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There are many reasons why someone might want to run consecutive races. Maybe all the cancellations and postponements of 2020 condensed your race schedule more than you originally planned. Maybe opportunities came up that you couldn’t say no to. Or maybe you just want to test your physical limits with a new challenge.
As Shalane Flanagan just proved in her Project Eclipse where she ran 6 marathons in 42 days, running back-to-back races can be done without injury if you take all the necessary precautions in your training. But what if you don’t have the time and resources of a world class athlete like her?
Starting with a more manageable distance like half marathons can be one way to test how your body will react to the stress and where you need to adjust before doubling up on 26.2s. If you are new to running, doubling up on any distance might not be right for you as you’re more likely to become injured than someone who has been running longer and has a more developed muscular system. Even if you feel like your cardiovascular system can do it, your musculature might not be ready to take on the strain.
But racing frequently can take a toll on your body no matter who you are or how long you’ve been running. That’s especially true if you’re giving a PR effort every time. It will be important to prioritize recovery, listen to your body, and temper your pace. If you’re able to do those things and proceed carefully, you can absolutely parlay the training from one half marathon into the next.
Recovering Between Half Marathons
Follow this schedule to make sure you’re allowing enough recovery time between your races. This schedule is a conservative approach to racing two half marathons two weeks apart:
- Sunday: Half marathon #1
- Monday: Full rest day with foam rolling. Wear compression gear.
- Tuesday: Full rest day with foam rolling.
- Wednesday: Easy 20 min run.
- Thursday: Full rest day with foam rolling.
- Friday: Easy 25 minute run.
- Saturday: Easy 30 minute run.
- Sunday: Easy 45-50 minute run.
- Monday: Rest or yoga. Add-on stretching and foam rolling.
- Tuesday: Easy 45 minute run.
- Wednesday: Full rest day with foam rolling.
- Thursday: Easy 35-40 minute run.
- Friday: Easy 30 minute run and 6 x 100m strides
- Saturday: Easy 2.5 mile run.
- Sunday: Half marathon #2
To make the training process and the recovery weeks in between feel more fun and rewarding, think about the first race as a warm up for the second and the second as a victory lap after the first.