2 Marathons, 1 Week

This year I’ll be tackling the Brighton marathon (15/04/2018) and 7 days later I’ll be lucky enough to run the London Marathon (22/04/2018). London has always been my “A race” since I got a love for running, watching it on TV and last 2 years watching it on the streets in the sun, pint in hand – bliss. However, as the ballot is about as successful as Newcastle United’s cup record I decided to sign up to Brighton Marathon way in advance; before the cheeky buggers hike up that price to all those disappointed with London rejection.

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Now I may have been unlucky in the ballot, but somehow, someway the guy’s at New Balance decided to pick me as one of 20 runners to join them at London Marathon; an opportunity I could not refuse!! Realistically I had 3 options – 1)  Run both, but take both easy, 2) Try defer Brighton and focus all on London (Brighton hotel already booked), 3) Email New Balance and try defer London.

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In fact there was only one option I really considered and that was to run both. But I have no idea how to tackle this or how my body is going to react. My first 3 marathons have been spread out – March 2016, April 2017, September 2017 and after all 3 I’ve needed at least a couple of weeks before I can run (slowly) again. So there’s my predicament – how do I tackle 2 marathons in 7 days without breaking… It may sound easy for some, but we are all different and my body just isn’t used to long distances consistently (I rarely hit 50 km a week even on the highest mileage weeks of marathon training).

 

The Goal

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So far each marathon I have completed has been a PB – 3:43 to 3:28 to 3:26 I know that isn’t realistic this time round, or a sensible target. However, I don’t just want to plod round either. I know I have come along way since my Barcelona marathon in 2016 and therefore I want that to remain my slowest marathon –

I want to run both Brighton and London in sub 03:43:19 – if I achieve that I will be absolutely delighted. I feel it is a goal well within my reach, but hard enough that I will have to put in the training and really look at how I can increase my recovery time in that week between both races.

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Training

I want to run 2 20 mile runs before Brighton. For my first 3 marathon I haven’t followed any plan, however the last 6 weeks are all fairly similar – 20 mile, 18 mile, 22 mile, taper, taper, race.

This time round I need to mix it up. I don’t think I can train my body quickly enough to run that far and therefore my plan is 18 mile, 18 mile, 20 mile, taper, taper, race, race. Hitting only one 20 mile run before Brighton is worrying me a little and I know those last 6 miles will be tough, even if I am taking it a bit slower than my PB pace. I would hate to go into the race unprepared but hoping my previous experience will pull me through.

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Recovery

This will be the key part. After my first 3 marathons I have gone out out straight from the race and drank til I can no longer stay awake. Repeat for x days along with all the crappy food. Obviously this doesn’t help and will be the factor to whether London will be a success or a complete 26.3 mile slog.

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After Brighton I will not drink…(much) and will do my best to eat healthy. My diet has never been great so easier said than done however I know I need to improve this to be able to complete both marathons.

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As well as eating right, I need to stretch – a lot more than I do now. I’m terrible for finishing a race and sitting down for the rest of the day. I never foam roll even though I know how much it can help. I do believe the rest and recovery part will be the main factor whether I can complete both marathons. It will be mentally the hardest part for myself too.

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Worries

My biggest concern is completely hating London because I haven’t recovered from Brighton in time. As mentioned, London is my number one race and I do want to enjoy it. But I do want to do it justice and that is why I still have a time goal. Like all my marathons so far I will be taking my gopro for the race and film as much as possible. I loved doing this in Berlin as it really takes your mind off the run during the tough times!

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Tips

Please, please provide me with any tips you may have. Nutrition, Stretching, Training, Clothing –  anything is greatly appreciated! This really is unknown territory for myself but I cannot wait for the challenge and really do understand how fortunate I am to be in this situation.

I’ll provide an update on my training soon and also how I am changing my usual plan to train for 2 races rather than 1.

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5 comments

  1. Matt! You’ll do amazing I’m sure of it. Don’t worry about just one 20miler, it’ll be enough. You’ll be more than prepared. I’d suggest getting strength work in place too for the leg gains! One thing I’ve learnt this year is focus on your recovery…sounds stupid but get really sciencey🤓 research muscle recovery, look up journals on how to aid muscle recovery to really help you. Also research nutrition-maybe even look to something like fresh fitness food for the week after Brighton? So you can have someone who caters your meals to exactly what you need post marathon! Anyway whatever the outcome YOU CAN DO THIS

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  2. Good luck with both of these, its all very doable. Your times are far quicker than anything i could do so i think you need to 1, either do both comfortably 2, do brighton as you wish then go enjoy london with no pace aims.
    Last july i ran 10 in 10 days, since then its a mara every 2 or 3 weeks, but my pace differs from yours, i.e. im much slower so i find it easy to pace them. I did a back to back on new years eve / new years day just by taking them sensibly.
    I dont mention what ive done as look at me, im good. Im overweight, dont eat properly, dont do core work and cant remember the last time i used a roller. I just plod on.
    But if i were doing what your planning to do i would do nothing different for the run in to Brighton, run Brighton at normal pace. Next 2 days after Brighton do a short recovery runs, rest wednesday, 10 k steady on thursday, rest friday, steady 5k saturday. On the monday / tuesday after Brighton, try to get a leg massage. Enjoy the london run. You’ll be surprised that after a be kind to the legs week you will be fine for london.
    Its very doable. Good luck.

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    • Thank you really appreciate those tips for the week inbetween. Not sure I’ll be able to do a 10k Thursday but I’ll see what I can manage at a very steady pace!

      A marathon every few weeks is amazing, I don’t think my body will ever allow that!

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  3. I have decided not to run Brighton even though I have a place because I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk before London- looking at your photos I am sure this won’t be the case for you. Good luck

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