"It's not about how you start, it's about how you finish."

 Out for a run around the neighborhood

This is the proverbial saying I heard recently during a run while watching the Biggest Loser. I was in the middle of an 8-mile tempo run on the treadmill, and it made me think about the journey I've been on for the last several months.

 Day 1 is always the hardest

Day 1 is always the hardest

I started the Hansons Marathon Method training plan on July 24th. For those that read my blog entries, you might remember that I was disillusioned with running and needed to find my love for the sport again. I began lifting with my friend, Jose, and did that for 3.5 weeks before starting the Hansons Plan. I started off weighing 222 lbs. With 20.4% body fat. For someone who had just ran 3 marathons in 62 days, I had actually gained weight and wasn't starting at my best. It didn't matter because we all have to start from somewhere and you have to tackle that Mount Everest one step at a time. In this case, it's more like one run at a time, but you get the idea. I was 100% committed to the training plan and wanted (want) more than anything for a PR in my next marathon. According to some reading I had done on the "internets", the Hansons way had provided great results. 

 Book contains concepts & target paces

Book contains concepts & target paces

I'm sure some of you have seen that hashtag on the Nike+ runs I post on Facebook & Instagram, and wondered, what is the Hansons Marathon method? In a nutshell, Hansons is a training plan made for runners who want to train like elite athletes but it takes into consideration the fact that running is probably not your day job. Most elite athletes are able to put in more mileage, because it's their sole job to train.  The rest of us have a day job and other responsibilities which affords us less time to focus on running. Hansons Marathon method is similar to other training plans; it has easy runs, speed workouts, tempo runs, strength workouts and long runs. It argues that most plans will get you to the finish line; however, the race experience will not be enjoyable. Their plan will help you perform at a new level so that you enjoy the distance rather than despise it.

 Preview of Hansons Marathon Method. Courtesy of Hansons-Running.com

Preview of Hansons Marathon Method. Courtesy of Hansons-Running.com

 Due to logistics or time constraints, when I can't run outside the gym is my friend.

Due to logistics or time constraints, when I can't run outside the gym is my friend.

Where it differs from your conventional training plan is in the long run and overall mileage.  When it comes to the long run, most plans will have a 20-22 miler as your longest run; however, the argument here is that having this long run usually exceeds 30% of your weekly mileage which in turn is not a good thing.  This leads to longer recovery times, higher risk of injury and also a demoralizing morale. A 20+ mile long run might be good for elite athletes, but their weekly mileage is higher than your average person, so their long run doesn't exceed that 30%.  As for overall mileage, the weekly volume is strategically placed so that you train and build up a foundation of cumulative fatigue while not passing the point of over training;  you also have easy days in between the hard days and have an active recovery of sorts. There are other rules this plan follows; however, overall, by focusing on mileage, intensity, balance, consistency and recovery, Hansons Marathon Method prepares your body for the physical and psychological demands of the marathon.

 Not every workout is sunshine & rainbows

Not every workout is sunshine & rainbows

That is the gist of what the book says, but what's my experience been with the plan? Well it definitely hasn't been easy. If you compare on average the monthly mileage I've ran in the past and what I've been running on this plan, there is vast difference.  This plan has definitely tested me mentally because I'm so used to having more than one day off; however, it hasn't pushed me to the point of over training.  Even though I've been running more my legs don't feel any more sore or tired, than they have in the past.

 Running around San Diego, CA

Running around San Diego, CA

 Sightseeing in Page, AZ

Sightseeing in Page, AZ

As everyone knows, life tries to get in the way sometimes; work, vacation plans, it's your birthday, social events, football season haha-you name it. The difference is I have made this plan the emphasis of my day, everyday. This is probably the main reason why I have not written in a couple months, for which I apologize. Everything has revolved around my training and not the other way around. For example, on my birthday back in August, I went on vacation to San Diego and made sure that I planned out my day with my run in mind.

When I went to Arizona and Utah for some sightseeing last month, same thing, I planned it out and made it work. Sometimes I had a treadmill available, sometimes I didn't. The beautiful thing about running is that you can almost do it anywhere. All you need are some running shoes and that is about it. I had some nice runs outside in San Diego; Page, AZ; and St. George, UT.

Have all my runs been "awesome"? NO. I get tired, both physically and mentally, just like anybody else. Shoot there have been some runs where I have felt like shit; because I either didn't eat at all or ate/drank too much. Side note: never do a run after partaking in a Margarita Festival. That was not fun at all! Haha. Who would even attempt to do their scheduled run after they've been drinking? Me! The "SMRT" guy. Lesson learned (again). The point is I've been getting the work done on good days and bad days. 

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Currently I'm on day 89 of the plan. The book does mention how it trains you to burn more fat for fuel by targeting certain paces on all your runs, based on your marathon goal. I would say that is accurate because I recently weighed in at 203 with 14% body fat. I can definitely tell that I've built up my stamina and endurance back up to a whole new level.  My real seal of approval will come on race day, which I'm anxiously awaiting.  I may have not started out strong, but I'm definitely going to finish strong!

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