When training for an Ultra, running on back-to-back days can be tough and intimidating. I am in no way a pro on how to approach these, but I have some experience and have found what CAN help.

This past weekend was my big build up for my 50 mile training plan. I had a 50k race (31 miles) with Inside Trail Racing on Saturday. Having a race be one of the days, always seems to help me. Either day will work, but I’ve seen day 2 be the preferred day to feed off the race day energy.

Day 1 looked like this:

Chabot Trail Race with Inside Trails: 90 minute PR with 4,200 ft elevation gain

Chabot Trail Race with Inside Trails: 4,200 ft. elevation gain

I’m going to save the recap for another day, but this was a PR by 90 minutes (unfathomable and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it). If my Garmin didn’t keep the distance, I wouldn’t have believed it.

The approach for day two begins almost immediately. I stretched for awhile post race (more than usual) to keep things loose. Food intake post run was also key. I had chocolate milk and lots of water. Pasta was on the menu for dinner because I didn’t want anything too heavy. I made sure to hit the foam roller before an early bed time and slept in compression socks and thigh sleeves.

If I didn’t get up early for my second run, it wasn’t gonna happen. I wanted to be out of the door by 5 a.m., but settled for 6.

Day two looked like this:

Neighborhood run with significantly less elevation gain/loss.

Neighborhood run with significantly less elevation gain/loss.

It involved very little elevation and was more about getting the distance and powering through tired and fatigued legs. I walked when needed, but ran for long segments when I could. I wanted to stop and considered it more than I would like to admit. I was tired and wasn’t feeling it.

Having such a strong run on day one kept me going. A 31-mile run is not something that happens all the time, so I NEEDED to take advantage of it. I sure as heck, was not going to try it again the following weekend. I just kept moving forward focussed on how I would feel AFTER the run. Remembering that this was going to be my highest back-to-back miles kept me on track and I just committed to getting in the distance, regardless of how tired I felt. I also was not feeling any pains that would make me concerned about injury. This is also key. I HAD to take advantage of the circumstances.

The second day is all about mental strength. Being able to move your legs when they are tired and finding ways to battle physical and mental fatigue. There is some truth behind the “pain is temporary” saying. I’m glad the miles are done and know that the strength built this past weekend will pay off down the road… literally.

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Have you ever run back-to-back days?