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How soon should you start running after a marathon?

28.04.24 - ABP Newport Marathon Festival -

CONGRATULATIONS if you’ve just completed the ABP Newport Marathon. You’re part of the 0.01% of the world’s population to have ever completed the distance!

But now that it’s over you may be left wondering how long you should leave it before you start running again, particularly if you’ve got another race to work towards.

While everyone is different, one of the biggest mistakes runners can make is not taking enough time to rest – it can lead to overtraining, injuries and burnout.

Run 4 Wales Race Director and double Olympic marathoner, Steve Brace, shares his advice:

Allow your body to rest: You’ve just put your body through an incredible amount of stress so it’s important you give yourself enough time to rest and recover. How many days is determined by how your race went, your running history and how you feel. Some people recommend you take a day off for every mile raced, but this really does vary for individuals. The main thing is to listen to your body and allow yourself at least a week off. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security if you’re not aching straight away as you may experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

What to do while resting: When resting, you should do exactly that. Sleep in, refuel and allow yourself to enjoy your incredible achievement. You could even look to have a massage to help ease any muscle aches or ease soreness through foam rolling.

Getting into active recovery: Once your body is no longer feeling sore, aches have subsided and any blisters have healed, you could look to incorporate some ‘active recovery’ into your routine. This would mean introducing some low intensity exercise for a short amount of time such as a walk, swimming, cycling, yoga or even some gentle jogging. Keeping your body moving through light exercise boosts your circulation and can help you recover more quickly through bringing fresh oxygen to your muscles and carrying away waste.

Returning to running: When your body is feeling ready to go again, ease yourself back into running with some easy, short runs. You need to then look at reverse tapering by gradually building your weekly mileage back up again. When you begin, keep listening to your body and be alert to what your heart rate and breathing is doing. If your heart rate spikes or your breathing is difficult, you’re likely still recovering so allow yourself some extra time until they return to normal. While it’s not advisable to do another long run straight away, some people may find that with a refreshed body, they feel their fittest and may perform at their best over a short distance at this stage.

Plan what to do next: You’ve just achieved an amazing goal and your recovery period is a great time to assess how it went and plan what you want to do next. Do you want to do another event? A different distance? Have a break? Plan your next block of training and set your goals and give yourself something to get excited for.

Thinking of doing another event? There are still plenty of races to take part in the Run 4 Wales 2024 race calendar: run4wales.org/events/ 

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Those who have been inspired by this year’s event can sign up for the ABP Newport Marathon and Half Marathon, which takes place on Sunday 13 April 2025, now. Entry to the 10K and Junior Races will be announced later in the year.

Those who sign up to the Marathon before 31 May can benefit from a discounted launch offer entry, saving themselves 25% versus general entry. Those signing up to the Half Marathon before 31 May can take advantage of a launch offer saving of £10 off general entry.

For more information visit: newportwalesmarathon.co.uk/