Hey everyone! This week on Runs on Espresso I am still talking about marathons. I share the two books I read to prep myself for my third attempt. 



As I said in the intro, I read two books to get ready for this third and final marathon attempt. I figure if I don’t finish it this time I will give up and move on. A friend recommended Hansons Marathon Method and while I was on Amazon I also saw Hansons First Marathon so I grabbed that one too.

I read Hansons Marathon method first. The books are written by Luke Humphrey with Keith and Kevin Hanson. Luke was an athlete trained by the Hansons and now coaches athletes in Flagstaff. He gives his background and info in the forward, preface, and intro. 

It is broken into three parts: the approach, the program, and the strategy. Each part has several chapters. I won’t go into detail about each chapter otherwise this would be a super long podcast and I don’t want to bore you to tears. 

There is a lot of information in all three parts. The approach discusses the Hansons philosophy and the physiology of running. It’s a lot of science but Humphrey breaks it down into pretty easy-to-understand info. There are lots of graphs to break it down for you. 

The program section is just as it sounds, the training plans. Of course, there is a ton of information on how the plans work with guidelines on what paces you should hit for each type of workout. There are three plans in this book, Just Finish, Beginner, and Advanced. There is also info on modifying the plans.

Lastly, part three is the strategy. This covers goals, crosstraining, warmups/cooldowns, hydration and nutrition, recovery, gear, and race tactics. So basically all the other stuff. 

Now, First Marathon is very similar. I was able to skim a lot of this one as it was repeated from Marathon Method. It has a before you begin and a why section before it gets into the programs and strategy. These sections kind of guide you through getting started. 

The main difference in the two books is the training plans. The First Marathon starts with a couch to marathon plan. It starts with a 0-5k plan for 8 weeks then goes into the From Scratch 18 week marathon plan. You can start with either of these depending where you are in your running career. I started with the From Scratch before switching to the Just Finish plan. Then you get the Just Finish plan, an advanced first timer plan, and an express plan which is 12 weeks. 

 The next big chunk of the book is very much like Marathon Method again but then it goes into navigating the last six weeks, race day, and after the race. There’s a lot of helpful info in there about how you may feel leading up to the race. There’s a helpful checklist with gear that a first time racer may forget or not think of. 

So that is a quick breakdown of the two books. Let’s take a quick ad-break and then I will give you my thoughts on the books.



My thoughts

You don’t need both. They are very similar but the First Marathon books have some different plans. You can’t go wrong with either book. But whichever one you choose, you need to read everything. You won’t understand the program if you don’t read the approach.

I suggest heading to your local bookstore and flipping through each book. You can review the plans in each and decide which book is better for you. I looked through all the plans in both books before selecting the one I started with. I think I would have continued with it had it not been an extra hot and miserable summer in Phoenix. 

Personally, I like the plans better in the First Marathon and would use them again even though it wouldn’t be my first. Hopefully. I could see why other people may prefer Marathon Method. Personally, I liked the First Marathon better and even if it wasn’t my first I would probably use it as a resource. 

I definitely flagged a few pages in both books and referenced them at different points during my training. I guess we will see how well both books work on 10/10 haha


Well, for coffee corner I’ve got a few things going on. I’m on the search for a running coach. I had a call this past week and another one next week. I think I reached out to seven total and am seeing who seems like the right fit. So far, most of them seem great so I think it will be a hard decision!

I was glutened again this month. I have been glutened twice this year and before that, it’s been years. Like five years. And both places have been restaurants I’ve eaten at safely since 2015. I don’t know if it’s staff shortage and not training new people properly on cross-contamination or what. But it sucks. I never know what immune response I’ll have or how long it will last. So to say celiac disease is well controlled on a gluten-free diet is true to a point. And some of us can’t eat at home for every single meal. And to think we should have to is ridiculous. We want to have a night off from making dinner or be able to go out and do things like dinner and a baseball game or movie or travel. Eating at home just isn’t feasible for every meal.

Speaking of baseball, thank god that is finally over. The Dbacks were awful this year. And they finish just in time for use to head into a horrible hockey season from the Coyotes. We will actually be heading to the first pre-season game this week.

Ok, what have I been watching? I finally started season five of Bates Motel. It’s definitely taken on a twist. It’s a little… strange for lack of a better word. I don’t want to give too much away.

What have I been reading? Still working through The Artists Way. Hopefully, I can finish it by the end of this month. Either way, October is always my spooky book month! Every October I pick four ghost or other scary books I already own to read in honor of Halloween. Since I’m finishing up Bates Motel I think one of my books will be Psycho. I made a list with about 15 options. Hannibal is also high on the list.  

What are you watching, reading, doing lately?


And that’s all for this week. Next month’s podcast will probably be a virtual marathon wrap-up and thoughts along with how the coaching search went.

If you enjoyed this podcast, be sure to give it a follow. New episodes will air monthly on the last Monday of the month. I plan to keep this schedule for a while since I have so many other things going on. In the meantime, you can find me on Youtube, Twitter, and TikTok at runs on espresso and Instagram at runs_on_espresso.

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Until next month, I hope your runs are as strong as your coffee!

Categories: Podcast


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.