During the next several weeks throughout this fall marathon season we’re going to post some important marathon recovery tips. How you approach the weeks following your marathon can make a huge difference when you start training towards a new goal.

Run SMART coach Mike Smith leads us off with his tips on long-term marathon recovery.

How to approach the weeks following a marathon

First week after race. No running. Hide the shoes, sleep in and enjoy some much-needed rest. It’s important for your long-term progression as a runner that you recover properly after a long build-up and grueling 26.2-mile race. In the first week limit your activity to low-impact cardio like biking and swimming to help speed up the recovery process.

Second week after race. Limit your running to 50% of the amount of running you were doing at your peak. So if you were running six times a week during your marathon build-up then keep this week to three runs. Don’t worry about pace this week. Keep your runs easy and do not exceed 45 minutes per run.

Third week after race. By the third week you can increase the number of days you were running at your peak during the marathon build-up but continue to limit the duration to 45 minutes and maintain a low intensity. These runs should be relaxing.

Fourth week after race. After four weeks, if you want, you can add back in workouts but we recommend introducing Fartlek running first which is periods of faster running followed by easy running. Don’t worry about pace yet, just focus on an easy transition back into harder running and limit the length of your pickups to 2-3 minutes.

When should I race again? Not until the fourth week should you begin to start thinking about doing another race. It’s important to wait until your body is ready both mentally and physically. It takes a long time to properly recover so be patient but when you start to get that itch again after the fourth week of recovery, we think it’s okay to look for another race.