hanson method


W8TD2: Speed Workout 6 x 800m @ 3m 25s Target Pace (1 mile warm-up, 1 mile cool down).

By my standards not too far off target. With splits as follows:

  1. 3m 28s
  2. 3m 19s
  3. 3m 18s
  4. 3m 14s
  5. 3m 14s
  6. 3m 17s

I definitely felt those last couple. Warm-up was 1.2 miles and the cool down another mile, so all in all I’m reasonably content about how today went. The knee is still uncomfortable but seems to calm itself down after I’ve run around 3 miles and put seem heat into it.


5 mile tempo run - 6.4 miles totals at 10:46 pace and a new 10k PR!

It was a brisk 48 degrees tonight and my new leggings I got for Christmas were perfectly comfortable for the weather.

My tempo run splits were on point with my target of around 10:30/mile:
Mile 1 - 10:33
Mile 2 - 10:29
Mile 3 - 10:39
Mile 4 - 10:37
Mile 5 - 10:23

Also, Sandy girl isn’t quite ready for Christmas to be over. My friend gave her this little Santa hat and she’s been loving chewing it, throwing it in the air, and shaking it around like she caught a squirrel. It’s hilarious to watch.

Graphic T-Shirt Friday

Current mood. I’m wearing my big headphones in an effort to have people not talk to me at the office. Management is overrated. This is also why I hated group assignments in school. I prefer to be responsible for my work and my work alone. Also probably why I am a solo runner, not like an awesome team sports person. I’m also feeling tired and cranky today which is not helping my work team spirit. 

I am so tired of marathon training. I’m not just tired OF it, I’m obviously tired FROM it. I was walking up to meet a friend for dinner the other night and felt absurdly lightheaded just because it was an uphill walk. 

This past weekend was my last LONG long run: I ended up running 17.8 miles in 162 minutes.

Looking at it now, I realize why I was so tired since I ran the first, oh ELEVEN MILES way too fast. I guess I didn’t pay that much attention during the run.  

Three hours after completing that, I went to a wedding. I ended up totally leaving right at 10pm when people moved on to the after party because I was so tired just from that run. Plus, I had to be up early to run again on Sunday morning, even if it was just an easy recovery run.

Hansons doesn’t have a very long taper period so despite running my last long run, there are two more weeks of speed and strength workouts to do. Monday was 4 x 1.5 miles @ 4:40ish pace with quarter-mile recoveries:

I was surprised by how well this went considering the long run on Saturday and all the rest of it. 

Rest day on Tuesday! I went to Barre class that evening and my poor legs just hate me but the stretching and movement felt good (it’s not like a fancy barre class. It’s a ballet barre class so it’s not too stressful).

Wednesday, the ten mile tempo run. God, these are hard. Really, nothing like a tempo run at marathon pace to make you feel like you are going to fail miserably at running the actual marathon. 

I tried really hard to keep it right between 7:50-8:00 mile pace so I could avoid the numb quad problem I’ve been encountering at the end of my tempo runs but no such luck. 

But here it is: one more week of hard runs ahead of me, one week of taper and then MARATHON! Usually at this point I can’t wait to have a margarita or whatever after the race but right now, I’m most looking forward to waking up and not feeling like I have to hit a certain time or mileage on my runs. That sounds lovely to me. 


W6TD1: Easy 4 @ 9 minute/mile target pace

So, as some of you know I’m giving the Hansons marathon method a go this year. I’ve read the book and think that I’ve got a rough grip on the the approach and the justification for it. I certainly have some reservations about things, but I’m going to try to stick with it.

The first problem that I’ve encountered is that the race I want to run takes place at the beginning of April, which doesn’t give me time to do the whole plan, so I’m having to start at week 5 rather than week 1. I don’t think this is too much of an issue as my base level of fitness is still reasonable and the harder work doesn’t really kick in until week 5 - fingers crossed this doesn’t come back to haunt me.

My second problem relates to my target time. What pace exactly should I be aiming for?

If you made a prediction based on my half marathon PB then I should be aiming for around 3h 10m, but that result is a few years old and I’m not in anywhere near the same shape now. Equally this is going to be my first marathon so I’m not expecting it to go perfectly, I know that my pacing will be out at some point and the race that I’ve selected has a few ‘issues’ on the course!

So instead I’ve set myself a challenge of completing it under 3h 30m. Whenever I’ve spoken with my dad about possibly doing a marathon I’ve always said that was a reasonable target, so I think it’s sensible to stick with it for now.

Now I’m not known for being a follower of training plans, normally my running is very ad-hoc and I just run how I want to. Following orders, particularly in regards of ‘easy’ runs is not something I enjoy. This is problematic. I can see the logic behind the Hansons’ approach, but running slower than I can is completely antithetical to my running instincts - it’s going to require me to develop a level of discipline that I haven’t had before. I’m not saying that will be a bad thing, just that it’s a whole new challenge.

And initially it would appear that I’m resistant to being disciplined.

I’ve gone for the beginner rather than advance hanson program (thoughts on that choice are welcome) so the task for today was to run 4 miles (plus 1 mile warmup, 1 mile warm down) at an easy pace (9 minute miles). Unfortunately my warm up pace was quicker than that (keep in mind that I never warm up normally) and I find it very difficult to run any slower than 8m 30s pace - it just seems restrictive and uncomfortable - hence the end result was an average pace of just over 8m 30s including my warm up/down.

That leaves me in a bit of a quandary. I know that the marathon is about being able to sustain a pace over the whole route (particularly when the going gets tough), but should I be a bit more ambitious and lower my target time/work harder? I think that I’ll try to answer that at the end of my first week of training.

So, there we have it. Sam starts a marathon training plan - who would have thought that was going to happen!?!

If anyone has any advice for me then I’ll receive it gratefully (particularly from anyone who is using, or previously has, used the Hansons method). Equally if you’re training for a marathon, or know anyone who is, then do please encourage them to follow me - I think I’ll need all the support I can get!

And yes, this tumblr will now once again have running content as well as random musings about my life, work and attempts at having a love life…

2016 in Review

And looking forward to 2017.

Looking back through my old blog posts one year ago, I didn’t publish a list of goals for 2016. Even so, I knew what they were, in order of importance and feasibility: 

1) Run more than 2016 miles in 2016. 

2) Obtain a BQ-equivalent at a sub-marathon distance. 

3) Obtain a BQ. 

Before I reflect on those, let’s look back at the stats for 2016: 

Mileage: 2138.5 miles

Races: 7 (1 x 4 mile; 1 x 5 mile; 1 x 6K; 2 x 10K; 1 x 10 mile; 1 x marathon)

DNFs: 1 (Grandma’s Marathon)

PRs: 2 (10K, 10 mile). Completed races @ 6K, 4 mile, and 5 mile distances for the first time.

Injuries: 0

Niggles: 1 (shins, first week of December - resolved with all-easy miles)

Disappointments: not finishing Grandma’s, not completing two marathons, no BQ qualifiers (or equivalents)

I figured 2016 would be a great year running-wise and thought that at least the first two goals were achievable, with the third target being a stretch but obtainable if the year went well. 

I missed out on two goals (2 and 3). So what happened?

Simply speaking, it was more difficult to maintain momentum in terms of training consistency, especially for the longer distance races, than I expected during the first half of the year when my work schedule was still chaotic in the hospital. I was hoping to build a bit of a base for some serious second half of year training, but the base never really came to fruition:

Work was just too busy before June. It is no coincidence that I only had one month with more than 200 miles covered pre-June (the end of my clinical training). 

The good news, though, is that my post-June mileage has increased nicely, and 4 out of the last 6 months have included more than 200 miles/month:

Work became busy in November, which, coupled with the shorter days, made it tough to log miles. I bought a treadmill shortly thereafter and the mileage bump in December directly reflects the benefits of being able to train indoors with my weird schedule. I don’t mind using treadmills (my 2015 marathon PR came off of a winter training cycle where 85% of the mileage was on the mill), so hopefully this will be a useful tool for 2017 and beyond. 

Goals for 2017:

The primary goal for 2017 is to develop year round fitness so that any given training cycle consists of me sharpening for a specific distance as opposed to recovering fitness. So the goals are as follows:

1) Average at least 50 miles/week for 2017 (~2600 miles for 2017).

I averaged ~40 miles a week in 2016. Increasing that to 50 miles/week is reasonable and achievable. If I can maintain this type of consistency the rest of the goals on this list become much more obtainable. 

2) Achieve a BQ equivalent, accounting for an anticipated BQ time of ~3:02:32, at a sub-marathon distance in 2017.  

   (18:44 @ 5K; 38:54 @ 10K; 1:05:02 @ 10 miles; 1:26:44 @ 13.1)

3) Do not race a marathon, period, until number 2) is achieved.

4) Race more frequently in 2017: target of 10 races in 2017.

My training goes more smoothly when I race more frequently - races offer me an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the well than when I am doing SOS workouts by myself. 

5) Do at least one long run/month with the local crew. 

I’ve become closer friends with some of the runners on the local scene who do their long runs together on the weekends. They have extended an invitation for me and Meg to join them, and it makes sense to knock out some miles with the group. Hopefully it will be a way of making more friends in our new town while also removing some of the suffering that comes along with doing long runs by myself. 

Thanks for reading my intermittently updated Tumblr in 2016, and all the best to you all in 2017.

mortemer that i worked forever on!

Those of you who have followed along for a while understand how far I’ve come in the four years I’ve been blogging here. What started as an experiment with the Hansons marathon method has turned me into a pretty successful distance runner, even now at age 41.

I ran 13 continuous miles today. 6 of those were about 6:00/mi pace in 1.5 mile chunks. I walked into the house and carried on the rest of my day like nothing happened. I don’t think I was even running a 5K at that pace back at the start.

My point is that you can make a lot of progress if you stick to it. It may not be continuous improvement. There may be plateaus or setbacks along the way. You may not even really feel any different day-to-day. But someday you’ll look back like I can now and see a huge distance covered in your fitness and ability.

If you told me in 2012 I’d run a sub 2:50 marathon in 2015, I would have laughed in your face. I was fighting to cut down from 3:20 to 3:10 and thought that was pretty darn good! Always challenging myself. Making small adjustments to be more efficient. Appreciating the successes and learning from the disappointments. And most of all having fun. If I didn’t find ways to enjoy it, I doubt I would have ended up here.

A massive thank you to everyone that has liked my Hansons Marathon Method posts and also to those who have offered such valuable advice based on their personal experiences - it truly is appreciated.

I’m slightly overwhelmed by how many people are commenting and choosing to follow me on my marathon training journey - for someone who is pretty introverted your support means a great deal to me and in response I’ll try to be a bit more forthcoming in commenting and encouraging you all.

I’m really looking forward to getting to know both my old and new followers via your tumblrs and watching you succeed on your journeys. It’s going to be a challenging year for us all but hopefully a fulfilling one too.




Hansons Marathon Method

W6TD3: Tempo 5 miles - 8min Target Pace (1 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down)

First tempo run of my training plan and I had no idea how it would go. This is after all the pace at which I’m supposed to be running the race when it happens. Would it obviously feel too quick or too slow? Would I even be able to hold a steady pace?

Well I certainly didn’t find it super easy to hold the pace. Not because it was too fast or too slow but because I just find it quite difficult to run evenly, I’m more comfortable trying to run negative splits.

However the data shows that I was reasonably successful at hitting my targets this time. A nice gentle warm-up mile led into 5 fairly even miles, where my maximum deviation from the target pace was 5 seconds per mile - for a first time effort I can’t moan too much about that.

It wasn’t entirely ideal to run before 8am this morning, the temperature was hovering around freezing which meant that there was some black ice around. Perversely that may have actually helped me hit my target pace, having to watch out for ice patches meant that I was running a bit slower than my natural pace. However, I did also manage to hit a patch of ice whilst trying to stop before crossing a road - I’m not sure who was more shocked me, or the car driver who probably thought I was going to end up on the road in front of him.

That was a chastening reminder that I may not in fact be immortal - or rather that I don’t want to test my hypothesis that I might be!

So a tough but interesting day - it’s going to be intriguing to see how much of a struggle it is for me to maintain that pace over longer distances; I’m going to learn quite a lot about myself during this process.


Well I’ve officially kicked off half marathon training again… I signed up for a race in Temecula in February with three of my college best friends and I am so excited for a girls weekend full of wine, running, more wine and catching up with them.

I’m using the Hansons method for this one and have made it most of the way through the book and really appreciate the philosophy that the method is based on. If anyone has tips or advice using this method I’d love to hear it.

Today I did my first long run of 4 miles and I got in a nice easy 3 yesterday and Friday. I’m feeling good even for not running much for the past 3 weeks.

Also, this is my first post in a while because a lot has happened in a month. Here’s a brief recap:

1. I completed my first Olympic distance tri at the Santa Cruz triathlon at the end of September 🏊🏼‍♀️🚴🏽‍♀️🏃🏽‍♀️
2. We went to Portland for five days to celebrate my birthday and drank all the beers 🍻
3. We closed on our condo (OMG homeownership = adulting for real) after waiting over 6 months for it to go through. (Technicalities and bureaucracy annoyances)
4. We moved from our temporary apt. to our new condo last weekend and are finally feeling settled in.

My race recap from the Olympic tri is coming now that I can actually sit still for a little while.

Graphic T-Shirt Friday

TWO DAYS. Well, really, in less than 48 hours I should (hopefully) be DONE with the Chicago Marathon. I know, I KNOW. It’s crazy pants. I’m so ready for that moment though!

Let’s talk goals:

A Goal: 3:30. 

B Goal: 3:35 or below. My current PR is 3:33:18 but I would love to hit that or get a little below it.

C Goal: Finish without walking

D Goal: Finish

E stands for emergency room. Let’s not go down that road.

On paper, I can do this. I did the speedwork, I did the tempo runs, I did the easy runs, I did the long runs. I have run more miles and more consecutive days than ever before. There were some substitutions made because of a couple of races. There was the week I had to take off because of my tendinitis. But generally, I think I followed Hanson’s pretty well. ALL of my training was to meet my time goal. So if I can’t hit it or get in spitting distance then I don’t know what to do about that. 

There are two big things that I can think of that may trip me up. First, it’s supposed to be a warm day. Luckily, the morning looks cool and if I can finish in time, then I’m hoping the heat won’t affect me much. The other thing is, well, biology. I’m due to start my period basically right now but it’s not super regular so it could be anytime in the next week. I’ve had some cramping and stomach issues the past couple of days which is normal but it doesn’t make me feel great.

My basic approach for this is to keep it simple: run with or close to the 3:30 pacer. Ditch the extras: I’m not wearing my hydration backpack this time because I drank too much during Marine Corps and then had to go to the bathroom. My gels and a small water bottle are on my belt, I’ll use the aid station for any other hydration. I’m bringing my iPod  and will turn it on between mile 14-16, depending on how I’m feeling. At mile 16, it’s just another tempo run, right?

Oddly, the idea that I haven’t run more than 16 miles in training isn’t freaking me out. Okay, it might on Sunday morning when I hit 16 miles but right now? I’m cool with it. 

I have run 948 miles between May 1 and today. Last year, I ran 659 miles from May 1 through the END of October (when I was training for and then ran Marine Corps). So if I’m not ready now, I don’t think I’ll ever be. 

Finished my first week of marathon training. Kinda botched my long run yesterday. I was supposed to do 8 miles, but due to the lightening storm I only managed four. The lightening freaked me out, so I called it quits.

I decided to not worry about making up the miles. This week was pretty easy otherwise.

One week down, 16 more to go.


Chicago W11D7 - LONG 16

Awwwww yesssss!! First 16 milers in the books and it was great!

The VP of my department at work is also running Chicago, so we have been chatting often about our training. He mentioned that theres a trail in a city about 30 miles away that was long and paved and really nice. After checking it out online, I was in! So I made my way over there this morning. It did not disappoint!

I started out not the greatest. I was just trying to find my groove and relax into the run. It took me about a quarter of the way through to really start to relax. I dunno what the deal was. But after about a third of the way through, the trail connects on some beautiful country roads! There were so many farms filled with pretty cows, horses (so many adorable baby horses!!), and goats! They all looked so happy today so being able to run past them really took my mind off things and pepped me up. I was feeling tired at the half way turn around, but pumped that I was half way done.

The second half of this run was muchhh better than the first! I just felt much better and the miles were ticking by fast. This trail was actually pretty hilly (for Indiana standards), and that took a bit out of me. On one of the last bigger hills, I was just about to reach the top and a woman on her bike passed me, and as she did she gave me a thumbs up. So nice of her and it really made me smile :)

The last few miles FLEW by and I was feeling amazing. I completely jammed out for the last mile and just felt so great! It was the perfect way to end that run. I felt so happy and accomplished :)

I made my way back to the park I had parked at and found and unsuspecting picnic table to prop my legs on. Felt soooo good to lay there in the sun and recover. The weather today was AMAZING! So amazing. I was even chilly during some parts!! The weather definitely helped me feel good today and I was so grateful for it!

Overall, a great 16 mile long run! Started out a little rough, but I found my groove eventually, and finished strong. Can’t ask for anything better :)

I hope you all had great weekends!!!! :)