I had a post back in June about marathon training programs. And since this blog is supposed to be about “running” and “paleo”, I thought I would do more on the running side of it. I’ve always been a huge supporter of the Hanson’s training methods. Back when I lived in Detroit and was first starting to run marathons I had attended one of the Hanson’s marathon clinics. This was when Luke Humphrey was taking over coaching the clinics and before he started the Hansons Coaching Service.
Luke wrote a book about the Hanson training program, and it was released in October. My copy shipped immediately.
Hansons Marathon Method – My Review
I’m not going to write a review along the lines of massive essays posted on Amazon. I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons of running marathons or low-mileage vs high-mileage training philosophies. Why? Well, I’m already a marathoner so someone else’s opinion isn’t going to make me stop running them. And I was a believer in this training method from using it for several years. I didn’t buy it to read and wonder if it would work for me.
This review is more of a why buy the book when some of the information is online or in Running Times?
Back in 2005, before Brian Sell and Desi Davila were Olympians, Jim Gerweck wrote an article in Running Times magazine about the Hanson’s training plan. The article gave some background on the Hanson brothers and their unique training plan. Unique because unlike every other plan around back then, it did not have a single 20 mile run. In fat, the article was subtitled, “Smashing the myth of the 20 miler.” The article included the 18 week plans and some details on how to run some of the workouts.
With the success of Brian Sell, there was more interest in the plans and Jim Gerweck wrote a follow-up article. This one from 2007 discussed some of the changes the brothers made to the plan for the Hanson-Brooks elite team.
And finally in 2010, an article in Runners World by Adam Cohen documented his running of the Chicago Marathon following the “way of the renegades” as he called the Hanson plan. The article included the training plan at the end.
So Runners World and Running Times had articles about the training plans and included the plans and information on the workouts. The plans are available on the Hansons running store website, both the beginner and advanced version.
So if the information on the plans is out in the public domain, why buy the book?
Luke is an elite runner on the Hanson-Brooks team, so he’s used the plan himself. He’s lived it for years. He also coaches a lot of normal runners, so he knows what works for them and what questions they have. Reading a plan online isn’t the same as an experienced coach explaining why to run at a specific pace or distance. Luke uses all of his knowledge to explain the science behind marathon training in an understandable way. I’ve done some of these workouts for years myself, but know I really understand why I’m running them.
The plans as presented by Luke in the book are much more detailed. Instead of just saying “strength workout” on Tuesday, Luke lays out what intervals to run for each workout. In another section, Luke gives advice on how to modify the plans for adding miles or dealing with scheduling conflicts and missed workouts. These alone were worth the price of the book to me.
I’m not an elite marathoner. I’ll never be one (because I’m old), but it is nice to know how the plan I’m following in my pursuit of a Boston Qualifier is related to the plan that got Desi Davila to her amazing Boston Marathon finish and later on the 2012 Olympic team. Luke talks about the elite plans and his own training log for the 2011 Rock ‘n Roll San Diego Marathon is included.
Simply put, if you have any interest in the Hansons Marathon Method, picking up this book is a no-brainer.