Can I run two marathons in one week?

Running dilemma

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09/10/2012 at 22:01

Hello I really need some help making a decision- I have secured a place in the Brighton marathon and am running with my best friend in aid of the British Liver Trust. But today I was offered a place in the London marathon for Beating Bowel Cancer. Both charities are very close to my heart and important, I won't let down the first one as I have agreed and won't go back on my word.But, I don't want to turn down my golden bond place for the London marathon as it is another great charity that I don't want to let down and I don't want to miss the opporutunity - but can I run two marathons in one week. I am worried about the physical aspect - I am a resonably fit person but a novice runner, who has never run more than 10k. But I am also worrried about raising enough money also - as I don't want to let either charity down. I need to raise £700 for Brighton and £2000 for London. One side f me thinks it is better to try my best and hope I can do both, I am not bothered about running the marathons in a record speed - but I am worried that I won't be able to give 100% to both charities /races. Is it physically risky? Is it crazy? WHAT SHOULD I DO???? Please help - all suggestions welcome - I am really looking for experienced runners to tell me the physical side effects and people who have raised lots of money for charity that can tell me whether I should run two in one week - or give 100% to Brighton and the British liver Trust and let someone else have my golden bond place for London?

cougie    pirate
09/10/2012 at 22:10
Well I couldnt walk properly for a week after my first marathon...

It depends how you do it though - if you take it easy then you recover quicker.

There is a real chance that the second one might be too much. Plenty of people struggle through just one marathon.

If I were you I'd do Brighton. They'll always find someone to run for them in London.

??2700 is a fair bit to raise. Why worry unduly ? Just go for Brighton.
09/10/2012 at 22:11

Having never run more than 10K I would say just do one. Not that it is not possible as many people run multi day consecutive marathons or ultras. This generally requires several years running so your body is strong enough. Sure you may get round them both but you may also pick up an injury to put you out a long time.
Perhaps speak to the second charity and explain the situation and ask if they will give you the golden bond place for the following year - I'm sure most of the charities are reasonable. After all it is in their interest that you are 100% committed.

09/10/2012 at 22:12

It's possible. However, if the furthest you've run is 10k, then by April, once you've completed the first marathon you'll probably have trouble walking for about 3 days after, let alone running a second 6 days later. Give it a couple of years and a few more marathons then yes one a week at lsr pace will seem easy.

09/10/2012 at 22:12
Cant advise on the charity side I'm afraid.
What running experience have you got? How many days a week / miles a week are you planning on doing in your run up to April. If you have the relevant fitness then 2 in one week can be done.
09/10/2012 at 22:15
Take the run you want to do most, whether that is for the charity you prefer or the race you'd rather do. Then tell the other charity, don't worry they will have more people to take the place. And they are more likely to give you another place next year for being sensible.
09/10/2012 at 22:19
09/10/2012 at 22:21

Thanks everyone for the advice, but I am still unsure- as I don't want to be ungrateful and let anyone down - and also if I run two in one week surley I will eb able to generate some publicty / more interest and thus get more money for said charities? I ahve alwasy wanted to run London marathon but I have agreed to Brighton, and as stated won't go back on that - so if I only do one it will be Brighton, but I don't want to regret turning down London??

My training plan was to start by doing x3 5k a week and x1 10k and then take it up to x3 10k and x1 15-20k a week before christmas, and then hopefully build it up from there. But I just have no real idea of how my body will take it - when I ran 10k in a race for life last month I didn't ache or have any side effects, but then I took it slow finishing in an hour and 10mins... Part of me thinks it would be so awesome to do it but then I don't want to just be a foolish idiot who ends up screwing them both up?

09/10/2012 at 22:24
I'd be more worried about having to raise 2700 pounds though.
09/10/2012 at 22:36

Jane, running a 10k, whether it was easy or flat out, is a world away from completing a marathon at the easist pace you can. I didn't have any aches after my first half marathon, but like most people I had to walk backwards down stairs after my first marathon.

09/10/2012 at 22:38


in brief -  Physically - its a big ask seriously

you did ask  what the experienced runners think

09/10/2012 at 23:52

The golden bond places for charities will always be there - and if you are successful at Brighton then they will be happy to offer you one for 2014 for London.

I have only been running a year or so but found the step up from 10k to a half marathon quite hard - looking back at it 10ks are 'easy' now but the step up to 13 miles is a whole different matter and having done a few now and embarking on marathon training for the first time I am expecting it to be hard.  i would never comtemplate doing a second one a week after the first - I just know I couldnt do it.

You may well end up letting your sponsors down for the London one if you are exhausted after Brighton.  Or even just had say very sore knees or blisters. And I'd be surprised if you weren't.

Doing one for the first time is a big enough ambition and your training may be spoilt by the worry of how you will manage both.  Be better to just be looking forward to it.

cougie    pirate
09/10/2012 at 23:57
I'd listen to Mick - he knows his stuff

You won't be letting them down - I'm sure they will have plenty of people lined up for it.

If you do two marathons in a week - well you cant do yourself justice. You'll have to ease round the first and the second will probably be a nightmare.

London will be there next year if you want a charity place. I'm sure they'll look favourably on you if you can prove you can raise cash.

You can't underestimate a marathon. Two in a week is more than most experienced runners would contemplate - let alone a novice.
10/10/2012 at 00:28

I ran my first marathon a year ago and despite my training consisting of running 40+ miles per week I was in agony during the last 6 miles and as for stairs for the first few days afterwards it was backwards each time. 

Also the fundraising will be tough, I only raised £1000 for my first marathon and this was with a sob story!

Like the others have said, do one and enjoy it!

10/10/2012 at 10:51

I agree with the others. Ultra Cougie and Micknphil are some of the most experienced guys on this forum and i'd trust their advice.

For me, after my first marathon I *really* struggled for a week. I'm a slow runner (first marathon was 5.30) but it still took a good 14days for me to run more than 10 miles.

Golden bond places are always going to be there - so why not train for Brighton and then build up your endurance.

Also, i'd agree with Millsy - 2700 is A LOT of money

Millsy1977 wrote (see)
I'd be more worried about having to raise 2700 pounds though.


10/10/2012 at 11:00

From the perspective of having completed 45 marathons, I have to agree with the others.  It's perfectly possible to do two in a week, in fact I know forumites who usually run one per weekend, if you have a solid foundation of distance training. As a fairly new, inexperienced runner I definitely think you should just do the one. As long as you respect the distance and put in the work, there's no reason you should have to go down stairs backwards. As a rule of thumb, it's generally reckoned that recovery time is one day per mile run. So only 7 days leaves you a tad bit short of recovery time!

10/10/2012 at 11:29

@Jane - London will be there next year. The charity will still be there next year. You've got all of the time in the world to raise money for the charity.

10/10/2012 at 11:51

Hi Jane,

I've just run back to back marathons (Guernsey & W'ton), then did Chester 3 weeks later, @ 3:34; 3:34 then 3:19 So yes it is doable, but did very little training in between.

Good luck, what ever you chose to do.

10/10/2012 at 13:42

I'm not an experienced runner but I'm just back from the physio who said it's advisable to take 4-6 weeks to fully recover from a marathon.

It took me the best part of a week to be able to walk after my first (and second) marathons this year but I was pretty ill-prepared for them to be honest.

I certainly wouldn't have wanted to run a marathon a week later.

As others have said, I'm sure it's do-able if you avoid injury, but raising £2,700 is a big ask for one person and probably more difficult being two distinct charities.  How do you make sure that you don't get, say £1,500 for the one charity and "only" £1,200 for the charity you need to raise £2,000 for?

I got a vague offer to run VLM 2013 from a charity but only if I could raise the requisite money as per usual - they would be happy to defer to 2014 and I'm sure you're charity would too to allow you to focus on the other marathon / charity in 2013.

Good luck!

10/10/2012 at 14:04

When I turned 50 I ran 5 marathons on 5 consecutive weekends - Paris, London, Orpington, Shakespeare and Three Forts - so yes it's do-able provided you've got plenty of mileage in your legs.

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