Running Multiple Marathons

At first thought running a double marathon (i.e. on consecutive days) seems insane. I suspect if you are reading this then you've completed one or more marathons already and have vivid memories of how you felt at the finish line. Perhaps even more importantly how you felt the next day, and the prospect of doing it all over again seems utterly mad, not to mention impossible!

However I'd say that once you've done a marathon or three and are at marathon level fitness if you can do one marathon, then you can do back to back marathons. And if you can do two, how about three? Or four? Or more?


  • Firstly believe you can. Get up each morning with the view "that this is what I shall do today." You'll no doubt feel creaky and stiff and sore and believe it cannot be possible. It can be, believe it.
  • Run the first marathon easy. The harder you run the first marathon the harder it's going to be to complete the next one. Easy back a little and damage will be less and recovery quicker. If you usually complete a marathon in 3:30, look to finish around 3:45. 5:00? Then 5:30. Don't overstress your body on the first day.
  • Consume protein. As soon as you can after the first marathon, get some protein inside you. This will aid the body in repairing itself with the maximum amout of time before you go through this again.
  • Eat a decent amount after the marathon, but not too late. You'll probably be something like 2000-2500-3000 calories in deficit. Eat a decent meal, and as early as you can stomach it really. You don't want to be running around the next day with lots sloshing around in you.
  • Take it as easy as you can between runs. Feet up, lots of sleep, whatever you can manage to allow your body maximum time to repair and recover.
  • If you can wear different shoes on different days. If you're prone to blisters this may help and also on the second day your feet might be slightly swollen so a half size bigger might be useful.
  • No-matter how bad you feel at the start, just get yourself there. Its remarkable how quickly you can improve from a staggering, creaky, shambling mess the first 100 yards into an almost human runner by half a mile. You WILL feel better after a while, it can take me sometimes as much as 7 miles to get the stiffness and soreness out of my legs. By mile 17 I may be totally exhausted, but at least for a while you'll feel OK (though be warned on each subsequent day this "OK" period gets shorter and shorter!
  • Most times you'll be slower on the next day, you'll be tired and creaky, but stick with it, you're doing something remarkable.
  • I'll invariably take "preventative" ibuprofen before each run, just to help with any inflammation issues.
  • I'll often feel hungry during the second (or third...) marathon, so maybe take some more calories with you than usual. I'd suggest "proper" food rather than gels or "running fuel" after a while that can be hard to stomach where maybe a banana, chocolate, Clif Bar or something along those lines seems rather more appealing.

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