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Running For The Hansons: An Insider's Account of The Brooks-Sponsored Marathon Training Group Made Famous by Olympian Brian Sell

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Running For The Hansons offers the reader a glimpse of what it is like to be a professional distance runner, to run in a major sponsors shoes, and to live a lifestyle structured around training and racing. It is a first-hand, exclusive account that delves into the elations, the disappointments and the re-discoveries of what it takes to be an elite, American distance runner Running For The Hansons offers the reader a glimpse of what it is like to be a professional distance runner, to run in a major sponsors shoes, and to live a lifestyle structured around training and racing. It is a first-hand, exclusive account that delves into the elations, the disappointments and the re-discoveries of what it takes to be an elite, American distance runner. The story provides a framework of The Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, a post-collegiate marathon-focused training group based in Michigan that was made famous by the progression of 2008 US Olympian Brian Sell. Runners of all ages and abilities will quickly recognize that the thought processes of such athletes mentioned in the story can be applied to their own running. The mega-mileage, 140-mile weeks and puke-inducing workouts and races that are discussed in the book are relative extensions from the challenges that any high school team, college cross-country team or marathon-training group must learn to conquer together. As a collective whole, the sacrifice and commitment of each individual yields a camaraderie, synergy and motivation for the entire group to break through pre-conceived barriers (which are the very efforts demanded to achieve new personal bests!). This is a story about dreaming big, following your heart and taking risks. It is a story of triumphs, disappointments, and how one may find meaning and purpose in life through a simple passion for running. Included in the contents are informative sections about training, racing, and what it takes to become one of the best marathon runners in the country.


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Running For The Hansons offers the reader a glimpse of what it is like to be a professional distance runner, to run in a major sponsors shoes, and to live a lifestyle structured around training and racing. It is a first-hand, exclusive account that delves into the elations, the disappointments and the re-discoveries of what it takes to be an elite, American distance runner Running For The Hansons offers the reader a glimpse of what it is like to be a professional distance runner, to run in a major sponsors shoes, and to live a lifestyle structured around training and racing. It is a first-hand, exclusive account that delves into the elations, the disappointments and the re-discoveries of what it takes to be an elite, American distance runner. The story provides a framework of The Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, a post-collegiate marathon-focused training group based in Michigan that was made famous by the progression of 2008 US Olympian Brian Sell. Runners of all ages and abilities will quickly recognize that the thought processes of such athletes mentioned in the story can be applied to their own running. The mega-mileage, 140-mile weeks and puke-inducing workouts and races that are discussed in the book are relative extensions from the challenges that any high school team, college cross-country team or marathon-training group must learn to conquer together. As a collective whole, the sacrifice and commitment of each individual yields a camaraderie, synergy and motivation for the entire group to break through pre-conceived barriers (which are the very efforts demanded to achieve new personal bests!). This is a story about dreaming big, following your heart and taking risks. It is a story of triumphs, disappointments, and how one may find meaning and purpose in life through a simple passion for running. Included in the contents are informative sections about training, racing, and what it takes to become one of the best marathon runners in the country.

30 review for Running For The Hansons: An Insider's Account of The Brooks-Sponsored Marathon Training Group Made Famous by Olympian Brian Sell

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt Lieberman

    As the spartan, MS-Paint-esque cover might suggest, Sage Canaday's Running For the Hansons is a largely low-budget and unpolished affair. I even almost broke the book's binding the first time I opened the poor thing. It was edited by one of his teammates and is rife with spelling errors, excessive punctuation marks! and the prose is not always at a level above that of a LetsRun.com message board post. All that being said, I found the book to be an incredibly fascinating read that provided substa As the spartan, MS-Paint-esque cover might suggest, Sage Canaday's Running For the Hansons is a largely low-budget and unpolished affair. I even almost broke the book's binding the first time I opened the poor thing. It was edited by one of his teammates and is rife with spelling errors, excessive punctuation marks! and the prose is not always at a level above that of a LetsRun.com message board post. All that being said, I found the book to be an incredibly fascinating read that provided substantive insights into elite professional running programs and their training philosophies. As far as non-instructional nonfiction running books are concerned, I would honestly put it slightly behind Chris Lear's Running With the Buffaloes as my favorite of the genre in terms of pure entertainment value. I can't heartily recommend it to the general runner or reader, but if you fall into his rather niche audience you really owe it to yourself to give this a read. The book is structured in a series of diary/blog entries that cover Canaday's first year in the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. The program is led by Kevin and Keith Hanson, two brothers who run several running stores in the Detroit area in addition to their coaching duties. It is on a slightly lower tier than groups like Nike's Oregon Track Project but still boasts a roster of impressive athletes such as the Olympian Brian Sell and Desiree Davila. Canaday is coming off a decent college career at Cornell and decided to defer a "proper" career to take a shot at running professionally. Looking to qualify for the Olympic marathon trials, he is given an extensive training program culminating in running the Boston Marathon. Canaday covers a wide variety of topics in the book. Many of his entries deal with his workout and the progress of his training, but he also diverges to topics like the history of the program, a typical day in the life of a Hansons runner, and profiles of some of his fellow runners. As an actual member of the team, Canaday has tons of access to the rest of the Hansons Project (the male ones anyway. The team has rather stringent regulations on commingling of the sexes) and he gets to pick his teammates' brains about their approach to running as well. He is really pretty comprehensive in describing the life of a professional runner. There aren't many areas that I wish he spent some or more time on, and additionally I don't think he spent too much time on one particular subject either. He is refreshingly candid in describing his experiences with the Hansons. While he stayed an additional year after publishing the book, Canaday is not always completely satisfied with the lifestyle of a professional runner and makes this point known several times in the book. Canaday doesn't mesh particularly well with Michigan's more conservative culture and the countless miles prescribed by his coaches. Some of his pontificating can get a bit grating at times but it is generally kept under control. And while he doesn't have any real axes to grind (he ultimately seems pretty content with his situation all things considered) he does have some products to shill. As a sponsored athlete, Canaday's prose is peppered with references to his various Brooks training gear. Some readers might find this annoying but it didn't really bother me too much, especially since he just mentions his apparel rather than devoting countless pages extolling its virtues and why it is superior to all other brands. There is a good bit of meat to the portions on his running and training. While I think a book like Hansons Marathon Method will be more informative in outlining the brothers' training philosophy, Running for the Hansons provides some insight into the brothers' views on training. I knew that the Hansons recommend shorter long runs than some other marathon plans, and learned that the reasoning behind it is that the program stressed cumulative fatigue built up from previous days more than other training plans. Canaday includes plenty of detail about his training and his coaches' elaborate plans to prepare him for Boston. And while Canaday is not always the most cogent or skilled writer, his passages describing the intensity of races and workouts stood out to me. In Sum I am far more forgiving to the spelling errors and wonky writing found in Running for the Hansons because the book ultimately offers an incredibly desirable (to me anyway) unique selling proposition: a comprehensive behind-the-scenes account of the life of a professional marathon runner. He is writing from a pretty rare perspective and its not like this literary market is particularly crowded. While it is a bit messy and unrefined and has little to offer the average reader, if you are the kind of person who peruses LetsRun.com, runs marathons and follows those who do so professionally, and knows who Sage Canaday is, you really owe it to yourself to pick up Running for the Hansons for the sheer entertainment value it will offer to you. 8/10

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    Blog-like entries (in one case he even admits he's reprinting a long-ish entry from a blog on flotrack) from the author's training with the Hansons, focused especially on the season leading up to 2010 Boston Marathon. Sell's career was on the downswing by the time the author got there, and the men's and women's teams live separately, mostly train separately, and are forbidden to socialize apart from the coaches (perhaps one of the reasons they have a lot of personnel turnover), so you don't get Blog-like entries (in one case he even admits he's reprinting a long-ish entry from a blog on flotrack) from the author's training with the Hansons, focused especially on the season leading up to 2010 Boston Marathon. Sell's career was on the downswing by the time the author got there, and the men's and women's teams live separately, mostly train separately, and are forbidden to socialize apart from the coaches (perhaps one of the reasons they have a lot of personnel turnover), so you don't get a whole lot of insight on their other Olympian, Desi Davila. Author is an ok writer and seems like a nice guy, but as he himself acknowledges and laments, the day-to-day isn't that interesting. Working at the running store has the ups and downs anyone who has ever worked with the general public already knows, and aside from a few key workouts he covers well the day to day training is often a group "easy" run that becomes a competitive progression run. He worries a little that they run the easy days too hard, but never seems to question too much whether anything can be done about it, as the coaches seem to go along with it. Sure enough, his performance in the climactic race of the book is disappointing, and slower than he'd run in college, and a postscript indicates he did better in the next marathon on a hotter day by slowing down the easy runs. Since this is one nugget preached endlessly by his college coach, I'm not sure why that took so long to figure out, but I guess you get caught up in the competitive battles with other young guys in a group-living/group-training situation. Some good stuff on his doubts at times about whether the sacrifices (earning potential, social life) are worth it. Probably have to be a pretty enthusiastic fan of running to get into it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Koji Kawano

    Having read Ryan Hall’s Running With Joy, I gained some understanding about the life of elite marathon runners. It’s not glamorous as you might think, and they are not at nowhere near the same level as those professionals from tennis, golf, football, etc.. Rather, it’s very humbling – run a lot, eat carb-intensive meals, get some rest, repeat. Every day. When I came across with this book, Running For The Hansons, I expected the same but thought there might be something more about team training. Having read Ryan Hall’s Running With Joy, I gained some understanding about the life of elite marathon runners. It’s not glamorous as you might think, and they are not at nowhere near the same level as those professionals from tennis, golf, football, etc.. Rather, it’s very humbling – run a lot, eat carb-intensive meals, get some rest, repeat. Every day. When I came across with this book, Running For The Hansons, I expected the same but thought there might be something more about team training. I knew about Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Olympian Brian Sell and Olympian-to-be in London Desi Davila are from the team. So, I gave it a read and it was interesting and fast read. Read more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alina

    This book supports my view that you have to enjoy books for what they are, and that (almost) every book has its own right time and place. So yes, this is no Shakespeare. Its not a Plimpton or Halbersteim (what it should more properly be compared to in that regard?) but it IS an thoroughly enjoyable view into the life of a Hansons' runner. As someone with a vested interest in the team/distance running in general, I found it really neat to see into a team member's daily life (so not all elite athl This book supports my view that you have to enjoy books for what they are, and that (almost) every book has its own right time and place. So yes, this is no Shakespeare. Its not a Plimpton or Halbersteim (what it should more properly be compared to in that regard?) but it IS an thoroughly enjoyable view into the life of a Hansons' runner. As someone with a vested interest in the team/distance running in general, I found it really neat to see into a team member's daily life (so not all elite athletes looove stretching and drills? They eat pizza and drink beer and are (gasp!) normal?). It was also good motivation for me, as someone who (albeit on a MUCH smaller scale) is going to have to adjust to the working+running combo, to suck it up and get the miles in!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Terzah

    I'd recommend this book only to hard-core runners with an interest in how those who are talented enough to make a career of it live day-to-day. Canaday is an appealing narrator--despite his obvious youth, he's a truth-teller (distance runners pay for their rare triumphs with lots of tedium, and often fall short of their goals; it's not all breezy trail runs with the wind in your hair and joy in your heart)--but this book (like Running With the Buffaloes) could have used an editor. It reads like I'd recommend this book only to hard-core runners with an interest in how those who are talented enough to make a career of it live day-to-day. Canaday is an appealing narrator--despite his obvious youth, he's a truth-teller (distance runners pay for their rare triumphs with lots of tedium, and often fall short of their goals; it's not all breezy trail runs with the wind in your hair and joy in your heart)--but this book (like Running With the Buffaloes) could have used an editor. It reads like someone's blog or journal, and for that reason I frequently had to set it aside and come back to it later.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Heather Durick

    Journal style account of marathon training with Brooks Hanson group. A good one for run junkies. Really liked the detail on the training and what it was like in the program. I wished the book would have gone more into depth with Sage's races as those parts of the book were the most interesting and entertaining. Also wished that it had an addendum so we could follow to see how he did finally get that time that he wanted and his decision making as he transitioned to MUT running. Journal style account of marathon training with Brooks Hanson group. A good one for run junkies. Really liked the detail on the training and what it was like in the program. I wished the book would have gone more into depth with Sage's races as those parts of the book were the most interesting and entertaining. Also wished that it had an addendum so we could follow to see how he did finally get that time that he wanted and his decision making as he transitioned to MUT running.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Thebestdogmom

    Nice book, especially for local folks.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sanjiv

    I really like this book. In the trenches look at professional running

  9. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    Intriguing book about male marathon runners training for their chance to make the Olympic team.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex Poulsen

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  12. 4 out of 5

    Yosef Camire

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bill Pennie

  14. 4 out of 5

    José

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Manizza

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  17. 4 out of 5

    Neno Bellinotti

  18. 5 out of 5

    Buck

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rob Murphy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kim Robert Blix

  21. 4 out of 5

    neil duff

  22. 4 out of 5

    Philip

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ross

  24. 5 out of 5

    Derek

  25. 5 out of 5

    Veneziani Roberto

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chrystelle

  27. 4 out of 5

    Douglas P

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael D

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rico Luna

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Kestrel

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