READER QUESTION: HOW CAN I RACE BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK?

Q:  I am currently deployed to SW Asia, this fall I am running a hat trick (5K, 10K, and 1/2 Marathon in the same weekend) at the Air Force Marathon. The 5k is on Friday and the 10K starts an hour prior to the 1/2 on Saturday. My goal is to PR each event (19:48 5k, 48:20 10k, and 2:09:10 half) Can you help me with this?

Justin

A:  Hey Justin, thanks for your email.  You’ve set an ambitious goal for yourself – sounds interesting!  

  As I see it, the keys to succeeding will be twofold: first, to prepare your body as closely as possible for the specific demands you’ll be putting on it over the race weekend, and second, to have a good recovery plan to get you as ready as possible for each of the events following your first race.
  For training, I would recommend that you incorporate a two-a-day workout into your training schedule at least once every other week.  You wouldn’t necessarily have to do the actual race distance for the hard runs – two-thirds of that should be sufficient to acclimate the body without causing too much damage.  You may also consider a slower-than-race-pace two-a-day workout of the full distances – or close to them – to build up your specific endurance.  Similarly, you should practice running hard on consecutive days, which is something you will also have to get used to.

 This kind of training is hard, and raises the risk of injury, so you’ll have to really monitor how your body is feeling as you go through your training cycle, and respond quickly to any signs of oncoming injury by icing and taking appropriate rest as needed.
  For your recovery, you should experiment with different foods to see what works best for you.  A carb-protein mix after each event should get you refueled for your next race, but getting to the start line with your food fully digested will be the trick; you’ll need to experiment with different protein drinks and foods.  Again, working this out in training is key so that there will be no surprises on race day.
Good luck with your races!
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About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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