Let me just preface this post with this statement. I am in no way recommending that you do back to back marathons two weeks apart or even just back to back marathons. I do know however that there are many runners out there just like me who throw caution to the wind as they say and enjoy running more than one marathon each training season. If you are like me and just can not bring yourself to ONLY do just one marathon then here is what my running weeks look like in between Columbus Marathon and Marine Corps Marathon.

Sunday – 26.2 miles – Columbus Marathon

Monday – rest – no running, cross training or lifting

Tuesday – rest – no running, cross training or lifting

Wednesday – rest – no running, cross training or lifting

Thursday – easy run outside – 5 miles pushing single stroller – 7:46 avg – admittedly I was probably running too fast on this run but it was a good confidence booster and I believe that sometimes a workout can be altered if it is going to boost your confidence. You need your mind to be VERY strong heading into marathon #2.

Friday – rest – no running, cross training or lifting

Saturday – 10 miles – outside – goal was around 9 minute pace –

Sunday – rest – no running, cross training or lifting

Monday – easy run outside – 4 miles [pushed both boys in the double stroller] 8:41/8:33/8:22/8:41

Tuesday – rest – no running, cross training or lifting

Wednesday – easy run treadmill – 2 miles – 9:30 pace – afternoon 60 minute running specific full body massage

Thursday – rest – no running, cross training or lifting

Friday – easy run treadmill – 2 miles – 9:30 pace

Saturday – easy run outside – 1 mile [I typically take the day off before a marathon. I ran 2 super easy miles before Columbus Marathon and had a great race – so this mile is purely to build my confidence for race day]

Sunday – 26.2 miles – Marine Corps Marathon 2011!!!

The main thing to focus on when you do back to back marathons is RECOVERY. You need to make sure your body is recovered. You likely will not be gaining any fitness in between each race so do not focus on doing hard workouts and speed work. You want to try to maintain fitness. The first week after the marathon is recovery for me the week before the next is a taper. Make sure to treat your body well. Focus on drinking a lot of water, going to bed early and eating healthy.

Chloe & @MissLesleyRuns cheering me on at my first race post baby – MCM 10K 2006

Have you done back to back marathons? Did you love it or hate it? How did you times compare on the 2 marathons? Faster the second time or slower?


  1. Thanks for sharing!
    I plan to do some back to back marathons in the spring 😉
    Actually investigating now for training plans and such because I want to maintain my fitness level for the long run.

  2. Dorothy…when I grow up I want to be you!!! 😉

    Good luck Sunday!

  3. I've done a double marathon weekend: one Saturday and one Sunday. I agree 110% that you have have have have have to focus on recovery. I was faster the 2nd day, but was aiming for that. (In that I wanted to hold back enough day 1, so that the next day I could run and finish the 2nd marathon a little faster.) I loved it. It worked well for what I was training for anyway (ultras) and I enjoyed the challenge of doing everything right so that I could feel great on day 2. (That said, my first two marathons were 20 days apart, and so my mindset has always been that this sort of crazy behavior is doable…and normal!)

    I am beyond inspired by you and your awesomeness. Seriously. Someday, I will stop logging all these miles for Ultras and try to go and improve speed-wise. It is incredible how you've worked so hard and improved so much. I love it.

  4. Jerilee E. says:

    I did my first marathon this past May and then did my 2nd 3 weeks later. I thought it actually worked out great- plus I learned a lot from the first and was able to knock 9 minutes of my first marathon time.

  5. Jerilee E. says:

    I forgot to add- Good Luck on your race!!

  6. Dr. Robert Dillon says:

    Didn't realize that you would be in DC this weekend also. I was inspired by your post about pace groups, and I still can't decide what to do for Sunday. I'm thinking about just running my own race once the pack loosens up a bit. I can't wait for the opening mile on Sunday. Good luck with marathon number two. I did back to back half marathons (Sat.Sun) in February, and I loved it.

  7. Lindsay @ Lindsay's List says:

    Has anyone told you how awesome you are? Not sucking up or looking to stroke your ego – but you're not average. Very inspiring to come here everyday!

  8. Did you redesign your blog? I love it!!

    I don't know HOW you run two marathons back to back. Talk about amazing! Best of luck this weekend!! You are a true inspiration!! :)

    I have only done one marathon ever. I enjoyed reading this post and your thoughts on recovery – thanks!

  9. Nicole Wagner says:

    Wow that looks really good!! So glad u are giving your body lots of recovery!!!! Xx

  10. I also run back-to-back marathons (seems like you get better usage out of your training when you do). But mine are usually a month apart. It gives you longer to recover, but it's not enough time to need anything longer than a 10-12 mile long run in between them. I find that I can continue to improve my time as I go in these series of marathons/ultras. I have done 5 marathons/ultras in a period of 8 months (in 2009-2010) and repeated that same pattern in a period of 6 months (in 2010-2011). My 3:18 marathon came in 2011, 4th in that series. I actually find that I get my fastest marathon of the season immediately following my yearly 50K. I think it is because the slower and longer run serves as a "warm up" race for the following marathon.

  11. I have done back to back marathons three times. My second marathon a month after my first I was able to PR by around 8 minutes. Then I did another one a month after that and it was a disaster.

    More recently after my Iceland Marathon, I did Steamtown 7 weeks after (not quite back to back?). Steamtown was awful but more because I didn't train for the downhills.

    I like back to back marathons personally. I actually just wrote about this topic myself a few weeks ago… Good luck in MCM!!

  12. Jen @ Run for Anna says:

    If, by back-to-back marathons, you mean 5 years apart, then, yes, I will be doing that. :)

  13. Christine says:

    I'm very impressed with people doing back to back marathons. I couldn't do it since i'm drined after the first one. Good luck on Sunday! I did MCM last year, it was my very first marathon :)

  14. {lifeasa}RunningMom says:

    You have a smart plan and good luck! I can't wait to hear the results. Happy running!

  15. This looks like a good strategy, and if your body is feeling good and happy with it, then it is a homerun! Good luck Sunday, run strong :)

  16. mojamala2 says:

    In May I did 2 marathons 2 weeks apart and I found it surprisingly easy to do. My legs actually felt really good for the second one. So good that the next day I woke up not one bit sore. I thought it was practically a miracle becuase I was convinced my legs would fall off.
    This month I did 2 marathons in 1 week and still my legs felt great and have yet to fall off. I predicted that the second marathon would be a lot slower and just run for fun but I ended up running a whole 10 mins faster and the course was a lot harder.
    I think if you train right and are healthy that it is ok and you wil be fine. I would in no way recommend this to newer runners.
    Good Luck this weekend, you will do great!

  17. Anonymous says:

    In May, I did two marathons in a seven day period, on a Sunday and the following Saturday. Despite feeling a smidge tired at the start of the second marathon, I ended up setting a PR in the second race, improving my time by 7 minutes. It happened largely by chance. I forgot that I had registered for the first race when I signed up for the second race. Non one to let a race registration fee go to waste, I took it as a challenge to see if I could qualify for marathon maniacs.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Good luck this weekend! I will be cheering with CAR. Can you recommend to me the person you use for massage? My massage therapist has gone down to just one day a week and is booked up a month in advance. Email me or tweet me!

  19. I just did 2 marathons in a month (AF Marathon and Columbus Marathon). I had a month in between but I'm still pretty new at this whole marathon thing (those were my 2nd and 3rd marathons) that I had no clue how to train. I tried to rest for a few days and did 4 miles. Then I did a 12 mile long run and the next weekend a 20 miler. Was NOT working out. I almost decided to skip the Columbus marathon. So I took a week off and then ran a 5k at my best time by 2 minutes. Totally pumped me up and I told myself I can do anything! I can run 2 marathons in a month! So I did the 'taper' runs the next week and then ran the Columbus marathon – 2 minutes faster than the AF marathon I had just ran and was STRONG at the end. I didn't PR but that is ok. Its a miracle I finished. Thanks for posting how you did it. I learn from all your blogs so I can make myself a better runner. Oh and good luck at the MCM!!! That sounds like an awesome marathon!

  20. Kristin Miller says:

    GEEZ! You're awesome. I'm doing marathon numero UNO as my solo marathon of the season 11/6/11 and so nervous! You're a rock star!

  21. Running Moose says:

    3:13! Wow! You rock! I haven't done two marathons in a row (technically I haven't done a marathon…). I did do 2 5k's and a 1/2 in a week. I finished 65/26? in the half on a Sunday and set a PR in the 5k on Weds and then again on Sat. I also did my first two ultras 4 weeks apart and enjoyed it. A friend who is an experience ultra runner was surprised I did my first two that close (the ultras are also why I said I technically have not run a marathon :) ). Rock the MCM!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am soooo nervous! I just ran Pittsburgh Marathon PR 3hrs 23min. I am 37. Not sure how it happened because I was training at 9.4 minute miles. Last 6 were awful. Calves cramped so bad I don’t know how I finished. Sunday I am supposed to run Cleveland. My Calves are still sore. I’m terrified of cramping but I have to run it. I have been planning for it for 6 months!

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