So I cooked up this challenge, 3 marathons in 3 days, circumnavigating the Isle of Wight. For more details go to the IW Marathon Trilogy page.
I was very interested in how it would feel running more than one marathon. I’d never run the day after a marathon, not even a mile. Would I be able to run a second? A third? Would it get easier? Time to find out.
I’d trained hard for this, see previous post. Jonny had put a demanding training schedule in place, that pushed my mileage up, and worked in some combinations of runs around some of the weekends, with 2 or 3 days in a row of medium to long runs.
From January through to a couple of weeks before the challenge, I managed to do at least 40 miles each week for 10 weeks in a row. That’s a lot for me, and put 2021 well on track to be my biggest mileage year by some way.
So, how did it go?
Marathon #1 – Objective here was to keep the pace steady, and keep something in the tank for days 2 and 3. It was a chilly morning as I set off with my mate Simon, fresh from his recent maiden ultra. We had support for the run from Simon’s mum and daughter, with a few pit stops for drinks and jelly babies.
This is a beautiful run around the north east coast of the Isle of Wight. We kept the pace steady, but, towards the end of the run I started to feel tired. This did not bode well for the days to come. We finished in about 4:50, not bad.
Headed home to start replenishing all those missing calories. Jumped in the bath for a soak, and then when I got out of the bath, I got a big clue to what went wrong today when I saw myself in the mirror! My bright red beacon of a face was looking back at me. I was pretty badly sunburnt, no wonder I was feeling wiped out!
Ate lots, drank more, convinced the wife to message my legs. Still felt rubbish, but brushed up on the route for tomorrow and then went to bed.
Marathon #2 – Woke up and felt wayyyy better 🙂
The mistake for day 2 was in the logistics department. Was meeting my mate Keith at the end of the run and driving to the start. Was late as I forgot the all important sun peak, and we underestimated how long it would take to drive back to the start, meaning we didn’t start running until 10:45am.
The run was a brute! 3000ft plus of elevation. The early stage in particular was very hilly through Shanklin and Ventnor, but eventually got to the long stretch of coastal path across the back of the Island.
Me and Keith were not rushing, the objective was to finish tomorrow, which Keith was also planning on doing. We took it easy, stopped and drank when we wanted, picked football teams to pass the time and relentlessly took the piss out of each other!
We had support today from Zoe (day 3 runner) and Steve, who turned up a couple of times with Coke and sweets, which were very welcome.
Eventually after a long day, we ran over Tennyson Down to the Needles and to the finish. Closer to 6 hours today, but we finished happy and feeling a lot better than day 1.
Off home to carry on eating and drinking. Sounds easy doesn’t it, but this was becoming a problem. 3,000 calories burnt on each marathon, plus 2,500 needed in a day anyway. I found that I just could not eat enough without getting indigestion. If I ever multi-day marathon again I’d have to re-think what I was eating.
Marathon #3 – The last leg. Felt OK at the start, and was looking forward to having more company today as it was Saturday. 4 of us started, me, Zoe, Keith and Petya. At halfway Petya dropped out, and Neil, Gareth and Carolyn joined us to make a perfect Covid safe team of 6.
We had fun on day 3, running around the north west part of the Island, along the coast and around the estuary at Newtown. Steve was popping up en route to top us up on Lucozade, Coke and flapjack.
It felt OK today. We did have some wobbles and minor sense of humour failures with 3 or 4 miles to go, but we soon picked up and headed to home for wine and chips!
So the job was done. Was it hard? Of course. As hard as I thought? Probably not. Lesson learned? Don’t forget the suncream. Hardest part? Eating enough calories. Does the body get used to running every day? Yes I think you do fall into a routine of plodding along.