How to Prepare for a Back-Up Race

By now, you've probably returned from this year's cancelled NYC Marathon in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. While many marathon hopefuls found alternative plans this past Sunday, most of you are probably searching for a plan B race two to four weeks from now. (Still searching? See our list of Alternate Races for Deferred NYC Marathoners.) If you've already tapered for New York, the key is to do enough to maintain your fitness, but not so much that you leave yourself tired on race day. 

The shorter the time period, the less volume you'll need to run. In other words, for a race two weeks out, it may be tempting to squeeze in a 20 miler to ease your mind, but a shorter long run will do the trick. Read on for more training strategies to help bridge the gap to your plan B marathon.

If the marathon is two weeks out:

Week One:
Monday: Easy run 45 minutes
Tuesday: Cross-Train 30-40 minutes
Wednesday: Tempo Run (eg. 15-20 min plus warm up and cool down)
Thursday: Cross-Train 30-40 minutes
Friday: Easy run 40 minutes
Saturday: Long Run – 10-12 miles
Sunday: Rest

Week Two: Race Week (follow your normal taper week)
Monday: Easy run 40 minutes
Tuesday: Cross-Train 30 minutes
Wednesday: Easy run 30 minutes with 4-6 3-second pick ups
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy run 30 minutes
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Marathon

Don't let your plan B marathon performance suffer from these worst race-day disasters

If the marathon is three weeks out:

Week One: 
Monday: Easy run 50-60 minutes
Tuesday: Cross-Train 40-45 minutes
Wednesday: Tempo Run (eg. 20 min plus warm up and cool down)
Thursday: Cross-Train 40-45 minutes
Friday: Easy run 40 minutes
Saturday: Long Run – 12-14 miles
Sunday: Rest

Week Two:
Monday: Easy run 45 minutes
Tuesday: Cross-Train 30-40 minutes
Wednesday: Tempo Run (eg. 15-20 min plus warm up and cool down)
Thursday: Cross-Train 30-40 minutes
Friday: Easy run 40 minutes
Saturday: Long Run – 8-10 miles
Sunday: Rest

More: How to Create a Flexible Marathon Race Plan

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