Recently I began training for the Marine Corps Marathon. The race is on October 26, and training will be 18 weeks long. After much deliberation I decided to give the Hansons Marathon Method a try. Specifically, I’m following the beginner training plan.
The point of the first five weeks of the Hansons Beginner plan is to “base build.” The concept of base building is pretty basic, and not specific to the Hansons. It means starting from a base of lower mileage and building to increased mileage and more frequent running.
The first five weeks of the Hansons beginner plan is made up of all easy running, gradually building from 15 miles per week to 24 miles. Every type of run in the Hansons program has a specified pace, based on your current abilities and your marathon goal. Easy runs are meant to be 1-2 minutes per mile slower than your marathon goal pace. For me, easy runs should be between 11:28 – 12:16/mile pace. That’s slower than I typically do my “easy” runs, so it’s been an adjustment to learn to run at a slower pace. It’s not absolutely necessary that I stick to those paces at this point in training, but it’s good to start practicing now. Correct pacing becomes very important later on.
After the first five weeks, speed work, tempo runs, and long runs will be introduced into training. In order to prevent injury and to meet the prescribed paces for these workouts, it’s very important to run easy days at the slower pace. Otherwise each run ends up being close in pace, and you won’t reap the intended benefits from each type of run.
But for now, I’m halfway through week 3 of training, which gives me some leeway. The main purpose of the first five weeks is to give me some time on my feet, increase the number of days per week that I run, and create a foundation to build on during the rest of training. If your weekly mileage is currently higher than what’s scheduled, the Hansons recommend you just keep doing what you’re doing and let the training catch up with you. That’s what I’ve been doing so far. By week 5 everything will match up, and I’ll be following the training plan as prescribed from there on.
Do you follow a training plan when preparing for a big race?