Goal 15 Completed: Star Wars All Nighter

Another goal has been completed. On Saturday I hosted a party where we marathoned all the Star Wars movies. I decided to do this as soon as Star Wars VII was announced. I never really watched the original three Star Wars movies, so I thought this would be a fun way to prepare for the upcoming release. We started the movie marathon around 4 PM and did not conclude it well after 5 AM. It was a heck of a marathon, and I had a lot of fun with it.

Challenge List

15 Star Wars All Nighter Accomplished

The Hanson’s Marathon Method Chapter 2: Physiology

Chapter 2 of the Hanson’s Method starts going into the physiology of marathon running. Luke Humphrey thinks that most runners and coaches tend to overthink the physiology of running. He feels that if a runner understands the basic physiological adaptions that go into a marathon plan, they will feel more confident in his/her running. Their plan is tailored towards the physiological adaptions needed to run the 26.2 miles. They had divided the plan into 5 basic principles:

Marathon Muscles
VO2 Max
Anaerobic Threshold
Aerobic Threshold
Running Economy

Marathon Muscles

There are more than 600 muscles that work to create motion and force. Each muscle is divided into three types of muscle fibers. The muscle fibers responsible for locomotion, the ones that make running possible, are the skeletal muscles.

The skeletal muscles include slow-twitch fibers (Type I) and fast-twitch fibers (Type II). Each muscle contains both types of fibers, which are bound together like a bundle of cables. A muscle is made up of thousands of these bundles, and each bundle is controlled by a single motor neuron. Altogether, the bundles and the motor neuron create the motor unit. Since each bundle contains only one type of fiber, slow-twitch fibers and fast-twitch-fibers receive their information from separate motor units. The structure of a skeletal muscle system is what dictates marathon ability.

Type I (slow-twitch fibers)
These types of muscles are particularly important for endurance events. Slow-twitch fibers efficiently use fuel and are resistant to fatigue. Slow-twitch fibers are also aerobic, meaning the use oxygen to transfer energy. This is due to them having large capillaries, which gives them a much greater supply of oxygen than fast-twitch fibers. Additionally, slow-twitch fibers use the mitochondria-known as “the powerhouse of the cell”- to do aerobic metabolism. The mitochondria use fats and carbohydrates as fuel sources and allow your body to keep running.

The slow-twitch fibers have a slower shortening speed than other types of fibers. This serves as an important function for endurance runners. Although these fibers cannot generate as much force as other muscles, they supply energy at a steady rate and a good amount of power for an extended period. Overall, Type I muscles are more efficient and persistent, allowing them to ward off fatigue during the long haul.

Type II Fibers (Fast Twitch Fibers)
Type II fibers are bigger and faster than Type I fibers. While they can pack a powerful punch, they fatigue rapidly. These fibers have very few mitochondria, so they transfer energy anaerobically (without oxygen). Type II’s fibers user a lot of the high-energy molecule, ATP, causing them to quickly tire and weaken. This is why a 100-M Olympic champion can set a record-setting pace for just the length of the homestretch. While a marathon champion can set a record-setting pace for 26.2 miles. These different records are set due to different muscle fiber types.

Type II fibers have different sub groups. The most common ones are Type IIa and Type IIb. Type IIa muscles share characteristics similar to Type I fibers because they have more mitochondria and capillaries than other fast-twitch fibers. As a result, Type IIa are aerobic, but can provide more powerful contractions than Type I fibers. While Type IIb fibers contract powerfully, transfer energy anaerobically, and fatigue quickly.

Maximizing Muscle Fibers
The right training will help you maximize your individual potential. In order to get your muscles to respond the way you want them to on race day, you need to train them to fire in a specific manner. When you start out, the motor units will begin recruiting slow-twitch fibers. You will heavily rely on hose fibers unless you do something such as: Increase your pace, encounter a hill/force that creates resistance, or exhaust your slow-twitch fibers.

It is likely that youl’ll rely on Type I fibers during the first half of the marathon. As Type I fibers tire, our body will start using Type IIa fibers. If trained properly, you’ll have enough leeway to use these fibers the rest of the marathon. The Hanson’s Method seeks to maximize the use of Type I and Type IIa fibers without having to resort to Type IIb fibers.

VO2 max

VO2 max stands fo “volume of oxygen uptake”. It is defined as the body’s maximum capacity to transport and utilize oxygen. If a person’s VO2 max is 50/ml/kg/min, it means that its 50 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute. The higher the number, the better.

Since blood carries oxygen to the muscles, the heart will need to be considered for VO2 max. The heart, being a muscle, can adapt to training stress the same way other muscles can. When you improve your VO2 max you will be able to pump more blood with greater force and less effort. By allowing larger amounts of blood into the bloodstream, oxygen in the blood can reach the running muscles more efficiently.

The VO2 max is the ceiling for your aerobic potential, but it’s not the determining factor of your potential performance. Other physiological benefits contribute to how well a person can run a marathon.

Although it’s not necessary to determine your VO2 max, knowing it can be a great indicator for progress. There are a number of ways to determine your VO2 max. Some of these are more expensive than others. The cheapest way to determine this is through the Balke Test, which only requires a track, a stop watch, and a calculator. The Hanson’s Method outline the Balke test in their book. For more details regarding it, I would recommend picking up a copy.

Anaerobic Threshold

Marathon training heavily relies on the aerobic system as an oxygen supplier. The anaerobic system is powerful and explosive, but since it does not use oxygen, it can only provide short speed burst before depleting energy stores. Once energy stores are depleted, lactic acid, or lactate, build up in the muscles and running ceases. While lactate has been given a bad rep for causing soreness and fatigue, it actually serves as an energy source for muscles, allowing them to go further before depleting.

Researchers have learned that the fatigue is caused by the physiological phenomenon. The real culprits are electrolytes- sodium, potassium, and calcium- which are positioned along the muscles and each have its own electrical charge that triggers contractions. If a person is training at high intensities over time, the potassium ion outside the cell will build up and will not be able to switch places with the sodium ion in the cell. This leads up fatigue and causing your body to slow down to a halt.

In fact, not only is lactate not bad for you, it plays an important role in marathon training. When running a moderate pace, the aerobic system will simultaneously process and remove lactate produced. However, when intensity increases, lactate is produced faster than your body can get rid of it. This buildup of lactate in your blood stream is known as the anaerobic threshold.

Anaerobic threshold is the best predictor for entrance performance. When a person gets closer to his/her VO2 max, blood lactate starts to accumulate. While training may raise your VO2 max a few points, it can have a significant impact on the anaerobic threshold. The Hanson’s Method advises to see how your body responds to the workouts on this plan. As a general rule the anaerobic threshold can be maintained for about an hour. Test out your pace and ask yourself, “Can I hold this for an hour straight?’ Adjust accordingly based on your response.

Aerobic Threshold

Our energy system uses fats and carbohydrates as its energy source. As a marathon runner, you want to focus on using fat as your primary energy source. Our body stores small amounts of carbohydates for quick energy, but our fat stores have a near endless source of energy. Even if you have a small body fat percentage, your system will still have enough fat for fuel. This is due to fat having twice amount of calories per gram as carbohydates. However, because the oxidation of fat is much slower than the oxidation of carbohydrates the body will look towards burning carbohydrates as when dealing with distance and intensity.

The point in which the body begins to burn carbohydrate stores, since fat cannot be burned without oxygen, is called the Aerobic Threshold. This is the reason why carbohydrates provides the majority of energy when running at faster paces. The downside of relying on glycogen stores is that you only have 2 hours worth. Once you have depleted it, you hit the infamous “wall” and slow down severely. For the marathon runner, a larger volume of fat will need to be burned. By doing Aerobic training, new enzyme activity and oxygen is introduced. Mitochrondia will become big and plentiful to oxidize fat and turned into energy. Essentially, the point of “hitting the wall” is pushed back or never reached.

Running Economy

Running economy is described how much oxygen is required to run a certain pace. Running economy depends on two components. The first depends on high training volume. While you don’t need to shell out 140 miles a week, the mileage should at least be sufficient for your event. This varies on the runner’s experience, maximum speed the runner can run, and the event the runner is training for.

The second component is speed training. When a marathon runner trains at a certain pace, s/he logically becomes more economical at that pace. It’s essential that you do not run faster than prescribed. If you are running faster than at a level you’re ready for, it can lead to being over trained, burn-out, or injured.

By understanding the physiology behind the Hanson’s Method you can see why the workouts become justified. All the aforementioned benefits can be reached through the program, to achieve your best 26.2 mile run.

The Hanson’s Marathon Method Chapter 1: Philosophy

Welcome everyone to my weekly series on The Hanson’s Method. Back in January I was preparing for my first Marathon. I was looking into training regimes and heard many great things about The Hanson’s Method. I ordered myself a copy and breezed through the book in a week. It was a very interesting read and I would recommend it to all those preparing for their first marathon.

In my entry, Week 0 Marathon Training, I mentioned I will be doing summaries of the chapters to help better learn the Hanson’s Method. To keep a long story short, it was difficult to do these summaries while also taking the time for work, school, and training. Not to mention the summaries were not always released weekly so it was difficult to refer back to them without doing a bit of digging. With that being said, I had chose to do a separate series on the Hanson’s Method.

Each week I’ll be posting a report on a chapter in the Hanson’s Method. These reports will act as a way for me to better learn the material, and to act as a better reference when I plan to run future marathons. These reports will not be a complete summary of the book, so for those who want to get the most out of the Hanson’s Method, I highly recommend picking yourself a copy of the book here.

Now, let’s dive right into the Hanson’s Method chapter 1.

The first chapter goes into the cumulative fatigue philosophy behind the Hanson’s Method. These ideas are what lay the groundwork for the Hanson’s Method. Knowing whether or not you should do the Hanson’s method is determined on if you agree with the philosophy behind it. The idea, thought up by famed coach Arthur Lydiard, is that your training should be made by cumulative fatigue. If you choose to adopt the Hanson’s Method you will be working on a repetitive training schedule that doesn’t allow for full recovery between training days.

The Hanson’s Method consists of five components. If you omit any one of these components you will limit yourself to having a successful marathon. These components consist of:



The biggest issue most marathon plans have is their design to tailor towards a runner’s wants versus their needs. Training plans will usually have most of the weekly mileage done on the weekend where a runner has more time available. This causes the higher intensity runs to be done on the weekdays, often making a runner both too tired and not properly recovered to do the easy runs. The end result is an inadequate weekly marathon mileage.
The Hanson’s Method aims to spreading out the weekly mileage throughout 6 days rather than the typical 3 day a week runs. The aim of this is not to increase intensity, rather increase the number of easy run days without overworking your body. The program starts off with a low mileage, only to increase gradually in mileage and intensity. The idea is to bring a runner up the mileage ladder one rung at a time.


Keith and Kevin Hanson emphasize the importance of keeping a pace when running. In order to follow along with the cumulative fatigue plan it’s vital not to overdo your workouts so you can reach your weekly mileage quota. For this reason, the majority of the suggested mileages should be run at a regular pace or slower. The Hanson brothers explain that you should not go over your pace as it’ll interfere with endurance training. They go on to explain that many great adaptions come from endurance training which is further explained in a later chapter. The overall point though is to assure you maintain your desired marathon pace. Easy run days make up a large percentage of your week’s training and overall physiological benefits.


The major issues a lot of training programs have is a lack of balance. Many training programs out there emphasize on long runs while the rest of the days are focused on recovering from that one workout. While long ones are a primary focus, a runner loses training, consistency, weekly volume, recovery, and intensity. This is why the Hanson’s Method presents two types of runs: easy and something of substance (SOS). By giving time and energy to not just the long run, but also the easy, tempo, strength, speed, and recovery days, you will result in being a stronger runner.


In order to retain all your physiological benefits gain from running, it’s important to stay consistent in your training. The Hanson’s describe how running 5 days a week will result in obvious improvement in fitness. However, if those days are followed by 2 weeks of running 2-3 days a week then those fitness gains will retreat. This will require two weeks of consistent training to get back on the fitness level you once were. In the end, 6-8 weeks of running is lost just to get back on the physical fitness level you were at in the third week
This is why the Hanson’s Method says do never skip a training day. If life intervenes, you should modify your training plan so you still achieve consistency. This consistency is aided by commitment. This is why you should schedule in your runs so you are much more willing to stick with it.


When it comes to cumulative fatigue, there is a fine line between training and overtraining. The Hanson’s Method’s goal is to not put you over the line, but rather as close to it as possible. The Hanson Brothers don’t employ hard work outs back to back; rather they focus on active recovery. They explain that in order for your body to deal with long-term discomfort and proper recovery it’s important to teach your muscles to adapt to training loads.
This is why a hard workout shouldn’t be followed by sitting on the couch all day. Rather it should be spent earning aerobic fitness gains. Doing so will result in burning fat and allowing your body to properly recover depleted glycogen stores. Cumulative fatigue also calls for partial recuperation. This is so your body can withstand a high running mileage while also being slightly sluggish. The Hanson’s Method’s overall goal is to teach you to handle the latter portion of the marathon by loading them with long runs. To put it simply, the training plan will stimulate you running the last 16 minutes of the marathon, not the first 16 miles.

The Hanson’s Method will get your body adapted to the stress of the program. Once you continue your progression upward the plan will increase in mileage and intensity. The last week allows your body to full recover so you are at peak performance on marathon day. Training for a marathon is not something that should be taken lightly. It will take a lot of time, and a high level of commitment. In the end though, it’ll be worth it when you cross that finishing line.

Marathon Day: Running the Minneapolis Marathon

The day had finally came. On March 31st I attempted my first marathon. After 18 of training, all the blood, sweat, and tears was finally put to the test
I was running the Minneapolis Marathon. Last year I trained to run the 2014 Minneapolis marathon. However, a thunder storm caused the race to be rained out. I call it a blessing in disguise. During my marathon training I realized I was in not prepared to run that race. My weekly mileage averaged 10-20 miles a week, I was doing a poor job carb loading, and I barely had a race plan. If I ran that race I would’ve fell hard. But now the 2015 race came and I went in feeling confident and well-trained.
Sunday morning started without a hithch. I woke up at 4:30  extremely well rested. I had all my race gear laid up the night before. This left plenty of time to gobble down my carb-filled breakfast and to force myself to use the bathroom. After reading through various marathon reports I learned it’s best to go to the bathroom as much as possible before the race.
Shortly after waking up I had my massage therapist friend stop by. I scheduled a warm-up massage session with him to help loosen up any last minute tension. After 30 minutes of work I was ready to run. I made sure to fit in one last bathroom break before heading out. I left a little before 6:00, it should’ve been ample time to get to the starting line before the race started. Unbeknowest to me, some construction sites had caused me to detour enough times to arrive late. The race started promptly at 6:30, and I was cutting it close at 6:25. I got out of the car roughly two blocks away from the starting line and I raced to the starting line. I started my race at 6:35.
I was the the last to start in the race. I knew I had to make up for lost time so my goal was to run at a moderate pace to catch up with the 9:00 min/mile racers than keep at their pace for the rest of the marathon. As I ran I started to catch up with some of the runners going at a 11:00 min/mile pace. Then I began to pass them. Soon I found myself passing by a lot more of the runners. By mile 4 I felt well energized and had passed by over a hundred runners.
This made me cocky. I gradually increased my pace as I passed runners. For the next few miles I kept a mental map of the route. Every 2 miles I was going to drink a cup of water. Every 7-8 miles I was going to have an energy gel. I was still passing by the runners effortlessly. By mile 6 I was greeted with a long stretch of hills. I slowed my pace down so I didn’t tire my Type II muscles. Thank goodness for that. I was seeing many runners keep at the same pace as they went up these hills. It wasn’t long before I, and many others, started to pass them.
The first 8 miles went by quick. I didn’t feel slightly tired and I was still passing by  runners. I felt like by now I had to have been coming close to the 9:00 min/mile runners. I decided to pace myself with another runner. I spotted a runner ahead of me wearing a bright red shirt and an orange headband. He was going at the same speed as I was so I kept close behind him. He and I were whizzing past many of the runners ahead of us. I was impressed that he and I were able to keep a solid pace even when we neared the halfway mark. However, by mile 11 I noticed he started to slow down. I had done well to keep in range of him, but now I found myself going at a lot slower of a pace than I felt I could run. I decided to run ahead of him hoping he’ll catch up with me soon. I never saw him the rest of the race.
Between miles 12-13 I was switching off between people to pace behind. Many of these runners I try to pace with would be the ones who would burst ahead of me for a short distance only to shortly lose steam and fall behind. I finally caught up with the 9:00 min/mile pacers. I felt myself going at a reasonable pace and decided to move on ahead of them. Finally I reached the halfway point. I was excited to have made it so far and not even feel tired. The last half of the marathon was a loop. We would run an extra 6.5 miles from the half way point then turn around and run 6.7 miles back to the finish line.
I felt comfortable at my pace, so I had the crazy idea to attempt negative splits. The last half was extremely hilly. I had tried to do well to slow my pace down, but even then I started to feel my muscles tire. I was approaching mile 16 and I started to slowly feel the effects of my running. It was only then I reminded myself “You are not running this as a race, you’re running this to complete it. Slow down”. I started to keep my pace slower, but I feel like it was too late. I was no longer being the passer, but the one being passed. I took another energy gel by mile 17. It did not digest well the rest of the run. I felt sluggish by mile 20, and I forced myself to take my 3rd energy gel by mile 21.
I started feeling delusional at some point in my run. By mile 21 I saw a kid try to hand out what I assumed was half eaten piece of corn. My mile 22 I referred to the guy handing out a plate of oranges as Saint Juicy. By mile 23 I realized I had been holding an empty plastic cup since mile 22. By mile 24 I settled that if I eat that last energy gel I was going to vomit.
It was a struggle to run those last 2.2 miles. Every step ran was another step I wanted to slow down and walk. However, I kept pushing myself to keep going. I kept thinking to myself the encouraging thoughts I had during my training, “It’s faster to finish if you just keep running”, “You had not stopped running so far, why start now?”, “It’s easier if you just don’t think about it”. It was tiring, but I was able to push myself run the longest 2 miles I had ever ran. I saw the finish line and I crossed it feeling overjoyed, finishing with a time of 3:47:44.
I felt like I was walking on jello, but I was too happy to care. I not only completed a marathon but I ran it’s entirety. My brother and my girlfriend greeted me shortly after. I was grateful for them to be there. I tried to scoff down some water but my body was struggling to consume anything. The next half hour felt like torture.
I had tried to make sure I stood up and stretched out. I was too tired to move, and too tired to stand. I eventually collapsed on the ground unable to feel my arms. I had to be fed my food because I couldn’t move my body. I knew something was wrong and asked my brother to get First Aid. After a short while I found myself lying down on a bed with 5 different guys asking for my name. I couldn’t remember much, I did remember the feeling of cold towels, people forcing me to drink fluids, and then waking up to the sound of “We Are The Champions” playing nearby. I eventually was given the go to leave. I hobbled down to the car eating the baggie of pretzels given to me at the finish line. They were the best damn pretzels I’ve ever had.
That puts an end to my marathon journey. At least for this year. I spent the next two weeks trying to walk normally. I admit, taking a break from running only made me anxious to run more. The 18 weeks spent running were tiring, but it felt worth it in the end.
Were there things I would want to change? Sure. I would’ve gotten to the race earlier so I could have ran at my goal pace. I felt like passing by the slower runners just drove my arrogance to run faster than I should have. I would have stretched out more during my training to avoid my knee injury. It would have allowed me to put in a lot more mileage and maybe finish a bit easier. I would’ve skipped the idea of doing negatives. I realize that just because I’m doing well the first half, doesn’t mean I’ll keep it up the second half. I would’ve also have skipped the energy gels and switch off between water and Gatorade. My need for first aid was caused by a lack of electrolytes. After I chugged a good few cups of Gatorade I started to feel normal.
Overall, I had fun. I would definitely recommend anyone who has never done it to run a marathon, and I mean RUN a marathon. My experience has caused me to push myself hard. It’s now a lot easier to quiet that voice in my head that tells me to stop going when things get tough. I have a new found confidence in myself because of it.
Marathon pic
Thank you all for reading my Marathon Training blog.  It was an exhausting journey, but  it was worth it was worth it in the end. You may have noticed that at some point I stopped posting the Hanson’s Marathon method reports on my blog. I apologize for this, but my schedule wouldn’t allow me to write a summary of the chapter so frequently. With that being said, I still plan on summarizing the chapters. Now that my marathon is finished I will be making posts that will summarize each chapter. These chapter summaries will hopefully be posted on a weekly basis. Stay tuned for any updates on this. Until then, remember to stay dedicated and train hard.

5 Run the Minneapolis Marathon ACCOMPLISHED

Bucket List
12 Run a Marathon ACCOMPLISHED

Week 18 Marathon Training: Last Stretch of the Road

Top: Miles to Run, Bottom: Miles Ran
Top: Miles to Run, Bottom: Miles Ran

This is it. After 18 weeks of training I am nearing Marathon Day. It has been quite the journey these past 18 weeks. I had taken these 18 weeks to challenge myself to go the distance. I explored many new and beautiful areas. I was able to push myself to never give up.

For those of you unfamiliar with how I planned out my program in week 0, I had to make adjustments to the Hanson’s Method’s program. In order to balance out work, classes, and training I had to begin my marathon method three days earlier. Although the last week is a taper week, the last few days are designed so the runner does not lose the benefits gained from their training while also not overexerting their muscles. This is why I decided to include running 2-3 miles on the last 3 days rather than walking.

I will be posting a full report on the marathon and my final thoughts on the Hanson’s Marathon method soon. Until then, remember to stay dedicated, and train hard.

Week 17 Marathon Training: Carb Loading

Top: Miles to Run, Bottom: Miles Ran
Top: Miles to Run, Bottom: Miles Ran

With 17 weeks down I’m nearing the last week of my marathon training. Overall, it has been a very exciting and very nerve wracking week. While I had been reading the Hanson’s Marathon Method like a bible there is one part of studying I cannot accomplish solely using the book. That part is creating a meal plan for my carb load.

The book does recommend to plan the carb loading a week below. 7 days prior I need to switch my diet so 50% of my daily calories come from carbs. When there are 3 days prior I need to start switching to  a diet where my daily calories are 70% carbs and I need to have a lower fiber intake. Than by 1-2 days prior to the marathon I need to switch to a high carb, low fiber diet, and make sure to exclude certain foods such as red meat.

This is fine and all, but this means I need to decide what to eat and when to eat it 3 days before the marathon starts. I took a lot of research into account on this. Many other carb loading meal plans were examined, and many food’s nutritional values were taken into account. In total, I had spent 5 hours creating a meal plan for carb loading. Next week’s mileage is suppose to be an easy week to not overload my muscles With only 1 week left my marathon training will come to a close. Until then, remember to stay dedicated and train hard.

Week 16 Marathon Training: Running in the Rain

Top: Miles to Run, Bottom: Miles Ran

Now that the 16th week has finished I can confidently say that I’m prepared for Mother Nature’s worst. Since the start of my marathon training I have ran in below freezing temperatures, weather with non-stop hail, and dangerously hot conditions. This week had rainfall occurring nearly every single day.

The worst of it occurred on Friday. I had previously made arrangements with my massage therapist to provide me with body work throughout the month of May. This hopefully will help relieve any tension before the big day. The issue, however, is when my massage sessions occur. On Fridays I work a full day, so my mileage is usually done during the evening. Although I’m not able to meet any other day of the week for the massage except for Friday. This means that in order to run I need to run before getting off work so my muscles do not experience any muscular damage from overworking them.

My solution was to run during my 1 hour lunch break. On week 16’s Friday, it was down pouring most of the day. This is a problem for a contact wearer, such as myself, as my eyes get super dry from the water. During the entirety of my jog I found myself running red-eyed. The soreness got bad to the point where I had to switch off between opening and closing my eyes in between mileas. Despite all the pain, I carried on. I finished mile 7 without being able to see for a good half of the run. True I was blind for a good twenty minutes after the run but I did not let mother nature beat me.

I have conquered many of obstacles mother nature has given me. The weather stands no chance of beating me down on race day. Until then, remember to stay dedicated and train hard.