Confusing Myself Needlessly

Sometimes I am an complete and utter…idiot, putz, or whatever word you use to describe someone who cannot make up his mind or at the very least is easily confused. After a lot of researching, trying, experimenting and eventually attempting more than a few running philosophies over the last year or so, I finally settled on the Hansons Method as fitting closest to how I tend to perceive training.

So I got the Hansons Marathon Method book and started following the plan at week 5, because it seemed to be about where I was at the time, even though I have no plans to run a marathon this spring, I used the 3:40 marathon pace training plan to start my half marathon training, because that is the 60 year old Boston Qualifying standard at this point.

The great news is that I finished week 5 no problem and have started week 6. Although most of the training has been on the treadmill, but it has been my experience that my treadmill running transfers decently to running outside with a little bit of transition.

However, since I am focused on running a spring Half Marathon, I thought it probably would be a great idea to get the Hansons Half Marathon Training book. So I ordered the Half Marathon plan book. However, my goal time for the half is a sub 1:40:00 which is a much faster pace than my 3:40:00 marathon pace goal.

Once I got the book in earlier this week, I got myself all discombobulated to say the least and was starting to do a little from each book. While the training philosophies are the same, that training paces are significantly different for the two races.

Like I said the 1:40 training paces are fast, faster than I have ever run a half (since the only one I have actually done was in 2012 and that was just over 1:41), so when I got looking at the training paces for that fast of a half, I freaked out a little.

While I am fairly certain I could probably handle the suggested speed work paces because that is my strength, but the longer tempo runs at a 7:29 pace…well mmm that probably would just about max me out and either cause and injury or set me up for a bad case of over-training.

Today’s Training Run

Which meant that today’s run became a mishmash of seeing how I felt at various speeds. Yeah, basically I became a veritable guinea pig to figure out how the old body would do at different paces.

After a 2.0 mile warm-up at 6.3 mph, it was time for my 5.0 mile tempo run, which in the Hansons training world meant race pace. A 3:40:00 marathon pace is 8:23 per mile (about 7.2 mph on the treadmill). However, I have been feeling very strong, so, I did 4.0 miles of tempo at 8:13 pace without any issues and was able to push it down to 7:54 pace (7.6 mph) for another mile, without too many issues.

However, at that point even as much as I wanted to believe otherwise, I could easily figure out that lowering my pace by another 25 seconds per mile would just be too much at my present level of conditioning.

While I could probably hang on at a 7:29 pace for a couple miles, going that fast for 5.0 miles…I gotta be honest that would be closer to a 90% or higher effort each time the tempo runs came around on the schedule. That is not what I want and certainly not what the Hansons Method expects.

Decision Time

After that Tempo run, I had to make a decision on what is most important to me?

Chasing a 1:40:00 half marathon time and be right on the edge of my current abilities

Or

Having a successful training cycle and gaining confidence that I can complete a marathon training program without injuring myself, even if I do not plan to run a marathon this spring. The Hansons Marathon Method would be a perfect way to train for a half marathon and let me run one well this spring.

Which let me have a better understanding of what my body can do when I complete a real training plan. Which is a very important consideration for me.

Then when I am successful in completing the program (gotta be positive), do the right things to seriously chase that BQ of 3:40 or better this Fall.

When I looked at it that way, there really was not any other decision.

The reality is that

When I stop and look at my long-term goals, I do know what I want to accomplish and running a fast half marathon, while it would be nice, it is not the dream that I have carried since my Grandfather and I had a conversation after Yoshiaki Unetani won the 1969 Boston Marathon.

During that conversation I promised that someday I would finish the Boston Marathon and now that I am in my 60s that window is closing more each year, as years of injuries and life catch up to me. The other part of this is that I have to qualify – that was a promise I made to myself after my 1982 Marine Corps Marathon DNF and the 1983 fiasco, which I finished, but just barely.

So after really thinking about what is important to me, I have decided to use most, but probably not all of the Hansons Marathon Method plan this winter/spring training cycle. That way I can see how I hold to up to training for a 3:40:00 marathon through this winter and then run a half marathon just to see how I do during late April or May.

Yeah, experiment and have no pressure to do anything but follow the plan, run and learn about training using the Hansons Method and see if it really works for me.

In other words use this the Hansons Marathon Plan as written, to establish a good base and gain confidence enough that I can get by the mental block that is holding me back from completing a marathon training cycle. Because that is what is stopping me from successfully training for a marathon more than anything else – my previous horrible marathon experience and my brain’s attempts to protect me from going through it again.

If things go well, I will have the confidence to successfully pursue that dream of mine – one more time. Only this time with an idea that has a better chance of succeeding than the other times I have tried since 1983.

At least that is my plan and I think it is a pretty good one.

2 thoughts on “Confusing Myself Needlessly

  1. I like your plan and I like Hanson’s! And while it’s no joke (I used it for my last marathon training that would have been a BQ if not for all the hills), it’s better than other plans that have a really long run sandwiched by rest days, which is not so healthy, actually. So yes…I also am really excited to see you reaching for this goal again, but 🤫 sssshhh. The brain doesn’t know yet 😉

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