Why I chose Hansons Marathon Method (HMM) for Melbourne Marathon – Review

Famous for its 6-day running schedule, cumulative fatigue and the longest runs “only” being 27km, HMM claims to have helped thousands of runners smash their marathon times.  I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of the method, if you want to understand it further I highly recommend you buy the book.  In very basic terms, it is smart training with 49% of your running being easy and the remainder mileage being speedwork, strength training, goal pace and long slow runs.

Training to adapt – not just to survive


You would think someone recovering from piriformis syndrome, an overuse injury, would steer clear of a marathon program that requires running 6 days a week, with weeks up to 90km in distance. It is against everything I’ve learnt in running groups, through coaches and during my running accreditation courses, yet I was drawn to it.

I came across HMM while scrolling through Instagram. @runchar2 posted a photo of the book and it stood out.  I googled, I checked hashtags, scrolled through the Facebook group and concluded that this was for me and I ordered the book.  It is a fantastic read.

Below are the reasons I chose to go with something labeled “A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon”

  • I LOVE running and being ‘allowed’ to run 6 days a week would be amazing
  • Most of my running PR’s have come off the back of my biggest half ironman training weeks, so I wasn’t scared of the load
  • My marathon mind game is weak and HMM is meant to help develop coping skills to run the “last 10kms” of the marathon
  • I like simple sessions. It is the same each week – speed/strength on Tues, tempo Thurs, long run Sunday.  Training paces stay the same, it’s just the distances that change.
  • The book, the website and the app make it easy to understand the pace ranges you need to hit to work towards your marathon goal time
  • My foot was wrecked with my piriformis injury and I thought running more would rebuild the strength and do better from recovery runs rather than rest days
  • I’m a running coach and thought I was the perfect Guinea Pig to try the method on

As I enter Week 17 of the 18-week program, 2 weeks out from Melbourne Marathon, here’s what I have found:

  • I am OVER running. I am fine once I get started, but it is taking me longer to get out the door than what it used to
  • It is very time consuming. Missing a run doesn’t make sense in the method, which keeps you motivated, but also means running is your #1 priority for 18 weeks
  • My mind game is feeling strong, I can’t wait to test it come race day
  • Strangely I feel the sorest the day after rest day
  • I have a new-found respect for what my body is capable of. Doing speedwork on the 6th day of running is ridiculous, but it is absolutely possible to do and hit your target pace!
  • I have remained injury free throughout the training cycle, just a few niggles now as I head into taper
  • Going into the training, due to my injury, I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to do the marathon. Heading into race week I am confident of finishing and even aiming for the sub 4hour goal!  I believe I have every chance of getting that or at least a huge PB.

Would I recommend the method?

Yes, if:

  • You have the time and support to making your runs the priority
  • You use running as therapy
  • You are strict with sticking to a plan and the appropriate pace
  • Mind game is a goal for your marathon
  • If you like running alone
  • You understand your body and know the difference between pain and fatigue

No, if:

  • You’re time poor or have family/work commitments
  • You struggle with self-motivation and often make excuses
  • You like running groups or running with friends and find you end up running at their pace
  • You think you must go fast on long runs