Sometimes that “Register Now” button just jumps out at us before we really sit down and look at a calendar. After, you realize you have two marathons on the books with just a few weeks (or less) between. Then, you think, “how can I possibly train for both?”
That is the situation I have found myself and two of my running partners in as we just wrapped up the Shamrock Marathon on March 18 and are prepping for Boston on April 16. Four weeks. Yikes.
For all three of us, Boston is the race we placed higher on the priority list. I took the Shamrock Marathon relatively easy as did my friends, each of them pacing another runner to a Boston Qualifying time for 2019. But 26.2 miles is not an easy run regardless of the pace.
So how do you recover from one long race and still prepare for the next?
The key to training in between the two races is to not overdo it. It is just as much psychological as it is physical to successfully recover from one race and prepare for the next. Mix in plenty of rest and lower mileage/effort in the first and last week of the time between the races. The first week will be a recovery week, the last a taper. If you are used to doing long runs on the weekends, continue those setting a time goal as opposed to a mileage goal. We are doing around two hour runs on the weekends to maintain our aerobic fitness leading up to this goal race. Very little of these runs will be run at race pace. You can also mix in smaller distance races to keep that competitive edge in between (like the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler – can you tell we have trigger fingers?).
During the weekday runs, we are doing one or two days of short speed work, similar to what we did leading up to the first marathon. The other days are easy recovery runs. The key is consistency. Don’t try anything new between these two races. If you weren’t hitting the gym to lift weights on your easy days, don’t start now. If you hadn’t run a new speed workout that you are intrigued by, wait until after the marathon (after you recover!) to try.
I know I want to run every race I see pop up. If your legs and wallet can handle it, go for it! But if you really want to hit your goals, it may take a little bit of planning and patience.