Back to Back Marathoning while trying to PR!

Back to Back Marathoning while trying to PR!

Happy Thanksgiving week!! I’m enjoying a week home with all the kiddos and a more relaxed schedule.  Let’s just say we had quite a few Thanksgiving/ Pilgrim & Native American events last week.   I’m very thankful for a quiet week home because I know the next few weeks leading up to Christmas are going to be busy!

Hangin with my boys
Lunch with my girls

Marathon recovery this time around has gone very well.  After Springfield I took 5 days completely off and then had a few days of easy running.  Then my coach had me jump right back into training.  It’s now been three weeks and I am feeling fully recovered and ready to focus on St. Judes!  My body is feeling good and I’m starting to believe that going sub 3 is possible this time.  I know I have it in me. 

Is it possible to PR on the second of back to back marathons?  Absolutely! I think a lot of it has to do with the race course (of both marathons!) and especially the time between marathons but it can be done.  I actually prefer to run them this way.

Here’s a little breakdown of my back to back marathon history:

7 Weeks Between:
Jan. 2012- Houston Marathon- 3:19:18
Mar. 2012- Little Rock Marathon- 3:15:17

4 Weeks Between:
Nov. 2012- Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Marathon- 3:11:20
Dec. 2012- Memphis Marathon- 3:09:17

6 Weeks Between:
Mar. 2013- Little Rock Marathon- 3:07:11
Apr. 2013- Boston Marathon- 3:03:51

5 Weeks Between:
Nov. 2013- Springfield Marathon- 3:02:40
Dec. 2013- Memphis Marathon- ?? We’ll find out in 10 days!

As you can see I’ve never been brave enough to run what many would consider “real” back to back marathons.  The closest I’ve ever done was 27 days and to be honest that was too close for comfort!  Maybe someday my racing goals will be different but for now I like at least 1+ month cushion between.

Here are a few tips I came up with for those crazy enough to attempt to PR with back to back marathons:

1.  After marathon #1- REST! Listen to your body.  Personally, I like to take 5-7 days off completely after a marathon.  Some marathons require a little more recovery than others.  I love the Little Rock Marathon but that beast always takes it out of me and I need a solid 7 days before I even attempt to run again. 

2.  Set a realistic mini training plan.  A lot of your training for this “mini cycle” will depend on how many weeks you have.  If you are unsure what plan to follow I would strongly recommend reading chapter 12, “Multiple Marathoning” from Pete Pfitznger’s Advanced Marathoning.  Yes, I know I refer to this book often but it really is my all time favorite running book!  In this chapter Pete gives different training plans for marathons ranging from 4-12 weeks apart.

3. Relax.  Remind yourself that you’ve done this before so you know what you need to do.  Running is just as much mental as it is physical.  I like to remind myself before my second marathon in a back to back series that I know what to expect.  I know what my goal pace feels like- I’ve raced it recently.  I tell myself that the first race was really a dress rehearsal for this one.

Any other back to back marathoners out there?  If you have any other tips I would LOVE to hear them!  Ten days until the St. Judes Memphis Marathon!

5 thoughts on “Back to Back Marathoning while trying to PR!

    1. I’m so ready for you to get back into marathoning! And I know you are way more ready than me. 🙂 Hoping you are on your way to a full and speedy recovery!!

  1. I was going to say I hadn’t done this and then I realised the three ultras I did this summer were all in the space of two months! It’s hard to say how the times compared since they were all trail and the terrain varied enormously but it shows it can be done. I’m interested in the training between races though as this is something that I struggle to get right. I may have to check out that book!

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