How long between marathons?

20 messages
13/09/2009 at 15:22
Hi. I ran my first marathon this year and I must have caught the bug because I've signed up for the same race again next year. I'd like to do another marathon next year too, although I'm not sure which one yet. I was wondering how long I should leave it between the two races? I know people often run multiple marathons in very short spaces of time, but I'm curious to know if there's any recommendation on an ideal amount of time to leave between marathons. Thanks
13/09/2009 at 15:55
I left 8 weeks once - wasn't enough for me - the second one was a bit of a disaster.

Very much depends on you - i know loads of folks who do london then edinburgh (under 2 months apart) with no probs. I crashed and burned though so now i would leave it a bit longer.
13/09/2009 at 15:55

The convention is two a year, one in the spring one in the autumn. This should give you time to recover properly, train well and taper. I have done 3 so far this year with my 4th in two weeks, another the month after and a 30 miler in December. But I only raced / will race two of them the rest is just for fun.

So people do them every month/week but they are clearly insane and best avoided


13/09/2009 at 18:03
I generally run 2 marathons a year - 6 months in between is enough down time/time to start up training again I think. I know there are a lot of people who run a lot more marathons than this, but I think generally it depends on the individual and how you feel - I know that I'm constantly either exhausted or in pain/injured from doing even 2 marathons a handful of halves a year, so to push past 2 would probably either kill me or leave me with some critical, irreversible injuries.
13/09/2009 at 19:50
Thanks for the replies I'm definitely doing Edinburgh again next year, which is in May, and I was hoping to do one a bit closer to home as well. Either Blackpool in April, Moors the Merrier (West Yorkshire) in July or next year's Robin Hood, which I assume will be in September again. My preferred choice would be the West Yorks race because it's so close to where I live so it saves on travel and accommodation expenses, but I'm concerned that July would be too soon after the race in Edinburgh. I'm trying to remember how I felt two months after this year's Edinburgh Marathon, but I was still taking it easy really, doing about 10 miles as my longest run. Maybe if I knew I had another marathon lined up I'd feel differently...
13/09/2009 at 20:46
I think a lot also depends if you want to try and 'race' both of them. You could do the local one in July no problem if you took it as an 'enjoy the day' type run and didn't go chasing a time (assuming you DID go chasing a time at Edinburgh. But if you wanted to race both and chase PBs then for me personally 2 months isn't long enough - but I know folk who can do that, so each ot their own really.
13/09/2009 at 20:55

It really does depend on your fitness. Some people do 3 marathons in 3 days (Beachy Head, Snowdonia and Dublin) but you have to be incredibly fit to even consider that.It's impossible to advise you without knowing more about you, and your goals. 

Hal Higdon has a good article on multiple marathons here: 

The fundamental requirement seems to be that you maintain a good level of mileage throughout the year.

13/09/2009 at 21:19
How do people actually run 3 marathons in 3 days and not get major injuries? I raise my 'How the hell is Dean Karnazes not dead' card once again...
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
13/09/2009 at 21:38
Some people run 3-4 marathons in one day, theyre called Ultra's
13/09/2009 at 21:41
How are they not injured?
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
13/09/2009 at 21:43

Back to the original question.

It all depends on your fitness, endurance, how long youve been running for, how much you're used to training etc.

A regular runner /even relative beginner should be able to compete at 2-3 marathons a year, i.e. be fully recovered, re-peaked their fitness and taper. 

There's nothing stopping most people running a lot more marathons a year, more frequency will just mean you're not at your peak fitness so will suffer more from underlying fatigue.  Most people will therefore tend to pic a couple of 'A Races' which are their target races for the running season.

If you want to be at your best I would suggest leaving a minimum of 3 months between races.

Edited: 13/09/2009 at 21:47
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
13/09/2009 at 21:45
Devoted2Distance wrote (see)
How are they not injured?

Distance doesnt equate to injury, though it takes a long time, gradual build up and frequency of running to be able to run 100 miles in a day.

13/09/2009 at 21:46

Cos we train for em! does depend on your recovery really. I've done back to back 40 milers before...40 mile race sat, then 40mile race on sun and then ran with the club on the monday, but my recovery is good. Between my first mara and my second, I had four months....then six weeks to the third....four weeks to the fourth.....bit addictive these maras

13/09/2009 at 21:51

I was reading an old RW the other day - an article about Ultras, and it said most people don't actually train for these 100/100+ mile how does that work then?

Hope to run one myself one day.. think I need to sort my biomechanics first though - otherwise, I'm going to be in big trouble. Only 23 after all. Don't want to end up not being able to walk when I'm 30..

13/09/2009 at 21:52

I'd strongly advise entering 2 marathons a good 5/6 months apart, and give it yer all in both. Even if you're working off a good base, you need to devote 3 months to marathon training (and warm-up races), then it's a good month after the race before you even want to think about running another race. Then if you know you've got that time to recover before hand, you can devote more effort to the marathon training. 

People who run multi-marathons, or on consecutive days, etc. are looking for a different challenge, more like the ultra-marathon mind-set where it's more about the mental aspect of endurance than pure athletic ability.

You say you can imagine running marathons way into the future.  Another advantage of doing Spring/Autumn marathons is that you get to train in different seasons to see which you prefer.  So you might find it harder to do long runs when it's warm, or do you prefer the longer evenings?  5/6 months from May (after Edinburgh) is Oct/Nov. There are loads of maras around that time, certainly major overseas ones but there would be more local races as well.

14/09/2009 at 09:32

Thanks for your replies everyone

PhilPub wrote (see)

5/6 months from May (after Edinburgh) is Oct/Nov. There are loads of maras around that time, certainly major overseas ones but there would be more local races as well.

I've just discovered that there's going to be a marathon in Bradford next October, so I reckon I'll give that one a go as well as Edinburgh. Should definitely be enough time to recover and train, plus it's nearby

17/09/2009 at 18:47
This is interesting for me, as  am in the London Marathon in 2010, and have lso entered the Paris marathon. They are only 2 weeks apart.... I've done a half already, and am building up a substantial level of fitness and weekly mileage, but I'm still not sure doing them both so close together is a wise move.....
17/09/2009 at 21:57
Is it ok for me to run a Half in 6 weeks after running my first full sunday?
17/09/2009 at 22:19

have you not read about eddie izzard d2d........should answer your question (training effect etc)

Re the OP - i ran london this yr and have dublin in 5 wks, i've entered edinburgh for may - so excited - and hope to do an another overseas one in the autumn, seems to be doable, gave me a rest and my fitness has definatley improved as well as my speed.

If you have the bug, go with it and enjoy - i am !!

18/09/2009 at 11:35

Michael - depends on how you feel and how you take the HM. i.e. if you go in for a PB and run your heart out, you may feel a bit too shattered afterwards because you've pushed yourself too hard.

On the other hand, if you take it easy from now 'til the HM and just do some gentle runs up to 10 miles or so, you'll probably enjoy it

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member
20 messages
Previously bookmarked threads are now visible in "Followed Threads". You can also manage notifications on these threads from the "Forum Settings" section of your profile settings page to prevent being sent an email when a reply is made.
Forum Jump  

RW Forums