The Hansons Method: Mileage

In my last post, I mentioned that the Hansons Half-Marathon Method consists of five components:

  • Mileage
  • Intensity
  • Balance
  • Consistency
  • Active Recovery

In this post, I’ll be discussing mileage, or “strategic weekly volume.” Early in explaining their philosophy, Hansons says:

The biggest problem with many half-marathon training plans is that they are tailored to fit what the average runner wants, not what he or she needs.

Hansons Half Marathon Method by Keith and Kevin Hanson

… and that’s it, that’s where they got me. Over the years and decades, my training has centered around what’s easy, what’s convenient, and what those around me are doing. For example:

  • I’m busy during the week? Better load up on that Sunday run so that I hit my mileage goals.
  • Running short on time? I’ll guess I’ll just run as fast as I can muster and jump directly into my car immediately afterwards to get home ASAP.
  • My friends are running 3 minutes per mile slower than I normally run, or doing an insane hill workout? Well, running is a social activity, so that’s what I’m doing too!

Hansons has encouraged me to take a step back and consider what I need to do in order to get what I want… And that means 6 running days a week right from the start. Note, however, that this is strategic mileage, so you have to do it at a pace and schedule that makes running that much possible. They prescribe pretty specific mileage goals for each week. The plan I am on starts at ~33 mi/week and tops out at 50 mi/week*. I remember thinking 4 weeks ago that it would be impossible for me to hit the mileage goal in even the first week, let alone the goals for week eighteen. So far I’m pleasantly surprised. Their program “works to bring you up the mileage ladder one rung at a time.” *Note here that I am using the “Advanced” plan which has more mileage than the “Beginner” or “Just Finish It” plans, but they all run 6 days/week.

I can see how this program would not be for everyone – many people I know are just plain bored when they run and would loathe doing it so often. I have always loved running, but at the same time I’m sick of feeling like running is so hard. Paradoxically, it seems that running more may be the key to feeling each run less. Plus, it’s an investment that pays off when you race — mileage is straw that you put into building an elaborate thatch hut. Months later, the race is when you burn that hut to the ground.

What is your mileage philosophy? How do you decide how much is too much and how much is not enough?

Next up, Intensity.

Published by Jordan Atlas

Sharing my thoughts about running as an almost real adult.

3 thoughts on “The Hansons Method: Mileage

  1. Nice job hitting the mileage!

    I used to ascribe to the “more is more” philosophy with mileage, which is probably true for gains in speed, but getting two stress fractures in one year suggested it wasn’t the best option for me. Since then, I’ve managed to hit reasonable race times running a lot less. But like we talked about at Bridle Trails, I’m thinking of using the Hanson plan for a marathon this summer. Even the beginner plan gets up to reasonably high mileage though, so I might adjust it based on how I’m feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “More is more” only works to a point, I guess! Case in point, I’m sick this week. Is it because I ran too much? Maybe! But I’ve been off for 3 days and I’m really itching to go for a run, something that I haven’t felt for a long time and I attribute to increasing my frequency and doing more “SOS” workouts.


  2. You’re doing great! Last year I had a mileage goal of 25km per week to make 100 per month. Some weeks I managed to do a lot more and some not so much. I think once you wrap your brain around that mileage your body willingly goes along for the ride


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