{Training for Multiple Marathons Close Together}

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Some say running a marathon is crazy. Once you’ve done that your crazy meter is forever skewed and you must aspire to new levels of madness to feel the same effect. While I would never recommend running multiple marathons to a new marathoner, someone who hasn’t been running for a couple of years, or to someone without a ton of time on their feet already-for some of us we are ready to embrace the bat shit crazy phase.
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For some of us running multiple marathons can be about more bang for your buck. Why train for multiple marathons throughout the year when you could run them close together? One training cycle-multiple marathons! Wham! Done!
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For others of us running multiple marathons it is more about logistics. Wisconsin is a frozen tundra unsuitable for running marathons half the year and traveling to races costs a lot of money. Since I don’t have a money tree in my backyard, I need to find creative ways to run a marathon in every state. With that being said, these are all reasons for running a half marathon, three marathons and a 50k in two and a half months. Once I cross that finish line in Missoula, I’m taking a break from the high miles and racing…for two weeks that is. That next race is only a 10k though (again with the crazy mind distortions running a marathon created in terms of distances). Years ago only a 10k was the furthest I’d ever ran.

While I have three of the major races completed, I still have two to go. In 2010 I was disappointed with my performance at the Medtronic Marathon in Minneapolis. This brings me to yet another reason why some runners choose to run multiple marathons close together. After running a disappointing race my solution was to sign up for another race three weeks later to see if I could do better. My logic was this gave me some recovery time and the marathon served as another long run. The results-I ran a minute faster in my second race at the On the Road for Education Marathon in Mason City, Iowa. Was a minute worth it? Have you ever talked to a runner about PR’s? Well, then duh it was worth it.
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Thinking about running multiple marathons close together? Feeling a little batty? Need to save some cash? There are plans out their for running multiple marathons close together. I have followed Hal Higdon’s multiple marathoning plans and had success with feeling strong and recovered in (most) my races. While plans are great it is so important to mention when running multiple marathons close together to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! If your legs feel heavy, your are irritable and don’t feel like running, or something hurts then no plan is going to get you to the starting line of your next race. This is why rest and cross training are also key in your training. During the Med City Half Marathon my legs felt heavy and tired. The next week I traded my 10 mile run for a 30 mile bike ride. My legs got a work out, but I also gave them a break from running.

Below is the in between plan I’m loosely following to get me to the starting line in Portland and Missoula in a couple of weeks. The first week I didn’t run at all after my 50k. Simply put, I didn’t want to. My legs didn’t want to. My head didn’t want to. So I didn’t. Instead I went for a few walks and a bike ride. Then I resumed training at week 2, but listened to my body. A couple of days I went shorter than the plan said and some I went longer, but I tried to stay within a mile or two of the plan.
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Anyone else ever ran multiple races close together? These tips and suggestions will work for those of your running two half marathons or two 5k’s close together with adjustments to mileage of coures. Tips for others? Recovery and training ideas?

S & S

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or trainer. Use common sense and your own judgement when starting any training plan.

2 thoughts on “{Training for Multiple Marathons Close Together}

  1. I’m doing Fox Valley and Chicago… 3 weeks apart! I did it because I wanted the challenge. I know that most of the marathon is mental, and as long as I’m prepared and accepting of the fact that my body will get pretty battered up, I’ll get through them alive!

    • Awesome! That is exactly how far apart my first multiple marathons were. It is a challenge, but if you recover enough and train leading up to it you should be fine. I loved the Chicago Marathon! Having that as your second marathon will help, too. The crowds and the neighborhoods are seriously amazing and will pull you through no matter how your miles go. Exciting stuff!

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