How to Run Back-to-Back Marathons

Running a Marathon 3 to 8 Weeks After the First

If your second marathon is a little farther from your first race, but not quite far enough to put in a full training segment, you'll need to put in a short training block so you don't lose the fitness gains you acquired in the training leading up to your first race.

The first two weeks won't change from what is outlined above. You still want to focus on recovery and getting your volume back to 70 percent of your normal training mileage while turning the legs over with two moderate workouts.

Your third week between the two marathons should be a base-building week, where you bring your mileage back to 90 to 100 percent of your pre-marathon volume. In addition, you want to run two moderate workouts. My suggestion is two times 3 miles at half-marathon pace with three minutes rest, or a 5- to 6-mile tempo at 10 seconds faster than marathon pace.

More: 2 Workouts to Make Marathon Race Pace Feel Easier

During the next few weeks, you'll want to keep your volume at your normal training maximum, and start incorporating a few marathon-specific workouts and a moderate long run. I think 16 to 18 miles is a good distance to target. It's a good balance between getting the benefits of a long effort in without stressing the body too much.

During the final week before the second race, you'll want to execute a modified taper. Keep the long run at 10 to 12 miles, freshen up the legs with an easy workout, and then reduce the volume in the final four days of training. 

More: The Art of Peaking for a Race

Here is what a sample training block might look like. If you have more than six weeks between races, just repeat the first two weeks:

First two weeks the same and then starting week 3?

Monday   

Off or easy run

 Tuesday  

2 x 3 miles at half-marathon pace with 3 minutes rest

 Wednesday  

Off or easy run

 Thursday  

Easy run

 Friday  

5 to 6 miles at 10 seconds faster than marathon pace

 Saturday  

Off or easy run

 Sunday  

18-mile long run

   
 Monday  

Off or easy run

 Tuesday  

6- to 8-mile cutdown run

 Wednesday  

Off or easy run

 Thursday  

Easy run

 Friday  

6-mile alternating tempo run

 Saturday  

Off or easy run

 Sunday  

12-mile long run

   
 Monday  

Off or easy run

 Tuesday  

 3 to 4 x 1 mile at half-marathon pace with 60 seconds recovery 

 Wednesday  

Off or easy run

 Thursday  

Easy run

 Friday  

Easy run

 Saturday  

Short 15-minute shakeout

 Sunday  

Race Marathon 2

Running two marathons close together is a daunting task for even the most seasoned runner. By ensuring proper recovery and balancing your training in the weeks after your first race, you'll dramatically increase your chances of success at your second race. Good luck and have fun!

More: 5 Strategies to Nail Back-to-Back Races

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