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Training Schedule Adjustments for Running Multiple Marathons


“How do i need to adjust my training schedule for running multiple marathons (one a month for 4 months). i haven’t been able to find training schedules for this kind of running. I don’t know when to taper, how to do speed workouts, etc. i am trying to get under 3:30 for one or all of the races. I also want to know how often i should do gu or gels during the race. i have run more than a dozen marathons, yet i still can’t figure it out. If you have any advice that would be great!

Oh ya, if you know of any running studies i could be a part of that would be awesome too.
Sherrie Wayment LOVE2RUN


Hi Sherrie,

The short answer is yes, you would want to adjust your training based on the number of races you plan to run and the frequency with which you plan to run them. The marathon distance takes a toll on your body and without adequate recovery you will not be properly, rested, refueled and ready for the next one. That said, I would think seriously about running one per month, especially if you are trying to set a personal best. I am a pretty firm believer that you can only really “race” 2-3 marathons per year – the incredible effort it takes to do well in a marathon (training: including mileage and speed work as well as recovering adequately) is quite taxing. Not knowing your current training schedule, it is difficult to make specific suggestions or comments – I am also not a coach, and consulting with one would be a great place to start. Paul Pilkington [Lora Erickson, and Janae Richardson], [members] of UtahRunning.com’s expert panel [offer] coaching services and may be a great resource for you to develop a training plan specific to your needs.

Regarding during-race nutrition. It does take a lot of practice. I like to start fueling with gel or Gatorade at about the 40 minute or 10k mark of the marathon. By starting early you get a head start on preventing glycogen depletion. I recommend taking a Gu about every 35 or 40 minutes during the race. If you are taking a Gu (or other gel product), don’t double up with a sport drink – instead, consider alternating gel/sport drink. The reason for this is that too much carbohydrate in your gut can cause gastrointestinal distress, and running to the Port-A-Potty is undesirable, not to mention that it costs precious time. The body can only absorb between 40 and 60g of carbohydrate per hour during exercise. Use whatever carbohydrate-rich foods you like and tolerate well as the delivery system. A single Gu shot has 25g of carbohydrate. An 8oz cup of Gatorade typically has 14g of carbohydrate. Check the packages of other sport foods (i.e., Clif Shot Bloks, Sport Beans, Gu Chomps, PowerGels) to get an idea of the carbohydrate contents of various foods. The last and perhaps most important piece of advice I can offer is PRACTICE! Try out some of these tactics during your long training runs – the specific formula that you come up with is what you will want to employ during the race.

To adjust with more specifics, I would suggest making an appointment with a sport dietitian to discuss further if necessary.

by Kristi Spence – MS, RD, CD Sports Dietitian

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 at 11:43 am and is filed under Expert Answers, Marathon/Half Marathon, Marathon/Half Marathon, Nutrition, Race Nutrition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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