Hansons Method: Why?

Before I signed up for my ultra marathon (does anyone consistently type “marathong” instead of marathon? No? Just me? Okay then.) I did some reasearch regarding training plans.

I first heard about the Hanson Brothers from Janae’s blog (a looong time ago) and it stuck in my head. My friend Krissie also recommended it as her husband was able to knock off 19 minutes from his marathon using the plan!



I thought about whether or not I actually wanted to spend the time training for a 50k, as it would require moving my goals around a bit. Initially, I had planned to train for a sub-4 hour marathon for the Calgary Marathon, and signing up for the 50k would move that goal to the fall, or even into 2015.

After a week or so of pondering, I finally bit the bullet and signed up.

The next question? How in the heck was I going to train for this thing?!

I figured the Hansons’ Method would probably be best for me, I knew about its intensity before buying the book, but I wanted to give the book a read before committing.


I picked up the book over Christmas break and gave it a read and I really agreed with the ideas of it.

The biggest thing you’ll notice when looking at my training plan, is that my long runs are not especially long. However, you’ll notice that the plan calls for six days of running with only one rest day – that is a lot of running. Like, a lot, a lot.

Aside from the six-day a week program, another thing to note is that there are no specific hill workouts. The book addresses this by advising the runner to select routes that are somewhat hilly. Well, living in Calgary I don’t really have that option. As an example, my SeaWheeze half marathon included 598m of elevation climb over 21.1 km. In September, I ran 200km and had an elevation change of 1896m. I ran ten times as far and my elevation change was only three times as much. I’m also pretty sure I was doing hill training during that month. An average run for me has an elevation change of around 100m because flat. I’m not too concerned with the lack of hill training as the 50k will be run in Calgary and the course looks to only have a climb of about 100m.

So, why did I pick this plan?


  • I feel running six days/week will help prepare me for the fatigue of a 50k
  • The weekly runs of the beginner program aren’t especially long
  • The plan still includes speedwork
  • I’m not injury-prone and feel I can handle the intensity
  • The majority of the running days are not high intensity
  • Naps


  • It’s a lot of running
  • I’m lazy, especially on weekends
  • I’m going to need a lot of massages. This could also be a pro; it would definitely be a pro if they were free.
  • I’m going to need another new pair of shoes. This could also possibly be a pro.
  • Naps
  • No hill training; also possibly a pro.

Given that the plan is designed for a marathon at 42.2km and I’m running a 50k, I’m going to be doing a bit of tweaking to the plan as well.

Some simple math tells me I’ll be running 20% longer than a marathon, so I’ll be adding 20% to all of my runs with the exception of the speed and tempo days. I figure those days will be difficult enough without adding 20% to them – and I want to keep myself injury free over the next 18 weeks.

For the first four weeks I’ll be using the advanced plan as the distance is more in-line with the distance I should be running for the Glass Slipper Challenge – after that I’ll most likely drop down to the beginning plan, but I will continue to evaluate where I am and how I feel throughout the process.

Since the Hansons Method does speed, strength, tempo and distance runs a bit different from the Running Room, I’ll be writing new posts explaining the theory and methodology behind this plan and how I feel each week.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the plan and I’ll do my best to address them throughout my posts.

Tell me: What are your initial thoughts on the Hansons Method? What’s been your favourite training plan?


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19 thoughts on “Hansons Method: Why?

  1. hey ange – good on you! the HMM is a great training strategy, and i feel like i did manage to benefit from it in preparation for last year’s spring marathon. i personally liked training six days a week – it helped me to feel like running was just as natural a part of my day as waking up and eating breakfast (and normally breakfast came after my run). after last year’s spring marathon i started working with a coach who brought me back down to four days per week, which felt lazy to me – but did produce some much needed improvements in speed.

    in preparation for this spring’s marathon and then a 56k trail ultra in july i’m using the ryan hall/innovation for endurance marathon plan which i’ve gone to before – but tweaking it by (a) listening to my body more and changing it on the fly if necessary; and (b) throwing in a sixth day of running on one of the regularly scheduled weekend off-days so that i get back-to-back long run days – this was recommended by all of my ultrarunning friends.

    • I’m definitely focused on stamina for this one, but I don’t think I’ll do all my training a six days a week – that’s a LOT of running.
      I’m very much not a morning runner, so with the exception of weekends, my runs take place after work.

  2. In the last few months, I only heard about the Hanson’s method. Sounds intense 🙂 I think I may go out and buy the book. I don’t think I would have the time to run six days a week because I am also dedicated to crossfit. I will be following your success along the way.

    • I’m struggling to figure out how to fit in cross training with running six days a week. I’m hoping some light abs and body weight exercises will take care of it 🙂

    • I never thought of that! Since I’m downtown I always just run the river, but I’ll definitely be adding the reservoir in my weekend runs.
      Thanks!! 🙂

  3. I’ve never really read about the Hanson Method before – but now I want to! I usually like the Hal Hidgon Intermediate programs.

    Oh and don’t worry, you’re not alone…many, many times I have written “marathongs” instead of “marathons” (<-i just did it there too but corrected myself)…it's a good thing I try to proof read my blog posts before I post!!

    • I try to proof read, but I’m certain some errors sneak through! There’s a reason I wasn’t an English major 😉

      I’ve heard so many great thing about the Hal Hidgon plans, but I’ve never actually used one. I probably should!!

  4. I ran the Calgary marathon last year and there was climbing from 10-20kms. Nothing huge like the Shaganappi hill, but still enough that it does a bit of number on your legs. Not sure if the route has changed in that area this year, but I am definitely doing my long runs with more hills in them (last time I trained solely along the river which is flat) and also adding in hill training. Just giving you a heads up as something to consider 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the tip, Leigh! Knowing that I’ll definitely be seeking out more hills for my weekend runs (since I’ll have time to drive to a location). Training on the flat really killed me for SeaWheeze – now those were some hills! 🙂

  5. Good for you for signing up for the ultra! I am going to try for my first marathon this year so I’m nowhere near that. I think I will sign up for the 10km at the Calgary Marathon this year. I get home from Europe 3 days before the race, so going for the half just seems a little too ambitious!

  6. Pingback: Hansons Method: Long Runs | Cowgirl Runs

  7. Pingback: Hansons Method: Strength | Cowgirl Runs

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