Question about event frequency and recovery

Marcel asks

Hi Lee,

I have finished my first marathon with your help in Canberra a week and a half ago. I am currently following the recovery program and it feels like I am recovered already. My question to you is related to how soon you can start proper runs again, as I have started planning for my next marathon already.

I also need advice about how frequently you can run marathons. I am planning to run the Cities marathon on July 29th and run the Sydney marathon on September 16th. Would this be too close together? Or is it possible to recover and be ready again in 6 weeks?


Lee's response

Hi Marcel,

When it comes to recovering from a marathon, the suggested time frame is 4 - 6 weeks and this is not only from the race itself, but the 12 - 16 weeks of punishing training you did prior.
Now everyone is different and I would suggest that you have two weeks post race very easy, then the next two weeks quite moderate and if you get through that, then the next two weeks harder. Please note that even though you feel ok, you will find out exactly if you have recovered or not by the first few quality sessions you do. Most runners recover well, find the easy running ok but then have a real battle doing the quality training so listen to your body.
In regard to time frames between marathons and how many can your run, well this comes down to how well do you want to run them? It is suggested that 2 - 3 a year is what you should aim for as you really need to train adequately for 12 - 16 weeks, race, recover and then go again. You do this if your goal is to get the most out of yourself and run as fast as you can.
If you are just a running junkie with no goals except to just complete them and run them all within yourself, then you could do this every couple of months but eventually this would take its toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally as you have had no recovery time.
You need to work out what your goals are and then decide which race is more important and work your training out from there but it would be detrimental to focus on running hard/ well for those two Sydney marathons only 6 weeks apart.