Thinking the unthinkable

OK, before anyone says "don't do it" lets asume that the answer is I'm going to do it anyway, then what is your advice.

Thing is that the Eurocity marathon takes place in Frankfurt on 27 October, three weeks away. Having run a marathon yesterday (see race reports) and finished in a heap, what would be my training plan over the next three weeks?

I'm thinking something like:
Week 1 (starting monday - day after marathon)
Mon - Rest
Tue - Rest
Wed - 4 easy
Thur - 7 steady
Fri - 4 easy
Sat - 6 (including intervals)
Sun - 10 Easy
Week 2
Mon - 5 easy
Tue - 7 steady
Wed - 5 Tempo
Thur - 7 steady
Fri - Rest
Sat - 5 Intervals
Sun - 15 easy
Week 3
Mon - rest
Tue - 5 steady
Wed - 7 tempo
Thur - 5 easy
Fri - 3/4 easy
Sat - Rest
Sun - Frankfurt marathon


  • Martin,

    Firstly well done for yesterday.

    Two marathons three weeks apart is a tough ask. You will probably really feel it in the last 10k or so. If you are going to do it, then make sure you have a really easy week this week, then if you followed a 2 week taper to complete this one then repeat it.

    Looking at your plan, I wouldn't do the 15 miler the week before the marathon. I can't see that it would serve you any benefit. You are unlikely to lose any fitness between now and Frankfurt and conversley you are unlikely to gain much either.

    I always have this reaction after a marathon, immediatley wanting to do another one. In three weeks you may not be thinking the same!

  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    I would say don't do the tempo or intervals. Keep everything short and easy or steady.

    And keep taking the tablets.....:-)
  • I would say don't be hasty. I sense a feeling of disappointment from your marathon experience.

    It may be wise to leave it and go for another in a few months, especially if you haven't been 100% over the last couple of weeks. But of course it's up to you as only you know how you really feel and if you think you will be up to another so soon.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  • If you really mean to do it the question is - did you enjoy the last one? If not why risk repeating it?

    If you are to repeat then the first M would be your last long run and the next 3 weeks would be tapering for the real event.

    But honestly my vote is don't do it. Go for a March 2003 one if feel you must do it again.

    Either way - good luck
  • really careful thinking about this one. Marathons are definitely addictive once you've done the first (esp. if the conditions are against you - tho' can't remember if you said it was windy?) - I completed FLM as my first this year with Mrs S by my side and both of us could not wait to get our trainers back on...having finished walking like Charlie Chaplain, anyway!

    However, I look back at my training log which starts the day after FLM - granted I started training for the London Tri, but it goes (numbers are time spent exercising): rest, rest, bike 30 easy, run 30 easy (and I mean real easy), swim 30, rest, row 60, run 55 steady,...and so on.

    The run 55 steady nearly did me some serious damage, 8 days after marathon (prior to the marathon taper was doing 50+ miles with 3 x 18+ long runs on the weekends prior to taper, and the 55 steady would have been child's play at that time). Exacerbated by being on roads, both knees and shins complained in a very vocal "you could do yourself real damage" kind of way. Cross trained for 8 days after that, then the treadmill saw some action.

    On the day you're hoping to do the marathon-repeat, I managed 60 steady with the notes "tired legs at the end". On that basis my advice is skip it, you have a very respectable marathon time in atrocious conditions - in the circumstances, it should not be seen as a disappointment at all. Marathons are a real test, really tough, and the first is the biggest learning experience - your's just about ten times tougher than hoped!

    If you decide to do it, do only one easy run each week of not more than 8 miles. Low impact cross training can fill some other time. No intervals. No tempo. No hills.

    However, I'm in the don't do it camp - look at the elite - two per year max. You only have one shot at this running lark with a healthy bod - the type of injury you risk by doing two lots of 26.2 in three weeks is the type that could really stick around. No matter who you are.

    Otherwise, good luck. Keep us posted - rest up and stay well.
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Martin, if you do it (and I don't think you should) just keep things ticking over for the next three weeks. After yesterday recovery is the most important thing for you.
  • GuyGuy ✭✭✭
    Martin, just read your race report, and your experience sounds just like mine in the London Marathon this year (although we had better weather) - through half way in 1:37, finished in 3:38, completely drained. I decided to do the Prague marathon 5 weeks later (to pace my brother). In between the two I ran a total of 50 miles, with my longest run being 10 miles, the week before Prague (and I struggled to finish that without walking).

    Surprisingly, I found the Prague marathon incredibly easy - by far the easiest I have ever run. I finished in 4:34, but was feeling very frustrated (and full of energy) in the last 10 miles at having to pace someone else. I am fairly sure I could have run a sub-4:00 (or close) that day without any difficulty.

    Which leads to the question: why are you running Frankfurt? Is it just to do a "comfortable" marathon, not caring about your time; or is it to try to beat your 3:40, and get close to 3:15/3:30? If the former, then I don't see a real problem with doing it; if the latter, then I would be really concerned that you will feel the effects of your last marathon when you get somewhere between miles 16 and 20. It sounds as though your last marathon really took it out of you.

    Anyway, whatever your plans, I would drop the 15 miler to something closer to 10. You have got limited energy reserves that you are playing with, and I would want to keep as much as I could for the marathon.

    Whatever you decide - good luck.
  • Thanks to all.

    Hilly - you are partially right, it's difficult to say disappointed as I do feel surprisingly proud (I have never experienced - and resisted - such a strong urge to drop out of a race!).

    I have the option to enter the race at very short notice so I'm definitely going to play to take it very easy and unless I feel a 'spring in my step' by the middle of next week then I (probably) won't do it.

    The idea is really born out of the fact that I can't see a "window" where I can run another flat marathon in the next 9 months (with a long race already entered on 30 March and a wish to run the LGT marathon on 14 June) - possibly I could do one last week of April/ first week of May but at the moment can't see one which is appropriate.
  • MartinH,
    I have to agree with everyone who suggests that doing another marathon in 3 weeks might not be the best strategy. I know exactly how you feel, it took me several years just to get to the start line of my first marathon (kept getting injured during training) then finally ran my first in 3:54. I was initially ecstatic and then overcome with the feeling in the following days and weeks that I could surely run faster. So I was planning on doing another within 1 month of the first but heeded the advice of a long-time marathoning friend just to enjoy the accomplishment of the first and to plan 6-12 months down the road for the next. This turned out to be great advice because it basically took me 3-4 weeks to properly recover from the marathon and doing another at this point would likely have resulted in injury/burnout/poor performance.

    Sooooo, I would strongly recommend basking in the glory of having completed your first (they're all good but the first is a particularly special experience) and planning your next assault on the 26.2 monster down the road a little ways once you're fully recovered, rested and ready to do battle once more.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    Hmmmm , I have to agree with what has been said here. If you really need to run then take the next three weeks fairly easy.

    After running London in April I entered a half two weeks later and in between did about 20 miles in total. Ended up running a pb for the half which was a confidence booster for the summer.

    Personally I think another marathon is a big ask and I'd think its better to wait until early next year,which (if you're like me) will enable you to structure your winter training with a goal in mind.
  • "Captain Scarlet: I sentence you to death."
    (Yes, Colonel White actually says this in one of the episodes.) Learn from it.
  • I ran Berlin as a first marathon the week before yours so am 1 week ahead with recovery and will be running NY the week after the week you plan to run your next one - last week, I rested Mon & Tues, ran 7 miles steady Wed & Thurs, rested Fri, ran 8 miles steady on Sat and 15 miles on Sun - legs were feeling fine and this week have just slotted back into usual now a bit scared by all the comments on this thread about legs that won't work in the latter half of the race, but overall have 2 weeks longer than you to recover....

    Good luck if you decide to do it!!
  • Martin

    there is somewhere on this website some information about running marathons so close together written by Bruce Tulloh.

    Any road up, it was suggested/recommended to leave an interval of 6 weeks or more between them with 2 weeks recovery, 2 weeks training and 2 weeks taper.

    I've only ever run 2 in a year (and only 3 in total) but was thinking of doing 3 next year - 2 serious spring and autumn and one fun training run in summer.

  • Thanks Parky, and to all others who have commented.

    At the moment I still feel too stiff / ill to contemplate running again so soon. It is difficult to put into written words what is motivating me to think about doing another so shortly after the first. The best way to put it is that in my (deranged?) mind I always run smoothly and in control and the experience of the marathon was so unnatural its almost unbelievable.

    However, everyones advice here is very good and at the end of the day if I feel too tired or the weather looks really unfavorable on the day I won't do it.

    Lets see.
  • Good luck Martin! Only you will know how you will feel. For now take it easy and REST!
  • Martin,
    It took me 4 full weeks before I recovered from my first marathon, so don't rush back, you may end up doing more harm than good if your body is not ready...but if you do go for it, make sure you go real easy for the first 20, then see how you go.
    Good luck.
  • Here is a link to an article about running multiple marathons in a year (or month.) Also has a training schedule.
  • Incidentally, without being the harbinger of doom here, a runner died during the Berlin marathon this year and he had done 4 marathons this year, and had pushed himself quite hard in a marathon just three weeks earlier. He also had high blood pressure.

    But the race Dr. Willi Heepe also recommended a recovery period of 6 weeks between marathon style efforts.

    Apparently another runner collapsed but
    was 'successfully reanimated' (quote). Any road up heres the link if you're interested.
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