If you are planning a spring marathon, there are a lot of marathon training plans to choose from. A few years back, Hansons Marathon Method became one of the popular training programs. I read the book by Luke Humphrey with Keith and Kevin Hanson. There are a lot of good training methods along with some questionable ones in the book. Here, I want to focus on the subject of long run.
What’s so different about their program is that the long run in the training program caps off at 16 miles; emphasizing quality over quantity. Most marathon training programs call for long runs of 20-24 miles. There are pros and cons to the longest run being just 16 miles. For experienced runner like myself this program is not going to help achieve a new PR. 16 milers are what I use to simulate race pace in my marathon training. If you have run several marathons and feel traditional training plans are not for you then it’s worth a try. And for newbie marathoners, it will help them run long distances consistently without causing injuries and mental burnout.
There are other important components in a marathon training such as speed, strength and tempo runs. But long runs are very important because ” a marathon starts from mile 20 “. So without practicing running at least 2 or 3 20-24 miles in training, it would be hard to let lone finish 26.2 miles or achieve a certain goal time. Hansons Method states long runs lasting 2-3 hours are most beneficial. Along with that, it recommends long run distance should be 25-30 % of your weekly mileage. For example, for someone who runs 40 mile a week, 25 % is 10 miles and 30 % is 12 miles. I’ve tried to incorporate some of their training components into my training before. Long runs in my training though I had to totally disregard the method in the book.
Here is my philosophy. Running is an honest sport; you get what you put into it. And when it comes to training, one size does not fit all.