Be Extraordinary! (here’s how…)

{Use this code to get 15% the Asheville Full, Half Marathon or both: AMY2017AMAROCKS}

Running more than one race in a weekend. Yes, you can do it.  It’s fun, different and just the thing to shake up your running routine.   Let’s make our paths cross at one.  In 2014, I ran the Asheville Marathon, thanks to my friend Jami.  She told me about it, and our friend Carolyn decided that would be her first marathon.  It was a most excellent choice.

Now comes the Asheville Backyard to Biltmore Challenge. This one is going to be special.  I’m really excited about it and hope you will join me.  The half marathon is Saturday, March 11, 2017 and the full is Sunday.   There’s  a cap on the races, and they fill up early, so sign up now.

Situated on the grounds of the Biltmore House, the largest private home in the U.S., this is a truly unique course.   Frederick Law Olmsted, the man who designed Central Park, created the Biltmore Gardens.  We’ll run through those.  Lest that sound a trifle tame, there’s also the striking westside of the course.  You’ll find some rolling hills to conquer, as well as old carriage paths, dirt/gravel and rocky roads.

Trail runners will delight in running on softer surfaces than asphalt and concrete.  Road runners like me can navigate the less civilized stretches so long as we leave our more minimalist shoes at home.  I love the juxtaposition of the cultivated swards of grass with the more natural terrain, complemented by glimpses of horses and farm animals in the meadows.

The Challenge affords us two days to delight in this 8,000 acre estate.  To prepare for it, you just need to tinker a bit with your traditional marathon plan and take into account a few other factors.  Of course, you should have run a few half and full marathons before taking on the challenge.EscapingOrdinary

You want to build your base through the end of 2016.  Challenge training then begins in earnest January 1, 2017.  Run 14 miles that Sunday.  During the week, follow a plan you’ve used with success.  Consider backing off of the more intense speed work: go slower, or decrease the speedy intervals within the same mileage amount.  Continue with that approach for the duration of Challenge Training.

Beginning with Saturday, January 7, run both weekend days, gradually increasing your distances.  That will be our pattern for this training.  Run 6 miles on Saturday and 16 on Sunday, the 8th.  The next weekend, run 8 and 18, then on the 21st, run 10 and 20 on the 22nd.

extra ordinary 3

You, being extraordinary


Cut back the last full January weekend to just 7 on January 28 and 14 on Sunday the 29th.  The following two weekends, run 8 on Saturday but go long on Sunday.  I’m going to run at least 20 on both; I’d say 18 is the minimum.  That brings us to February 18 and 19.  This is the toughest weekend: run 10 Saturday and 22 on Sunday.

After that, taper.  Reduce your mileage as you normally do, but keep on running both weekend days.   During your taper, consider your Challenge Goals.  Going for a PR in both races would be setting yourself up for Major Injury.  So don’t.  The best goal, especially if this is your first challenge experience, is to set a non-time goal.   Always wanted to try run/walking?  Now’s the time.  Incorporate it in your training.  If you don’t run with your phone, try a disposable camera and take shots along the way for your book of Golden Memories.

Just completing a half marathon and  a marathon within a weekend puts you in a special, extraordinary class.  So make your goal to make the most and best memories you can.  Those, along with your achievement, will be yours forever.


‪#‎ama‬  ‪#‎avlmarathon


......former public defender/legal aid lawyer, Teach For America teacher, and always running....

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Marathoner, Detroit native, Red Sox Nation member, lover of all things "all singing/all dancing" and glad you're here. Friends with Coco, Caroline and Simon (2 cats & the Eclectus Parrot).

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