I just completed my first marathon three weeks ago. Though I was well-trained and healthy, I didn't have a great experience, mostly because of the weather (we had a very cool spring and a hot race day).
I had planned to run a half marathon in the fall (9/22), but really want to do another full instead. The only thing that's keeping me from signing up right now are cautions that I have read and heard about running more than one marathon a year. Is there any truth to this?
If you are in good shape, there is absolutely nothing wrong with running two marathons in a year - in fact that is, for many strong runners, the norm.
There are runners who run up to 75 marathons or more per year, but we know that they're nuts. Professional marathoners will typically run 2 (or occasionally 3) world-class marathons per year. Based on their experience, it's safe to say that 2 or 3 marathons per year is an optimal number to allow the body to get optimal training, but also sufficient rest and recovery.
In the more normal range are the strong but typical marathoners who are shooting to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Those runners will use a Fall marathon to qualify for Boston and also plan to run Boston in April. For many this is an annual program, and for them the two marathon per year plan seems to work out perfectly.
Of course, everything depends on your health, fitness, and commitment to training properly. If those are there, then a second marathon in the same year should be no problem.
- John Elliott
John has run multiple marathons in a year and knows others who have run up to 200 marathons in a year (he doesn't recommend that).