Hal Higdon: Multiple Marathons (2 weeks between)

Average Weekly Training Hours 02:20
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 02:20
Training Load By Week

Hal Higdon: Multiple Marathons (2 weeks between): This two-week Multiple Marathons training program, bridging the gap between two marathons, is only for the hard core: experienced runners who are well trained, who are able to recover rapidly. Each day I will send you an email telling you what to run and also offering training tips. For more information, look for the Multiple Marathons file on my website: halhigdon.com.

Sample Day 3

With only two weeks between marathons, you really don't have time to train. Focus instead on recovery. Maintain the same high-carbohydrate diet between marathons 1 and 2 that you did before the first. It's a good idea to schedule a massage 48 to 72 hours after the first marathon.

Sample Day 4

You may want to do as much walking as running in the workouts between marathons. Just because I suggest today that you run 3 miles in a half hour, that does not mean you can't substitute walking at least for some of the running. Regardless of what you do during these two weeks, you are not going to improve your fitness.

Sample Day 6

The 6-mile run suggested for today very definitely should not be fast. In fact, you might want to leave your watch at home when you head out the door to run. Despite your hard effort last weekend, you should be able to cover a half dozen miles today as long as you don't push the pace. In fact, most of my 5-week marathon recovery programs have a run of this distance scheduled the weekend after the big race.

Sample Day 7

Well, you are a long distance runner. And I assume you are not a newbie if you scheduled two marathons in this short a time. So it's not unreasonable to tell you to go for a long run today. But I don't want to prescribe miles; I would rather prescribe time. Make today's long run 90 to 120 minutes. Two hours max! I really don't care how far you run during that timespan.

Let your body dictate whether you want to spend that time running, walking, cross-training or just lying in front of a TV set.

Sample Day 9

A day of rest yesterday, and you are ready to begin your 1-week taper for this weekend's race. Although I'm not sure taper is a word we can use conveniently in this program for 2nd-Time marathoners. The entire two weeks might be considered a single taper between two races. Run 4 miles today at an easy pace.

Sample Day 10

A survey of V-Teamers reveals that many run two or three marathons a year. They succeed by maintaining a training base near 25 miles a week year-round, which allows them to ramp up to 50 weekly miles during any marathon build-up. My training programs run 18 weeks. Do the arithmetic (3 x 18 = 54), and it does become possible to squeeze three marathons into a single year, 52 weeks.
But there are probably more efficient ways to run multiple marathons, particularly since you don't have to back all the way down to the first (low-mileage) week each time you set your sights on a 26-mile race.

Sample Day 13

In this 2-week program to get you from one marathon to the next, six of the 14 days are rest days--because in such a short time you need rest more than training to improve. But you do need to run a few miles, if only to keep yourself psychologically tuned to your next race. Usually before any marathon, I like to run a couple of very easy miles on the Saturday before a Sunday race. And maybe stop in the middle of the run to do a few strides, say: 3 x 100 meters at marathon race pace.

Hal Higdon
Hal Higdon Communications

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).