Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hanson Coaching Does Things A Little Different

I received a packet from Hanson’s Coaching Services. I thought you’d find it interesting. It is the training packet from their Advanced Marathon clinic. I don’t know how familiar you are with their training philosophy. I was taken aback by the fact they don’t have a planned run longer than 16 miles for most runners?!? Obviously, they have a good reputation, but this is very different from say Pfitzinger’s plan. It does however encompase many of the ideas Daniels advocates. Here is what the Hanson booklet has to say:

“Many programs focus mainly on completing runs of up to 20-22 miles 3-5 times throughout the training segment. However, the weekly mileage is maybe 40-50 miles for the peak week. This means that as much as 50% of the mileage comes from 1 day, leaving 6 days to get the other half of the distance. According to Daniels, a long run should be no more than 25% (or less than 150 minutes) of a person’s weekly mileages. This is because physiologically you deplete energy stores enough to trigger responses to store more energy, cellular adaptations occur at optimal level, and longer than this may cause structural breakdown and over stress the body.”

Now, I am a bit confused by this because, I don’t know of any advanced marathon plan that peaks with only 50 miles. The workouts are pretty much standard fare:

Easy days
Long Runs
Lactate Threshold
Tempo Runs
Running Economy

Like Daniels, they don’t advocate 400’s for VO2max workouts. They reason if you run faster than a 27 minute 5k you won't spend enough quality minutes in your targe training zone. It takes 2 minutes to reach VO2max and ideally the interval should be 3-6 minutes in length. They reserve 400 intervals for beginner runners with lower mileage and advocate 800’s as being more suited with 1600’s being the final goal.

Hanson Coaching offers a detailed table for paces that help the runner pace correctly. But for these examples, lets use a 2:30 marathoner that runs a 15:30 5k. During the first 9 weeks, Tuesdays are all about these speed workouts. Then Tuesday’s switch and become strength workouts. A strength workout consists of something like 6x1 mile at 5:30 pace w/ ¼ mile jog in between. Conversely, the 1600 Speed Workout would have been 4-6x1600 at 5:03 pace with 2:35 recovery jog.

Thursday’s are all about tempo runs at MGP. Sundays get more substance for long runs when they are training advanced athletes. For they can benefit from incorporating tempo (threshold) efforts in the long runs. They build pace runs up to 5-10 miles. They build slowly spacing the difficult effort long runs only every 3rd run.

Here is a link to their schedule:
I've been told that our own IVS runner, Charlie Hansen (sp) used this plan and went from say a PB of 3:15 to something in the neighborhood of a 2:56 marathon at Greenbay. Help me out if I got that one wrong. Now it's not faster than Schroff but I certainly would be happy with it.
I doubt this translates into anything meaningful for the elite guys who are trying to get under 2:20 but it might have merit for the 3:15 marathoner wanting to get down under 3 hours.


Matt S. said...

Rob- Charley Hanson had run sub 3 a couple of times before Green Bay, but off of much different marathon training plans (compared to the Hanson's). I think he ran Green Bay in 2:57-2:58.

Matt S. said...

P.S. I love the picture!

Rob Fennell said...

Me too! She's a babe!

Charley said...

Matt's right. Prior to running 2:59.15 at Green Bay in 2006, I had run sub 3 hours three times (two at Chicago in '92 (2:54.43) and '93 - 2:59.00, and at Columbus in '98 - 2:59.24). I saw the Hanson's training program after I had completed Green Bay. That program is definitely more different with the long run peaking at 16 miles, but does make sense from a % of weekly mileage. During my training for Green Bay I had run three 20 milers, a 22 miler, and a 23 miler for long runs, but felt really bad at 14 - 15 miles during the race (instead of around 20 - 22 miles). Since my max weekly mileage hit above 60 a couple of times, I may have been more fatigued going into the race with the long run being 35 - 40 % of weekly mileage instead of the maximum of 25%. If you look at one of the men's running log from the hanson-brooks website, the longest run is 22 with weekly mileage over 100 miles (usually 120 miles and above).