Last weekend I ran the Sandy Point Marathon in Melbourne, Australia in blustery and challenging conditions and finished in a reasonable 3:45, although the last six kilometres were not the most pleasant. I was happy with that given my main focus remains on the Melbourne Marathon on October 13 and I had only done one run of 30km or more in the lead up to last weekends race; this run was essentially a training run for October.
I was concerned how I would pull up after the race, but Monday morning came around with nothing more than slightly heavy legs; stairs were fine, walking was ok and I made sure not to stay seated in the one position for too long. I stretched, wore compression tights to bed and hydrated plenty. So come Tuesday I was looking on a running forum and saw that another smaller, regional marathon was on this weekend. Surely not? Surely I wouldn’t be thinking of another run already? What would it mean for my Melbourne preparations?
Well, I thought about it. The main area I needed to focus on between now and Melbourne was building up endurance and getting in those 20 mile runs. I was going to be running this weekend anyway although I had only half marathon distance on my schedule but then 30km the next weekend. Why not change it up, run a back to back marathon and get another solid hitout in. 7 weeks out from Melbourne meant that this was a great time to be putting in the really long distance and still have time to recover and adapt for my main race.
Originally I thought I was pushing my luck doing two marathons in eight weeks. No training plan I have ever read recommends running the full marathon distance – in fact most are pretty strong in their direction not to run the full distance. They say the recovery will take too long and the risk for injury, illness and muscle damage is high. They may be right but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had done one marathon and recovered really well.
I waited to see how the week unfolded; a gentle run on Wednesday morning and the legs felt good. My interest piqued. Entry fees were much cheaper than normal marathons and the run was three laps of a 14km loop. This also worked in my favour; if I got to 28km into the race and felt atrocious I could simply pull out and not have to worry about getting to the finish line. Thursday morning I ran again, a conservative effort run but my pace was amazing. It was enough to sway me; I entered and now will be doing two marathons in seven days!
I will certainly be taking it easier this week and running conservatively, perhaps working towards achieving a negative split if I feel good at the end as opposed to blowing up.
I figure I may never get this opportunity to test myself in this way and say I have done it, and I remain convinced that it will help not hinder me come October. That remains my key race for the year so I don’t want to stuff that up, but the lure of this has drawn me in. I’ll never know if I don’t challenge myself and I can’t back down now.
Have you ever run the marathon distance in training for a race?