QUESTION: I ran my first marathon in November, last year, and am training for a second one in late April, this year. I am addicted. I now have a new goal of running a marathon in each state. How much time should I give myself between marathons? The full 18 weeks that most of your marathon programs call for, or would some shorter ‘tweener training period be okay?
HAL’S ANSWER: I can’t offer you any numbers. 50-Staters are a breed unto their own, and rules set for ordinary mortals do not apply to them. You’re going to discover while two marathons a year seemed a reasonable limit your first year pursuing your goal, three or four will become doable soon. Five marathons in a year? Ten? Why not, if you have any hope of reaching your goal in a lifetime. As you continue (and as you talk to other 50-staters about their experiences), you will discover that you no longer are training a marathon at a time (requiring 18-week programs), you are training for continuous, multiple marathons so your planning and training must also be continuous, over years, not months or weeks. So take each marathon as it comes to you. I also would not be in a rush to complete your goal. Take your time and savor the experience. If you decide to devote 25 years to the task, you would need to run only two marathons a year. Running four or five marathons a year would allow you to reach your goal in half the time. Enjoy the ride.
Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans. Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here or on his website. Archived Q&A's from Hal can be found here.