Lessons Learned from Running Back to Back Marathons.

Today I thought we’d talk about a few things I’ve learned from my fun double marathon experience! (Check out the recap if you have not already) A few lessons if you will.

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Yes…true story…I’ve learned that time and time again.

Since the New Year’s Double, I’ve been slowly getting the legs turning again. This morning’s run I have to say was quite chilly! My favorite kind of running weather. Temps were in the low 30s with a nice wind chill. I could not have been more thankful for cozy running gloves this morning.

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So yeah…back to my double marathon experience. It was absolute fun and no doubt I’d love to do it again. It even got me excited about ramping up for ultras again. My next big race is the Cowtown 50k in February, then a couple of marathons in the late spring/early summer (hello San Diego!) and maybe…just maybe…I’ll find something beyond a 50k before the end of the year. But for now…just loving life and loving running.

That being said…if you ever do decide to dabble in the world of running a double…back to back 26.2s…or an ultra! Here’s are some things I have learned that may help.

Make sure you are incorporating those back to back long runs. For me this was super helpful and I really felt that it helped me with my endurance. It also should help you with faster recovery since it gets your body used to running on tired legs. Check out some training programs online like this one if you don’t know where to start.

Don’t forgo cross training/strength training. Every little bit helps. Since I am a fitness instructor it’s fairly easy for me to throw in a spin cycle session here & there. During training I also strength train 2-3 times a week doing lots of squats, lunges, upper body work.

If you’re considering running a double, it helps if you’ve run several marathons before. Having run the distance a few times will definitely make the challenge more realistic and do-able. A few years ago when I ran the double half marathons I could not IMAGINE running back to back full marathons. And now I’m doing it. It’s amazing how things change with time, consistency and patience.

For the double…immediately after your first 26.2…hydrate, put your legs in some compression socks, and eat a nice breakfast with a good carb to protein ratio. My favorite post run meal would probably have to be eggs, toast/waffles, bacon. I’d like to call that BAE- bacon and eggs! haha give me all of the savory stuff. I also love protein smoothies and will throw some spinach and coconut almond milk in there.

Keep moving after the challenge is complete. After day 2 of 26.2…my legs were tired but definitely not as tired or as stiff as I expected them to be. I took a nice walk the next day (did NOT run) but a couple of days later and my legs are back to normal again. Again, everybody’s body responds differently but listen to what it’s telling you and EASE back in to any activity but keep the legs moving to help with circulation.

Oh yeah…and when it’s all said and done…get a massage! Your body will surely thank you.

What are some of your favorite post run (or post ultra…any ultra runners out there?) recovery tips?

Published by thedancingrunner

Marathon runner & group fitness instructor at 24 Hour Fitness. Passionate about family, friends, traveling. Loves destination races. Loves dining out, cooking in, being around down to earth people, writing, sunrises.

20 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from Running Back to Back Marathons.

  1. i’m still floored that you ran back to backers! dang, lady. i need to get my legs to feel good enough to consider doing a long run again! post run recovery tips: i like to chill in my parents’ hot tub with a glass of wine. oh, and foam rolling. and sleeping. 🙂

  2. I’m not a back-to-back marathoner (one 26.2 a year is all I care to handle), but after a race or long run I definitely eat! I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but I never feel that hungry after a race. I still make myself eat something (usually egg and potato tacos) to get some much-needed fuel to my muscles. I also take a hot Epsom salt bath, wear compression socks and keep my feet up for the remainder of the day. In the next few days, I’ll get a sports massage, continue eating high-protein meals and just do easy yoga or walk. I usually wait until the Wednesday or Thursday after a marathon to run and even then I take it slow.

      1. I also have trouble sleeping! It’s so odd, you would think after that much effort I’d sleep like a baby. But no, I spend that night waking up every couple of hours. (Oh, wait, I guess that is how babies sleep.) Must be all that adrenaline!

      2. Try lavender essential oil…it makes me sleep so peacefully! I actually don’t have trouble sleeping but I understand your frustration. Sleep is so important!

  3. Which races are you doing in SD? I live there now and I could come cheer you & all the runners on! If I’m not running myself 😉

  4. I’m absolutely amazing at what the human body (and mind!) can do. I’m working towards running a 5k right now and the idea of a marathon overwhelms me. And you do 2 back to back? Wow! Good for you! I’m curious, how many years have you been running?

    1. Over 6 years of running marathons so yeah you really need to build a strong foundation of running before you start doing nutty things like that! You are doing the right thing and 5ks are an excellent start!! Happy training to you!

      1. Thanks! I don’t know if I’ll ever want to run crazy distances like this, so I’ll just read your posts to see how it went for you. 🙂

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