Can I run another marathon 6 weeks after running a marathon?

I did the London Marathon on Sunday and massively under achieved on my predicted time. All my training runs showed me easily under 4 hours but I think I over trained and when it came to the big day, my legs cramped at mile 16 and it was a long way to the finish from there.

If I rest for a couple of weeks with light jogging, as my legs aren't too bad today from the marathon, could I realistically do myself justice in another marathon in 6 weeks or am I better to have a break, then train through the summer and target an autumn marathon?


  • Can't see why not although any training you do between now and then will be limited.  You need a couple of weeks rest now and then a decent taper before the next so you've really only got a 2 week window to get any key runs in.

    I ran a half marathon pb 2 weeks after running the New York marathon so it's achievable.

    I also think you need to work out what went wrong at London - cramping at 16 seems very premature.  Were all of your long training runs run at slower than marathon pace?

  • Cheers Gilly, my long runs were all under 4hr marathon pace, so I expect that's where the issue lies. I did 2 x 18miles, 1 x 20 miles, 1 x 21 miles and 1 x 22 miles training run, all were under 9 min miles, so I think I probably over trained the legs, as the 22 miler was only 3 weeks before London and I did that in 3hrs 09mins.

    I carbed loaded as well, but I had to change my diet quiet a lot to do this, so I think next time, I stick to my usual half marathon routine and perhaps throw in extra portions of carbs throughout the day.

  • Well done for running London, it is still an epic achievement!!

    Yes it is possible although you would need to think very carefully about what went wrong at London as if it was down to injury or lack of consistent, good-quality long runs it may not be able to be quickly fixed in 6 weeks.  Was it your first (or first in a few years?) - you'll certainly need a few weeks to recover.  So it would be possible to do another but might not guarantee a good time.

    If you do, then try a reverse taper for three weeks - do little this week, 3-5 miles this weekend, then build up to a long run (maybe 15-18 miles) in 3 weeks’ time, then back to a normal taper before the next marathon.  Your body will absorb the fitness from the marathon but it takes time and just because you feel good a week on doesn’t mean you are fully recovered.  Also you may not actually feel the full fatigue of the London Marathon for a few weeks.  And could be other factors like the weather may be even hotter in May/June than it was in London.

    But with good timing – plus a bit of luck – it’s still possible to run a good time and do a PB!!

    Otherwise try for an autumn one, there are some very good choices and most do not have a ballot, you’ll probably get cooler weather too.  You can have a rest and recover fully, but if you carry on doing some shorter runs, maybe 10ks over the summer, you can keep up the fitness and when it comes to building up the longer runs again it won’t be such a shock.

    My third marathon was 3 weeks after my second (London then Prague in 2013) and have done the same in last year’s autumn and this year’s spring marathons – but personally I only ever aim for the PB in the first marathon of the season, the others are just for fun and much slower.

    Good luck!!

  • Cheers Aizxana for the note. My training was good for London and it was my third marathon, I think I just did too much as I had over 800 miles training in the bank including 5 18+ mile long runs and I ran my legs out for the big day!!

    You are quite right that May / June could be hotter than London and that was part of the problem Sunday, as it was energy sapping of certain parts of the course.

    Any suggestions of good autumn marathons, as I've only ever done London and Edinburgh. Cheers.

  • All good advice. I'm doing another - a trail - in 4 weeks. But that's totally different and won't be attempting the same speed. Good for you Frosty. Worth a try and all good fun. image
  • Yes - the back of Pfitzinger and Douglas has a section on it.

  • I ran Paris the week before London and beat my Paris time so it can be done. It's just about sensible planning and giving your body the protein and correct rest between runs.

    Good luck with it 

  • I'm in the same position as you! i stuck with my running partner who struggled with cramp in her thighs from 18 miles onwards! which other marathons where you thinking of? Edinburg is closed, I looked at liverpoolbut it seems quite hilly! I'd like a nice flat one! 

  • It looks like you trained way too quick. Those runs should be 1 to 2 minute miles slower than race pace. 

  • Honestly it is all on you, listen to your body and work out the best recovery times from there.  I think 6 weeks is a pretty good recovery time for the next race of the same distance.  Which one are you thinking of?  Last year I rather foolishly did two long distance endurance events within 3 weeks of each other and really suffered, but I think 6 weeks should allow sufficient recovery.

  • Yes, as Toro says, pandd has tables for even numbered week gaps from 12 to 4. Hal Higdon's site also has some tables. Personally, I've done 3 with 4 week gaps. It's more frustrating, really, because you go through quite a lot of time without being able to get a decent run in.

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