Do two in one weekend. That saves a lot on travel expenses.
I have heard of the Marathon Maniacs doing multiple races in bordering states in a weekend, but those folks are doing leisurely five-hour-plus races. I want to do each of my marathons in less than four hours while I am still able. So tackling two in one weekend is a big undertaking.
But how do I train for it?
I decided to follow Hal Higdon's Advanced I Marathon training program, but with one alteration. Instead of my Saturday runs amounting to half the distance of my Sunday long runs, the tactic has been to gradually (but swiftly) increase them to being more than three-quarters, except on the "step back" weeks, during which both the Saturday and Sunday runs are 13 miles.
As the mileage grows this gets a lot more difficult, but I figure it will be only way to condition my body for this feat. Running 20 miles is tough enough on an average training day. Doing 20 miles the day after running 17 miles requires a whole other strategy.
For one, it is absolutely imperative on Saturdays to take my runs much more slowly than normal. Instead of a mid-7s pace, Saturdays would be done at low 8s. That allows me to have the energy to muster up some low- to mid-8s on Sunday. Because the goal is to do sub-four-hour races, it is imperative that I do not get too close to a 9:00 pace. That is the ceiling for the race days and I want it to be as comfortable as possible. If I can crank out low- to mid-8s in training, then high-8s should be a cake walk at the races.
But then, maybe not. Who knows? This is all foreign territory and I am making it up as I go.
One thing is for sure, though. I am registered for two races in two states in two days and I am determined to make it happen. If I succeed in running each of them in less than four hours, I will be only one future similar weekend from the halfway point to the 50<4 club.