Let’s get this out-of-the-way up front- If you want to run a fast half-marathon, you have to put in the training miles. That’s just the way it works. There are no short-cuts, 20-mile per week programs, or 3-day a week plans that will save you from this harsh reality.
Luke Humphrey is a 2:14 marathoner, exercise scientist, head coach of Hanson’s Coaching Services and author of Hansons Half Marathon Method. In a recent interview Humphrey was asked what he felt was the most important workout for runners looking to set a PR in the half-marathon. He answered, “…I would say general mileage. The more you can handle, the better.” That’s why his plans call for 6 days of running each week.
The Hansons Half-Marathon Method is based on the concept of cumulative fatigue. Cumulative fatigue results from repetitive training (without full recovery) over an extended period of days, weeks, and months. For this reason, it is very important that runners stick to the training plan unless injury or illness prevents them from doing so.
This all may sound a little daunting to the first-time half marathoner, but not to worry. There are three very different plans for you to choose from. The “Just Finish” plan for those who want to cross the finish line, the “Beginner” plan for those who are new to the race distance, and the “Advanced” plan for the more experienced and competitive racer.Click To Tweet
The Hanson plan has many key workouts, referred to as “something of substance” or SOS, but half the weekly mileage is done at an easy pace. Easy miles recruit different muscle fibers, build bone and tendon strength, improve cardiovascular efficiency, and improve running economy. And some people call these “junk” miles?
The training plans are laid out in easy to use tables with corresponding pace charts for each type of run. The “Just Finish” program tops out at 32 mpw, the “Beginner” program at 48 mpw, and the “Advanced” reaches peak mileage at 51. There are additional resources for modifying your training plan to add more mileage, add race days, swap workouts, or adjust for missed training days.
Additional chapters cover stretching, strength training, nutrition, race fueling, and running gear. Race day strategy, travel, and race day logistics are covered in detail. And, there is an important chapter about post-race recovery. This book is a complete resource for athletes who want to conquer the half-marathon distance.