I started with Hansons Half Marathon Method, which is a version of their popular marathon training program aimed at the half. The first part of the book explains their training philosophy, which centers on running, running, and more running, because they argue that the non-cardio benefits of running are what really improve a runner in the long run. Hansons marathon plan became known as the plan that demanded only a 16 mile long run, but what the buzz failed to mention is that the long run topped out at 16 because all of the rest of the mileage comes during the week.
They build their training program on the principle of cumulative fatigue; throughout the training cycle, the runner's legs will always be tired and never fully rested, which will not only simulate the last leg of the race, but also ensures that the runner has to take the easy days easy. It's hard to race your training accidentally if your legs are always a little heavy.
I liked a lot about the plan. The "Beginner" plan, aimed at beginning racers at the distance, tops out at 48 miles a week, which would be a challenge. Every run is planned, with intervals and tempo runs included every week. Best, the book includes all of the pace charts that you could wish for to get you through training, and it's extremely well-organized and edited.
Here's the problem. I want to do this plan so badly, but I don't think I can handle six days a week of running. I know I can manage five without an injury. Every time I've pushed it to six, the sixth run of the week is horrible and I wind up hurting.
I want to destroy my half marathon, but I also want to keep from losing hours a week to PT. So this cycle I'm sticking to three principles:
- Run no more than five days per week.
- Off days are off. No weight training or extra core work.
- Mobility work every day on hotspots.
So I've shelved Hansons for now. Maybe next time.