Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Training for a Half Marathon and a Marathon….at the same time.

Received a question that I'm sure a lot of runners get to sometime in their running careers. If I'm training for a Half Marathon and an excellent opportunity comes up to run a marathon within a couple of months after the Half Marathon race, what should I so to change my training to do both?

Maybe this question seems timely because that happened to me in the last two weeks. After finding out that I [and my family in Team Beaver] did not get chosen in Garry Bjorklund's Half Marathon [Grandma's Half Marathon] lottery, I decided to run the Full Marathon. Okay, that's a heck of a change I know, but Duluth, Minnesota does put on a great show and Grandma's Marathon is on Top 25 Marathons on a number of lists.

Since I was already training for Get-In-Gear's Half Marathon on April 30th, I figured it was a good base anyway. Those of you following my Half Marathon program for it, know that we are putting in a number of ten mile plus runs leading up to the actual Half Marathon race.

FIRST, a disclaimer: From doing past Half Marathon and full Marathon training, here's my hard warning. These are two different race efforts with two different training plans. I would not encourage any of you that are training for your first half Marathon to attempt this for your first marathon. All others read on.

I'm a believer that you pick a race distance and train for it. So just because I'm running Grandma's, I'm not going to change my weekly [Mon-Fri] runs. What I change is the long runs. For example, my longest run before I signed up for Grandma's was two hours. So for the long run I had planned two weeks later, I add 20 minutes, the next one two weeks later another 20 minutes, and so on. That way I don't screw up my speed for the Half Marathon in April while building a base for the marathon in June. It just so happens that April 30th I was scheduled for a 17-18 miler. So I will do the Half Marathon hard and recover with a very, very slow jog/walk. If it ends up being just 15-16 instead of the 17, I'm not worried about it. The Half Marathon fast is equal to a 15-16 miler slow or easy.

Hope this helps you plan appropriately. If you need any help in creating your own running plan in this area, you all know you can contact me at for additional questions.

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