2 Half Marathons in 30 Days? Am I Crazy?

A year ago I was toying with the idea of training for, and running in, my first half marathon. Friends and family were surprised when I announced I had registered for the Kentucky Derby Half Marathon, but I was excited, and nervous, and ready to tackle the training.

My proud accomplishments from running in 2012 include: Competing at the AKC National Agility Championships, running in my first half marathon, completing the Warrior Dash, finally running in the Bluegrass 10K, and finally earning an age-division placement w/first place!

Training for that first half was one of the most physically challenging things I will ever do, I believe. But it was also the most rewarding. There were injuries along the way, and speed bumps that couldn’t be avoided (like my trip to Reno 30 days out from the race), but I plugged on and eventually came away with a finisher’s medal and complete runner’s euphoria.

So now it’s time to start thinking about the 2013 calendar and what I would like to accomplish in the coming year. I had already been thinking about running in the Kentucky Derby Half again, because it was a fun experience, but then an announcement was made that the local half marathon, formally called the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon, was now a Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I’ve heard a lot about these races, so I was excited to see it coming closer to home. Last year I was thinking about running the Run the Bluegrass Half, but when Dally and I qualified for Nationals, it was during the same weekend, so I ran one month later in Louisville, instead.

So now the quandary begins: Do I run in the Derby Half like last year, a course I’m now somewhat familiar with, or do I attempt the (extremely hilly) Rock N Roll Half? So while making decisions is hard for me, I came up with a brilliant thought one night during cardio kickboxing–why not run both? The races are 30 days apart, with the Rock N Roll on March 30 and the Derby Half Marathon April 27. That could give me a week to recover from the RNR, plus a couple off weeks of long-ish runs to build back up for the Derby, and then taper.

The RNR is on a very hilly course through Thoroughbred horse farm country, while the Derby is relatively flat through Louisville (including around the racetrack at Churchill Downs). So the harder race would be done first, which could be a good thing…or a bad thing, if I end up getting hurt running it. (Remember my IT band and tendonitis in my foot issues earlier this year?)

I don’t know if you’d consider me a novice runner any more, but I’m definitely not an expert. The farthest I’ve run since my half was a 10K on July 4, but I’ve tried to run 3-5 miles 2-3 times a week and stay active at the gym.

I know I’ll have a busy schedule the first part of the year, with agility trials, plus Nationals, but surely there are ways I can fit in my long runs. (Oh yeah, one kicker for the RNR race? I’ll be in Tulsa competing at the American Kennel Club National Agility Championships two weeks prior, so there’s a week of relatively no training…)

I’ve also considered changing up my training program, with maybe less running and more cross training to save my foot and IT band (maybe run 1 short run for speed, 1 medium run for tempo, and then my long training run a week). Would that be a better plan?

I really need the advice of my running peeps, so please share. Is it feasible for someone like me to run two half marathons within 30 days and not kill herself?


5 thoughts on “2 Half Marathons in 30 Days? Am I Crazy?

  1. You can do a 1/2 with 30 days recovery and be okay. The decision you should make is how you want to run them. Is one race more of an A race than the other. Do you run both equally or do you run the second harder. When you do that you can figure out the best way to attack. Ex. If you pick the second race is the one you want to focus on, run the first 13.1 like a training run, do maybe 3 mile warmup, 7 at race pace and then run the last 3 miles easy. And then, attack the second race.

    It’s all about managing the races so you achieve your goals! Good luck and those were some awesome accomplishments in 2012.

  2. You can do that. It isn’t like you’re doing a full marathon and then running a half. If you train as if you are preparing for a full marathon, your long runs would be 15, 18, 20, so 13 twice in 30 days is a piece of cake. Race prep is mental too, remember that! Good luck and have fun!

  3. If you need more encouragement and support, I HIGHLY recommend joining John’s Striders. You’ll have running companions who are using both races as training preps for the Flying Pig Marathon. Find John’s Striders on Facebook. The group will meet at Keeneland and run portions of the Rock and Roll Half on Saturdays. I strongly encourage you to run over the course before race day…again, it’s mental prep.

  4. Pingback: Running the Bluegrass | Planetmarsz

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