One of the most frequent questions coming up with 13 in 2013 (and by many other runners) is How do I train and plan for multiple races? Since I began racing in 2003 my yearly (typically March through November) has grown from 2 a year to 20+ a year. How do you find that balance between over racing and racing enough? Through my own learning experiences I can share some advice, I once ran (attempting to BQ) at 6 marathons in under 18 months…
Pick a goal race (or a few spread out) and fill in with others later to supplement the schedule and help with training for the goal races. Schedule some shorter races at pertinent times in the training to do some speed work at a short race or run a half marathon at marathon pace as training.
Schedule in low times to recover. Without recovery you won’t be fully prepared for the next race. If you schedule a second race too soon make sure to run it for fun. Don’t overdo it or you’ll risk injury, over training and burnout. Make sure every 3-4 weeks you are planning (and following) a week of lower intensity and decreased mileage.
Find some fun races to add in as non-goal races with so many newer fun races: Color runs, obstacle, night runs, etc there are many options out there. These are great opportunities to get new runners involved and run with them.
Learn what your body likes and LISTEN! If you can handle back to back marathons, great but many can’t and only you will know this. The longer you run the easier the recovery will be but it will still be tough to give it all as back to back races. Remember my 10K attempt 6 days after a near PR marathon? Yikes!
If you are new to running don’t expect back to back long races to be easy. It has taken me years to get to the point of comfortably running multiple races, yet I still get frustrated when I can’t fully race them all. The worst part is the let down after a race where you couldn't achieve your goals. Make the race goal realistic based on everything else you are doing.
Get friends and family for support. Ask others to join you in a race to either push you to a goal or hold you back in a non-goal race. Join a group to train to get support and advice.
Budget for multiple races. Decide how much to spend and pick goal races first. There are many options to save a little money: small local races are often cheaper (I just registered for a $40 marathon!), watch for discount codes and specials offers, many virtual races are free.
We want 13 in 2013 to be a fun challenge to keep people active and healthy. Stay injury free and enjoy the year. Remember I’m always available for more advice and coaching.
Want more running advice? Check out my post today on From Florida to North Dakota
And some fun news, I am excited to be a Ragnar Ambassador. I’ve run 2 Ragnars: Great River in 2008 and Northwest Passage in 2012 and loved both. I’m excited to be back and likely aiming for an ultra team in 2013! Other fun Ragnar news: Watch NBC Today Show today for talk about the Fat to the Finish Line documentary