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How soon should you begin training after a Marathon?

Planning your recovery phase in advance of the race will allow you the opportunity to decide what steps to go through afterwards without having the emotions of the event pulling you in different directions. 




Runners would normally suggest about 1 day of “rest” for every mile raced, so for marathon runners, 26 days.

Generally it is recommended that the first 3 to 4 days you indulge yourself. This gives you some mental downtime as well as a physical break. Sleep in, eat some of those foods you denied yourself leading up to the big day. Make sure you haven’t saved up lots of little jobs to fill your downtime. The saying "a change is as good as a rest" doesn't apply here!


Recovery Plan  

Ensure you have a Plan in place Before the Event.

Stage 1. Scope out the finish line and, although you are going to be fatigued, look to give yourself a long walk back to the car or to where you are staying. A brisk walk helps recovery by making it easier for your body to remove accumulated toxins; sitting down and doing nothing is not good practice. 

Stage 2. Look to refuel as quickly as possible. You will have practiced your refuelling strategy during training, but ensure you take on board the essential protein, carbohydrates and liquid.  




Stage 3. When you get back to your hotel room get into a cool bath. Once in, if you can find some, begin to add ice. Alternatively if you don’t have a bath, grab the shower and turn the flow to the cold setting. You can aim the shower head onto the sore parts of your body. Keep with cool baths or showers for 3 – 4 days. 

Stage 4. During the early days after the race, do some gentle stretching and movement; go for a walk. Drink lots of fluids. All these actions will reduce muscle soreness. Keep this going until stage 5. 

Stage 5. At about 4 to 5 days after your marathon you should begin some light running or alternative training like cycling or swimming. Keep stretching several times a day. You should be aiming for about 35 – 45 minutes per session at an easy intensity.


Rebuilding your Training

An easy way to rebuild your training would be to reverse your pre-race taper and you should be aiming to build the miles over a 3 to 4 week period. Keep tabs on any soreness as your body may need extra time to recover and prevent injury. 

Keep monitoring your Heart Rate. If you use a HR monitor you will know you resting HR (RHR). If your RHR is 10 beats or more above normal, your body hasn’t recovered so revise your rebuilding plan. Again, be aware that your actual RHR may dip below the normal RHR for 1 or 2 days and this may also be a sign of an illness.




The feeling of achievement is a tremendous emotion when you cross the finish line. Enjoy the moments that follow and give yourself a huge pat on the back. You have trained very hard for the event and have performed to a high standard. After the event your recovery period should be just as professional and enjoyable.

Categories: All topics, Running

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