Training Schedule for a Back-to-Back Marathon and Half Marathon

Train for the Goofy or Dopey Challenge or AVON 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer

Walt Disney World Marathon Finish
Walt Disney World Marathon Finish. Preston Mack/Disney Parks/Getty Images

What do you do when the marathon isn't enough? How about combining it with a half marathon the day before or the day after?

Back-to-Back Marathon and Half Marathon Races and Events

The Walt Disney World Marathon has two challenges that have that requirement. These are open to runners and to walkers who can meet the pace requirements for all races - 16 minute miles or faster. It is held in January at Disney World, Florida.

The Goofy Challenge involves finishing the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday, followed by the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday. The Dopey Challenge ramps you up with the Walt Disney World 5K on Thursday and the 10K on Friday before the half marathon and marathon on Saturday and Sunday.

For walkers, the AVON 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer has a marathon on the first day and a half marathon on the second day for the 39 mile total. They also have a half marathon/half marathon for those who aren't up to the full marathon challenge. They have no pace requirement and running is not allowed. The AVON 39 is held in multiple locations in the United States throughout the year.

Training Schedule for Back-to-Back Marathon and Half Marathon

This training schedule will help prepare you for those challenges. It is suitable for runners, walkers and run/walkers. You can swap walking the longer distance either the first or second day of your back-to-back long distance days.

Prerequisites:

Before you start this schedule, you must be able to meet these minimum requirements. If you aren't yet able to do this minimum amount, work on building your capability before you start this schedule. Use the base mileage building schedule to get up to the minimum.

  • Able to walk or run comfortably for 8 miles on your long day and for 4 miles 3 days a week.
  • Able to commit to one long day per week, from 2 - 6 hours.

Weekly Training Schedule

  • You may vary the exact days of the week to meet your schedule, especially switching around Saturday and Sunday, as long as you keep the two long days back-to-back.
  • This schedule varies mileage-building weeks with base mileage weeks, to allow a steady build-up of mileage with less risk of injury.
  • Tuesday, Thursday:  4-6 miles.
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: These are days off, although if you walk for health you can do your usual strolls. You should use them for cross training such as bicycling, strength training and abdominal exercises.
  • Saturday: Mileage building day.  This long day is essential - and you should try to run or walk the entire distance with only short breaks.
  • Sunday: Moderate distance day. This also will show you the effects on your muscles and feet on running or walking longer distances on back-to-back days.
  • You can swap Saturday and Sunday mileage, especially if you are doing the Goofy/Dopey, but doing them in this order is best for avoiding injury during training.
    Week

    Mon.

    Tue.

    Wed.

    Thur.

    Fri.

    Sat.

    Sun.Week Total Miles
    1Off4 milesOff4 milesOff8 miles4 miles20
    2Off4Off4Off10422
    3Off4Off4Off8622
    4Off4Off4Off12424
    5Off4Off4Off10624
    6Off4Off4Off14626
    7Off4Off4Off10826
    8Off4Off4Off16630
    9Off4Off4Off10826
    10Off

    4

    Off

    4

    Off18632
    11Off4Off4Off108

    26

    12Off

    4

    Off

    4

    Off20634
    13Off4Off4Off1010

    28

    14Off

    4

    Off

    4

    Off20836
    15Off4Off4Off1210

    30

    16Off

    4

    Off

    4

    Off22636
    17Off4Off4Off1212

    32

    18Off4Off4Off

    12

    8

    28

    19Off4Off4 or 5K Dopey10K Dopey

    26.2
    Avon
    13.1
    Goofy or Dopey

    13.1
    Avon
    26.2
    Goofy or Dopey

    48

     

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