Training for Multiple Marathons: 6 Weeks To Race Day

Posted by Karmen Whitham on Nov 19th 2020

Training for Multiple Marathons: 6 Weeks To Race Day

Hi Ski Post,
Thanks so much for all of your insight into ski training in Ski Post, I really appreciate it.

So we have this small town race called the Icicle Double in late December each year - it is 30k skate one day and then 30k classic the next day or vice versa.

I have always trained for this as I would for a 50k (including one long slow endurance day, 3-4 ski 60 min+ days - moderate pace, and one interval day) but last year I didn't have the rebound energy on the second day to ski the race as anything more than a tour and don't think I "over did it" on Day 1. My training seemed inadequate for the two day event.

How can I tailor my long slow distance days or other training days to be better prepared for approx. 3 hour ski races on consecutive days?


Master's level skier


Dear A,

Great question about a unique training circumstance. The following are points that you should make sure you are incorporating in addition to the training synopsis you’ve outlined.

1.Take advantage of “rebound time” for recovery

This actually starts when you start your day 1 race. Be sure you are feeding during the first race at regular intervals with a glucose solution that works for you. Continue with your recovery habits with a post-marathon snack (4:1 carb/protein ratio) plenty of hydration and a well-balanced meal or two for lunch/dinner post day-1 race.

2.Be sure to vary interval workouts

Here is a simple template to go off of starting 6 weeks out:

Week 1 4 sets of 7min at level 3 @ Level 3 (~80% maxHR)

Week 2 3 sets of 10min @ level 3

Week 3 4 sets of 10min @ level 3

Week 4 3 sets of 7min @ level 3 followed by 2 sets of 7min with the last 120-90 seconds of each interval @ level 4 (~90% maxHR)

Week 5 4 sets of 5min @ level 3 followed by 1-2sets of 5min @level 4

Week 6 Race week: no intervals, but you can do speedwork

(5-7 sets of 20-30 second natural speeds throughout a distance (90min+ ) ski.

3.Don’t underestimate (or forget) strength training and stretching

  • Be sure you are incorporating one workout session with ski-specific strength work at the gym. Include at least one classic and skate plyometric exercise in your strength circuit.
  • Be sure to stretch every day, or, add an extra 1-2 yoga hours a week.
  • Once you’re comfortable with an hour of yoga, do that same practice the night after your day-1 race. Add a few minutes of foam rolling if you are accustomed to it.

4.Maximize your distance training days

  • Use these sessions to practice proper and regular feeding that you will incorporate on race day. This means finding the right glucose hydration that works for you. You don’t want to surprise your body with anything new on race day. Calculate, practice and know how often you will feed over the course of 30km.
  • Make sure you are in level 1 (~50-6-% maxHR) or level 2 (~60-70% mxHR) on distance days, not level 3 or above. Keep level 2 unintentional, but allow yourself to enter level 2 naturally, as when going uphill for example.

Hope this helps, good luck & have fun!

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