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Monday, 20 October 2014

The Week Before/After A Marathon

The inspiration for the title:

So here we are mid way between two marathons, 7 days after The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon and 8 days before The SSE Dublin Marathon. Dublin is run on a Monday due to that day being a bank holiday in the Republic.

It doesn't seem much time between marathons but then again there are many people who can run them day after day, including Kelvin Dickinson who ran two sub-3 marathons in 24 hours not too long back. I believe Kelvin and Caz Hall were probably the most responsible/guilty for getting us into trying out back to back marathons. They do look like a couple of dodgy looking characters likely to lead the unwary astray ;)

Firstly though it is worth jumping back a bit to the lead up to Yorkshire. This was the most enjoyable marathon to date by far so it is worth noting any points which might have had some influence on that:

Yorkshire Build Up

1. Long Runs - This might be surprising but in the 9 weeks before Yorkshire there was only one training run longer than 10 miles and that was only 12 miles! The only longer runs were in races.

2. Training Paces - All training was 8:00/mile+. Since all racing was faster than 6:30/mile this means that the paces in the range 6:30-8:00 were pretty much never touched. 

3. Races - The 9 weeks contained 22 races/parkruns at the following distances: 
1 Mile - 3
5k/parkrun - 11
10K - 3
10 Miles - 1
Half Marathon - 3
Marathon - 1 (Thames Meander Marathon)

4. Mileage - Those 9 weeks were something like 83, 80, 73, 79, 76, 70, 66, 53, 56 (race week)

A few discussion points in there amongst those basic stats!

Why 2 Marathons in 2 Weeks?

So why are we doing something that just 12 months ago I would have considered pointless, stupid and pretty risky, ie running two marathons in quick succession? Good question!

It has been said a few times, by wise people that know about these things, that the best time to run a marathon is actually two weeks after the previous one. Can this be true or is it nonsense?

How many runners actually try it? Not many as a proportion of the total marathon running population as it flies in the face of the supposed 'rule of thumb' that you should rest for 1 day for each mile of race distance.

So, in the last 12 months we have tried running 'pairs of marathons' three times (four for Hannah) and this is the experience so far:

1 week gap - Hannah:
13/10/13 Budapest Marathon 3:01:18
20/10/13 Yorkshire Marathon 2:57:53

2 week gap:
1/12/13 Lancaster 5-3-1 Marathon 2:54:17
15/12/13 Pisa Marathon 2:54:09

2 week gap - Hannah:
1/12/13 Lancaster 5-3-1 Marathon 3:02:50
15/12/13 Pisa Marathon 2:56:54

1 week gap:
6/4/14 Manchester Marathon 2:51:52
13/4/14 London Marathon 2:57:52

1 week gap - Hannah:
6/4/14 Manchester Marathon 3:05:37
13/4/14 London Marathon 3:00:45

2 week gap:
12/10/14 Yorkshire Marathon 2:47:34
27/10/14 Dublin Marathon ??:??:??

2 week gap - Hannah:
12/10/14 Yorkshire Marathon 2:52:08
27/10/14 Dublin Marathon ??:??:??

What will the question marks be this time? Well, if anyone is really bored at work next Monday morning:

The Sandwich Filling - What fills the gap?

The last thing you feel like doing between two marathons is not running. 

The First 7 Days:

The 7 days since Yorkshire has contained 11 runs, Monday to Friday had 8 runs with nothing further than 10k and nothing faster than 8:00/mile and then there were a couple of blasts over the weekend to get the legs back up to speed:

Sat - Huddersfield parkrun
Sun - Stadium Runner's Woodland Challenge (Huddersfield), an off road 6 miler that provided a good feel for how the legs are shaping up. I was quite happy after this one. How? I'm NEVER happy after off road races :p

The Second 7 Days:

The next 7 days leading up to Dublin will consist of one run per day, alternating between 5k and 10k with everything at 8:00/mile+ except Saturday, which will see a parkrun somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, which will be run pretty strongly but not flat out, maybe 19 mins or so.


In the lead up to a marathon we usually carb deplete for 4 days, Mon to Thurs, in both of the last two weeks. However, when you have two marathons two weeks apart you can't really start carb depleting the morning after the first one so there will be just one week of carb depletion before Dublin. There's nothing strict about this, it is just a case of eating predominantly lots of protein for 4 days and then eating normally up to the race. There is very little in the way of 'carb loading', just eating to normal appetite but with a bit of a shift back towards carbs. For the last 10 or so marathons this has worked out fine.

Ready for Dublin?

It is hard to say at this point but it will be approached in the same way as Yorkshire, ie run at the same effort level, and the pace will be whatever it turns out to be. Whether that means 3:15, 3:10, 3:00 or something a bit quicker or a DNF will remain to be seen but I can confidently predict that we will be sharing a pint or two of Dublin's finest with a certain Dr Dan Donnelly on Monday afternoon :)

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