Multiple Marathon Monday

Multiple Marathon Monday: Multiple Marathons or Ultra Marathons

Here is a post that looks for some feedback from readers. I have written many posts on Multiple Marathoning and the different options available to put your endurance to the test. Now for today’s post and questions!

Multiple Marathon Monday: Multiple Marathons or Ultra Marathons?

Running marathons on consecutive days is a very difficult task. It is one that puts great stress on your body and really shows you what you are capable of accomplishing. Then you have ultramarathons. This is a race of a different kind. An ultramarathon is any race over the marathon distance with the typical ultramarathon distance starting witht he 50K. Which task do you think is the more difficult one?

Multiple Marathons

Those of you who have run a marathon know the muscle fatigue that sets in following the finish. It can make you hobble for the next 3 or 4 days and make those around you surprised that you actually enjoy this by the look of things. πŸ™‚ Your legs are not the only part that feels it – your core is sore, your body can be dehydrated, you can have gastrointestinal issues, you can have a headache, you can be sunburned from being outside so long, etc, etc. πŸ™‚ Now imagine going to bed, waking up, and doing it all over again! How does that sound? πŸ™‚

It can be difficult to get your legs back up under you for a double. The worse part about such an endeavor is the first step on day two. The hobbling will actually wear off after a few miles but it can take a little while and really make you wonder why you chose to do this. Multiple marathoning can be difficult but it is definitely a fantastic feeling to accomplish two marathon distances in two days!

Ultra Marathons

Now we come on the other beast. Ultra marathons are an incredible experience and another distance that can really make you learn a lot about your fitness and your body. Distances of 50 miles or greater take some extra training to prepare for given the enormous strain that it can take on you. For a marathon, it is possible to just get by with gels and fluids. Once you enter the territory of 50 miles and longer, you need to transition to regular foods to give you the caloric intake you need to make up for the rate at which you are burning off your reserves. This takes additional training to learn to eat regular food on the run. In addition, you need to incorporate walking into the whole training as well so that you can exercise those muscles as well as the ones for running.

It is amazing how bad you can feel after you pass the 30 mile mark! From that point, the mind becomes your greatest enemy or it can be your greatest ally. Everything is sore – and you realize that you have another 20 miles (or greater) until the finish! That makes everything feel worse! You start getting blisters and your joints become very sore. This all is happening and you have only just crested the half-way point. It really takes a lot out of you! But, the feeling of running a 50 miler (or greater) is really something else when you realize what you have pushed yourself to do!

So, which is harder?

I have a hard time answering that question myself! Both are very difficult and different. I remember one time when the two met (kind of) – I was doing a 24 hour race and began to have a lot of stomach issues after running 35 miles. So, I went into to my car for a little while to rest and try to sleep it off. I ended up staying in there for about 4 hours. After I got up, I headed back out again. Not easy!

I have run many ultra marathons and run the marathon distance many times in consecutive days – if I absolutely had to pick, I think I would say the consecutive marathons is the harder of the two. Which do you find to be the harder? If you have not done them yet, which do you imagine would be harder?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.