon was a 2:29.  My PR going in was 2:36.  I only decided to run the race 6-8 weeks out, so I'd only been doing 16-milers as I wasn't planning on running a marathon that fall.  I attempted 2 20-milers but did not run more than 15-16 miles of either one due to near heat stroke.  But I was doing 80-90 mpw with a large volume of HM-MP work.  The long run really is over-rated.

                    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


                    I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills




                      I bought the book, and must admit to being disappointed that the "advanced" plans are nothing like the advanced plans available on their website.


                      If you're coming off a Pfitz -55 or -70 mile plan, I think you're more likely to lower (or even significantly lower) your marathon times by simply running a crapton of miles rather than jump to one of the Hansons relatively low-mile plans in their book. 50-ish miles/week simply isn't going to build the endurance you need for a major PR.



                      I'm happy, hope you're happy too...


                        Going from a 7:15 pace to a 10-11 pace, does not sound like a lack of strength or enduranace ~ That is called hitting the wall .. Glycogen depletion to the point your body switches over to using only fat.  So basically it sounds more like a fueling issue.  If were on pace until 2 miles to go, you should consider you pre-race (Last 3 days) of eating and in race fueling.

                        7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M




                          Hanson's worked great for my last HM.  I've only run two, but I went from 1:49 to 1:32.  I'm going to use it again to target a December HM @ 1:25.

                          5K: 18:43 (12/13) 10K: 42:50 (12/12) HM: 1:30:10 (3/14) M: 3:34:46 (5/14)


                            By looking at your race splits, you lost it at mile #16, so never mind


                            1st 16 miles in 1:57:26 ~ 7:20, but really 7:22 - 7:24 when you add on not hitting the tangents (Extra amount at the end)

                            Mile 16-22 = 7:47 ~ 7:50 with missing tangents



                            If I see 16 @ 7:20

                            next 6 @ 7:47

                            then death at end.  I would say you were likely in 7:27 shape = 3:15-3:16 and ran too fast the 1st 16 miles.


                            So, as far as the Hansons, I will have to agree with most posters, too little total mileage to convert the training into a race time.  But, if you hit every run exactly how the book / program told you and ran the right number of miles the book had you run, the plan was insufficient for a 3:10 marathon.


                            I would say it does appear it was sufficient for a 3:15 marathon.

                            7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M




                              I do believe that the Hansons have you running your easy runs a little faster and overall total mileage a little faster ~ So when I ask did you hit all the workouts, it would mena all of them, not just the speed workouts.

                              7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M




                                But I was doing 80-90 mpw with a large volume of HM-MP work.  The long run really is over-rated.


                                Not that i claim to know much about running but few people can have the kind of running pedigree that you have described above so relative to you, the long run might be overrated. However, for most average runners (am talking in the 3.30 to 4.30 bracket), running volume and long runs both tend to influence commensurate increases in race day performance. In fact Pfitz in his Advanced Marathoning book pretty much says that long runs are quite necessary to become a better marathoner - so as a school of thought, probably merits more consideration.

                                I dont sweat. I ooze liquid awesome.