Detroit Marathon: My “renegade” training plan


My hometown of Detroit has a reputation for being scrappy, gritty and a little rough around the edges. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: We love it that way.

You see, as my all-time favorite Superbowl commercial reminded us, “It’s the hottest fires that make the hardest steel.” Adversity doesn’t scare Detroiters; it only makes us stronger.

So I chose this race, in particular, to celebrate the city and everything that makes it unique and exciting — from crossing international borders twice and running an “underwater mile” to the scenery on Belle Isle and views of the city from Corktown to Indian Village, just to name a few.

And what better way to prepare than to use a training plan developed out of Hansons Running Shop, a locally-owned, nationally-recognized running institution (and founder of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project)?

Sure, it may be a bit unconventional. But in a city that’s anything but conventional, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What It Is

Promising a “PR-busting performance,” the Hansons Marathon Method focuses on lower-mileage long runs that emphasize quality over quantity.

In layman’s terms? While the focal point of other plans is one weekly looong run (up to 20-22 miles), the Hansons philosophy is that no one workout is more important than another.

That translates into six days a week of running — double that of my previous plan — with an equal focus on endurance, speed and strength.

Why I Like It

It’s controversial — specifically the absence of 20-mile (or more) long runs — but according to the reviews, it works.

Credit a little something called the “residual training effect,” which banks on the cumulative impact of workouts. So, for example, a long run that’s “only” 16 miles now includes three workouts’ worth of fatigue in the legs.

Rather than preparing runners to tackle the first 16 miles of a marathon, this plan is geared toward being able to hang tough in those critical last 16 miles.

Will It Work?

We shall see! I’d be lying, though, if I said I wasn’t at least a little nervous about being able to get to the start line uninjured, especially with all the non-stop running. I can’t remember the last time I ran six days a week.

But I’ve got a decent level of overall fitness built, and I think the Hansons Method will help me get to that next level of physical — and mental — stamina.

Plus, there’s another factor in this race that’ll make things even more interesting: heart. I’m so excited to run in, with and for the city I’m proud to call home.

Get ready, Detroit, I’m comin’ for ya.

Training officially starts tomorrow, so check back for my weekly recaps!

6 thoughts on “Detroit Marathon: My “renegade” training plan

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