Eat Pray Run DC: How To Run Back To Back Races

Courtney shares the right way to run a redemption race.


This past weekend, I became a Marathon Maniac. Not technically (because I haven’t sent in my information yet), but I am now eligible to join the group of crazies who run marathons for fun. I’m able to join this group because last weekend, I ran my fourth marathon — just 14 days after I ran my third. I never really planned on running two marathons in two weeks, but it turned out well for me. (Note: my fellow Women’s Running blogger Michelle, who blogs at NYC Running Mama, encouraged me that I could do it. I thought I would share my tips on running back to back races.

  • The most important thing I recommend is not “racing” both races. What do I mean by this? If you are running two marathons in two weeks, both of them can’t be your “A” goal races. If you are planning to race back to back marathons (or half marathons, etc.), then designate one of them as the race in which you’ll really push the pace, and use the other as a training run. Running 26.2 miles hard within a few weeks is probably not a good idea.
  • Come up with a training plan for the time between races. I didn’t decide to race this past weekend’s marathon until a week ago, but I structured my training and recovery from Richmond (November 15) to be prepared in the event I decided to run it. I did a reverse taper and ran 3-6 miles four times in the 14 days I had in between races. More importantly, I rested well, got in some cross training (walking and barre classes) and I tried to hydrate very well.
  • Come up with realistic goals. This is especially important if your second race is a “redemption” race to make up for a disappointing race/DNF (did not finish)/etc. at your first race. If you weren’t planning on running two races in a short time, you may need to adjust your goals. For me, I wanted to run a race that was more in line with my training. I knew that my original goal probably wouldn’t happen but I felt I could PR – and I did!
  • Get some support! As I mentioned above, I chatted with Michelle about running two races in two weeks, and she was supportive. I also chatted with some other runner friends. The general consensus was you can do it if you’re smart about it. I highly recommend talking to someone who has done this just to bounce questions off of them. Running two marathons in two weeks is something that most of my friends and family think is insane, so I knew I needed perspective from other crazy runners!

So, how’d my redemption marathon go? Great! I ran strong, got a personal record by 21 minutes and finished happy, with a huge smile on my face. I’m glad I went for it, and I wouldn’t rule out doing it again.

Have you ever run back to back marathons? Tweet @eatprayrundc and @womensrunning to tell us about it!