Lost fitness after a marathon

Just looking for some advice...

I did a marathon in April and since then (or probably even since a couple of months before the mara) I haven't really been concentrating on speed but running long and slow.  On top of it I had a week's holiday during which I did nothing... Did a 10k last week and thought I was going to go for a pb but instead ran 2min slower than my pb from the end of last year.  Put it down to a bad day but this week I've been back on the track and doing steady/ tempo runs with my club and I'm suffering... I can feel that I've definitely lost some fitness.  A bit upset about it at the moment.  I guess I expected that I wasn't going to improve but to lose fitness?  It's not like I stopped running...  What I don't understand is that I did a prakrun a couple of weeks ago and my 5k time seems to be better than ever- what is going on?

Is it normal to lose a bit of fitness after marathon training?  How long before I'm back to normal? 

Thank you...


  • I don't really think you have lost any fitness just a different level of fitness. Your 10k will improve once you start concentrating on it more. You would have been concentrating and quite rightly so more on the stamina and endurance for your mara rather than speed/pace.

    I too ran a mara in May there and felt similar feeling s to you but have been told I have not lost fitness. At least your parkrun time was as good as ever. Mine on the otherhand was alot worse than my PB and find I just can't keep that pace up for such a short distance even though I can run far further. I have been told it will get better but as to how soon we get back to "normal" I don't know All I can say is I hope its soon. LOl  It doesn't do much for your motivation when you see you are not near your best for acertain distance.

    Mon77  Sorry not able to offer any concrete answers but Hang in there -YOU are NOT alone image

  • FrannyT- Thanks for this.  Good to know I'm not aloneimage  I must say my motivation got a bit of a bashing this week.  The thing is... I'm doing the Amsterdam marathon in October so I should now start concentrating on running long again... but I really want to imrove my 10k times as well.  Can I do both?  Or is it too much to ask?  I just thought that by training for any event your general fitness should improve... I can understand not improving my 10k massively since I haven't been training for it... but to get worse?image
  • Mon77 - Why not during one of your medium/short runs concentrate on speed intervals. maybe do 1km at fast pace then the next at a slightly slower pace.That way you are getting speed and distance in.Just an idea and also continue going to your parkrun if you can as thats a speedy workout initself. I know that really helped me in getting a PB for my 10k. I think  because i stopped going to my Parkrun because of the bad winter here and then got in mara training mode I lost the confidence and fitness to run at that pace.

    It is a big dilemma and gets confusing because we all want to be fast as we know we can for all distances.

    I am doing the a half mara in Sept so training for that at the mo. One mara a year is enough for me. LOL

    Amsterdam will be good . I've  heard its a good flat one and will  be good if your going for a PB.which I think you will be.image

    Good luck with improving your speed.It will happen just be patient LOl which I am not as My OH keeps telling me.

  • LOL Yep- I'm good at telling other people to be patient... not much patience here I'm afraidimage.

    I think I'll just make sure I don't give up on track sessions and tempo runs this time when training for the mara.  And will try to squeeze another few 10k races this year.  I agree with what you say about losing confidence to run at a fast pace.  That's exactly how I feel. 

    Good luck with your half.  I'm dong one as well in September- Windsor. 

  • The half will be a good training run for your Amsterdam mara. Your plan sounds good and should see you back to your previous best if not better and stronger.

    It's the Glasgow Half I am doing in Sept and then a 10k in October and November.

    So hoping to break the sub 2hrs for my half and am desperate to do a sub 50 for my 10ks.

    Cheers and pls let me know how you get on.

    Good luck

  • Will doimage

    I couldn't go sub 50 for ages... Then did 47min40s and now I'm back to 49min40s... Grrrrrrrrrrrr! 

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    Hi - after I ran VLM last year I struggled to run at all. I ran - no - I walked a 10k, I simply couldn't run the distance it was painful and my legs wouldn't move. I really lost all motivation. I don't think of got my confidence back yet as I don't want to run 5 or 10k's as they require too much speed.

    Anyway - I think that your 10k was brilliant as it was certainly better than mine, congrats for running it. Also well done for bouncing back and entering another marathon. I have shyed off them now. I am concentrating on hm for a while, then I will work on speed for 5 & 10k. I really don't feel as fit as I did prior to VLM and that was a long time ago now.

    Agree with FrannyT - you are not alone. hope you feel fitter and stronger soon. Good luck to you.

  • I've had exactly the same thing.

    I ran my first marathon in May there and ever since I've found it difficult to even finish runs that I found easy before the whole affair.

    I've even taken a few weeks off training and it got to the point where I felt like packing it all in but it's been a lot better so far this week.

    I find it a lot harder training in the warm weather too as I was used to training in the winter/spring.
  • Matt Waterworth wrote (see)
    ever since I've found it difficult to even finish runs that I found easy before the whole affair

    Matt- exactly how I feel.  I did a 6mile club run yesterday (at a relatively quick pace) the first time since the mara and found it impossible.... It'd never been easy but I didn't even manage to finish it without walking for a couple of minutesimage.   Surely can't be still recovering.... the marathon was ages ago!

  • Even if you walk the rest of it you'll still complete it and it'll be easier the next time. I'm expecting to walk a lot of the next half marathon but hopefully it at least proves to be enjoyable!
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