A Tale of Twin Marathons

Got a question about running? You’re in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon’s Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


I have been running for the last ten years, usually about 30-40 miles per week. I ran my first full marathon in December, and I’m planning to run another two full marathons this year, one the end of April, one in December. I’m currently following your Advanced 1 marathon training plan, and I’m wondering if I need to do the full 18- week build-up for each marathon since I’m putting in the miles anyway?


Cutting corners is never a great idea, but someone with your background as a runner certainly has a lot of dodging room compared to the usual first-timer. My marathon training plans peak somewhere between 40-50 miles a week, so that’s simply normal running for you. I’m less concerned with what you do before that second marathon and more in what you do after the first one. Let me point you to my Post Marathon training programs for Novice, Intermediate and Advanced runners. They start in a Zero Week with very little running, then runners of various abilities branch off into respective four- week programs that climax with a celebratory 10-K race. After that you’re pretty much free to train as you please until you decide to point for another major race, in your case a December marathon. You could delay your retraining until two months out and jump in around Week 10, although often my programs work best—even for experienced runners–if they drop back in mileage and start at Week 1 for the full 18-week build-up.

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for'Runner's World'and author of 34 books, including the best-selling'Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that more than a quarter million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks.Hal uses'TrainingPeaks'to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans.'Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here'or on'his website.