How to Run Back to Back half marathons

Why would I sign up for back to back half marathons anyway? Traveling to run a half marathon in each state is challenging to coordinate, so if I can get lucky and run two touching states back to back, I’ll accept the challenge! So how do you go about training for back to back half marathons? Here’s are 5 strategies to help you succeed!

Running back to back half marathons with Vacation Races in Grand Tetons, WY and Yellowstone, MT

1) Try it out beforehand!

You’ve been adding mileage each week, so you know how your body responds to your long runs.  How long does it take you to recover from your long run? Are you able to get back on the roads the next day, or does it take a week or more feel ready to go? One way to know you’ll succeed is practice. Plan to run 10-12 miles back to back halfway through your training schedule, which gives enough time to rest before race days.

2) Focus on Recovery and Stretching

I’ve avoided stretching for many years, thinking “I don’t have enough time to stretch”.  I was already spending so much time to get my long run in that I didn’t prioritize recovery; this was a huge mistake that can lead to injury. Spend the extra 5 minutes for a cool down to stretch the body you just worked so hard. I’ve heard this recommendation for many years and avoided it, but I now support this effort too, get a foam roller! It hurts so good.

3) Make the second half marathon leisurely

Accomplishing back to back half marathons is a Huge accomplishment, just focus on finishing.  There are many opportunities for a PR for speed in the journey of running a half marathon in every state, running back to back half marathons is probably not that opportunity. Enjoy both runs at a comfortable pace, enjoy the scenery and congratulate yourself for this unique personal record of back to back mileage. 

4) Keep Nutrition consistent

I’m not one to use gels during my long runs. That might be quite contrary to what you hear supported throughout most of the running community, but that’s what works for me.  So I definitely shouldn’t try to add a gel on race day. This seems pretty logical, but if you have a banana and eggs before your long run at home, you should plan the same for race day.  Even if this means you’re packing special foods to travel with.  I don’t usually eat in the morning before a run because I’ve trained my body to run off my high fat, low carb diet. My body is well prepared for a long run, even when I’m fasting. (Did you know the fat our bodies carry around provides a higher energy source than any gels?) I start my morning with a cup of chai tea and collagen protein powder, what I like to call my “Pro-tea”. Get it, Protein :). So I ALWAYS pack my sweet and spicy tea, and Vital Proteins collagen powder for my travels.

5) Cross Train- this is my favorite part!

I run for all the physical and mental benefits- better sleep, lower blood pressure, etc. but I can’t say I particulary enjoy the time spent running.  Given it is a good opportunity for me to appreciate life, I’d still rather be sitting on the couch watching a good film haha. So I appreciate cross training days. Strength days make me stronger, obvi. Yoga days make me a tad bit more flexible, not much though- I’m still inflexible. Swimming makes me focus on my breath, and strengthens my legs and arms. Rowing is a full body workout that makes me feel like an ivy league college rower. Point is, schedule cross training days and enjoy them!

Incorporate a few of these techniques into your Half Marathon training plan, and you’re sure to complete back to back half’s!

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