Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Luke Humphrey, the author of the new book, Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon. Luke was kind enough to answer some of the questions that I had after reviewinghis book.
Luke Humphrey is a 2-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier and has an M.S. in Exercise Science from Oakland University. He is the Head Coach of Hanson’s Coaching Services and runner with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. When I spoke to him, Luke had just returned from running the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in 1:07:22
The questions I had were in 5 areas:
- Speed Workout Pace
- Speed Workouts Early in Training Program
- Strength Workout Pace
- Tempo Run Pace
- 10 Day Taper
The Hansons Marathon Method recommends running Speed Workouts at a 5K pace and includes relatively long rest intervals for 400 m and 600 m intervals. Most other training plans call for between 3K and a 5K pace for Speed Workouts. Luke explained that the benefits of running slightly faster Speed Workouts were negligible for marathon runners and that the long rest intervals were used early in the training program as a way to ease into the intensity of Speed Workouts.
He said that the Speed Workouts are scheduled in first 10 weeks of the Hanson Marathon Method training plans to allow for runners to prepare for spring and summer races while training for a fall marathon. These Speed Workouts and races also allow less experienced runners to establish some benchmarks that they can use to estimate their marathon goal time.
Most other marathon training plans schedule Speed Workouts during the sharpening phase of their plan, in the last 7-8 weeks before the race. Luke feels that running Speed Workouts at this point takes valuable time away from training the body to run a efficiently at marathon pace.
The Hansons Marathon Method recommends running Strength Workouts at a Marathon - 10 sec (or Half Marathon) pace. A typical Strength Workout is 6 x 1 mile at Half Marathon Pace with a 400 m jog between intervals. Most other marathon training plans favor continuous lactate threshold runs at 15K to Half Marathon pace, without any rest intervals.
Luke explained that, by themselves, these workouts aren’t that difficult. However, since they are combined with other workouts during the same week to create “cumulative fatigue”, they are more challenging to do. These longer Strength Interval Workouts at lactate threshold require patience and careful attention to pacing to be run successfully.
The Hansons Marathon Method recommends running Tempo Runs of 5-10 miles at Marathon pace. Most other marathon training plans have you do Tempo Runs at 5-20 seconds/mile faster than marathon pace, depending on the length of the run. Luke feels that these Marathon pace Tempo Runs are important to help the runner practice running at marathon pace and to become more efficient running at that pace.
Finally, the Hansons Marathon Method recommends a short 10 day taper, instead of the 2-3 week taper recommended by other marathon training programs. Luke said that since the body is completely recovered from the last hard workout and the physiological benefits aren’t fully demonstrated until 10 days after that workout, 10 days is just the right length for a taper. He doesn’t feel that there is an increased risk of injury or fatigue on race day because of the shorter taper.
Thanks to Luke Humphrey for taking the time to explain the details of the Hansons Marathon Method.
What do you think of the differences between the Hansons Marathon Method and other marathon training plans? Tell me in the comments.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Hansons Marathon Method for review.