In less than two weeks I will start my first structured training program in the hopes of having a big PR at the Columbus Half-Marathon in October. Clearly I've sort of followed other programs, but I've never really hit most of the workouts (or any, really). Last summer, I loosely followed a marathon program, but I was just given weekly mileage and long run mileage; everything else, I winged.
So this spring, I read the Hansons Marathon Method book that I borrowed from a friend. A marathon isn't in my future, but I am very interested in the theory behind the method. "Cumulative fatigue" makes a lot of sense to me, and I tend to feel better when I'm running more often. (I used to say I was good with higher mileage, but that "higher mileage" was just in comparison to my friends and wasn't truly higher mileage.)
After reading the marathon book, I ordered the Hansons Half -Marathon Method for myself. While much of the info is the same or similar, the book is definitely more targeted toward the half with different plans, workouts and paces. And the method is daunting. I'm not super-worried about the mileage (although the book doesn't advocate for splitting mileage, and I've often done that to hit weekly mileage goals -- which I think was a problem during last summer's marathon training), I'm worried about the speed and strength workouts. These are things I've never done before, at least not with any regularity or true structure.
I'm going to do my best to chronicle my experience with the Hansons Half-Marathon Method because my internet research is mostly turning up reviews of the book itself. To get a baseline for me: I ran my first half-marathon in 2011 in 2:18 and did another one a month later at 2:14. Since then, I've run more than I can count, but haven't gone under 2 hours. In fact, I hit 2:03 three times last year (once as part of an 18-mile run), so it's not an unrealistic goal.
However in 2015, I have not been running that much (averaging 27 miles/week -- I checked!), and I certainly haven't been running quickly. Between coaching the training group, the terrible winter and general apathy, I've been doing lots of easy runs. I ran the Athens half at 2:07, and I was fine with that because I treated it like a long run and negative-split the race.
Speed paces are based off 5k and 10k times, and strength/tempo paces are based off your half-marathon goal. There are tables to help you determine where to start if you haven't done a 5k or 10k recently. The strength ones are a little trickier, but there are tables to help you as well. The tables include 1:55 and 2:02 goals, so I'm going to start there and see what happens.
I don't have much else to say yet since I haven't started training. I will finish up the book before training starts on 06/15 (well, actually, that's Monday; their plans start on Thursday of the first week for some reason). I will also be altering the plan to account for long runs on Saturday and not being off on Wednesdays.
More to come!