How soon is too soon to run my next marathon?

November 21, 2017

It doesn’t get any better than the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a marathon. If you’ve ran one, you know the amount of training and months of preparation that go into getting ready for the big race. From long runs on the weekends to early morning runs before work to the tapering and mental challenges, running a marathon is something that deserves to be celebrated.

There’s a feeling of pride you get when you complete 26.2 miles. And while you might be physically exhausted, in a few days, you could feel mentally ready to do another one. This has you asking the question that so many other runners ask, “How soon is too soon to run my next marathon?”

Stick to our advice below, and we’ll be sure to have you back and training in a timely manner.

Recovery Time

One thing that’s important to remember after you finish a marathon is giving yourself the proper rest in between races, before you begin to train for your next 26.2 miles. The recovery process is extremely important if you want to reach the maximum potential for your next race.

While you may feel fine after racing your marathon, muscles, ligaments, tendons and every physiological system just experienced physical duress. In order to recover properly, take at least two to three weeks of easy running. You have to allow your mitochondria to properly develop, which can’t be done in a short period of time. Mitochondria contribute to the production of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy, which in the presence of oxygen will break down fat, carbohydrates and protein, and turn it into energy that is usable. The more mitochondria you have, the more energy you have to give during your workouts.

It’s Important to Work on Different Energy Systems

By factoring in your recovery from your last race and a taper plan, you should wait at least 16 weeks between marathons.

When training for a marathon, it’s essential to develop your aerobic threshold, increasing fuel efficiency and muscular endurance. If you repeat your marathon training every 16 weeks, it’s not going to help your speed system or your running efficiency. Repeating the same schedule and only changing the paces will, in turn, not allow your muscles and metabolic systems to grow or develop.

How to Plan for Your Next Race

If you’re thinking of running another marathon, note that you can plan on running one or two marathons a year, or even three marathons in two years. This will not only allow all of your systems to properly recover, but also give you the mental recovery time that you will also need.

This post was adapted from Runners Connect. Read the full article here.

If you have any questions about preparing for another marathon please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician.

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