Reader to Reader: Marathon overload?


This week's question comes from a forum member whose event schedule is looking a bit crowded...

"I'm doing the Edinburgh Marathon on 27 May. It's my first marathon, and the training is going OK, though I had two weeks off due to injury. I've got it in my head that I want to do the Southend half-marathon on 10 June – exactly two weeks after Edinburgh. I've been told by my friend's bloke, a seasoned marathon runner, that it's a horrendous idea. Is he right? Given that it's my first marathon, I've no idea how quickly I'll recover."
Soon to be skinny


Your best answers

  • You need more post-marathon recovery
    There's no point. You will get round, but you won't do yourself justice. The rough rule of thumb is that you need one day's recovery (that doesn't mean no running at all, but avoid any major exertion) for each mile of racing. You wouldn't find a pro racing a half marathon two weeks after a marathon – and if they can't recover, nor can the rest of us. – Johnny J
  • The marathon will take it out of you
    You could always enter it now then withdraw on the day if you still feel like s**t. However, you must respect the marathon distance – it is very taxing, and will affect you afterwards more than you think. You will find yourself eating like a pig for a week after. I had two weeks off running afterwards and six weeks off racing. Body and mind were grateful. If you just really want to do a half, leave it another month. If you really want to race in Southend, there is a fast 10K along the seafront in October. – B (Ewok's Mate)
  • BUT... Slow runners can do more frequent marathons
    Faster runners probably take longer to recover than slowies like me, and I suspect your friend's bloke may fall into the fast category. A really hard-run marathon could take a month to recover from. But running 13 miles at a slow pace two weeks after a marathon is doable. – Nessie
  • The half is the perfect cure for post-marathon blues
    Go for it. I've always found it really hard to get myself motivated to go out after a big target race like a marathon, and having another smaller target to keep you going is a great idea. Treat the half as a bit of fun and don't set a real target. Don't push in training at all; the training you've done for the marathon will see you round easily. Pros push themselves far closer to their limits than us mere mortals do, even though it feels as if we're trying just as hard, so of course they need more rest after a marathon. – exiled claret
  • Treat the half as a training run
    Yes, go for the half marathon two weeks after your marathon. Treat it as a steadier training run, and make sure you sleep, eat well and drink sensibly after the marathon. I'll bet you'll be fine. – Eric Green
  • Forget about PBs and just enjoy
    Unless you're at elite level, running should be for fun and health not all about PBs and following the rules. If you want to do it, you will. A couple of easy recovery runs in between and you'll be fine. Because there's pressure you may find you fly round. I have a 43-mile race coming up three weeks after a marathon, so I certainly won't aim for a PB at the marathon &ndash but will I enjoy it? Hell yes. – Loon Dod
  • Manage your recovery right, and you may surprise yourself
    Give it a shot. I PB'd in my last marathon, and three weeks later PB'd in a half. I think it's how you manage your recovery from the marathon that will be critical. Minimise the post-marathon alcohol intake to avoid unnecessary muscle soreness, and do no running for at least 5 days afterwards. Then do some sort easy runs to end the first week, with a couple of longer ones the week after. You won't have lost any fitness in the two weeks after the marathon, so have lots of rest and you'll be fine. – Goldstar
  • Run the half in your marathon T-shirt
    Wear your Edinburgh Marathon 2007 finisher's T-shirt to the start of the half-marathon (or even for the race itself) so that everyone knows the score, and just enjoy the run. – karinsmilesbetter
  • Whether you should do it depends on your approach to events
    You are highly unlikely to PB, or even get near, but you are equally unlikely to die. Your friend's bloke sounds like someone who has to beat a target in every race. That's fine, but it's not the only way to be. – ergo-phobic


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