first of all, good job on becoming a marathoner... as for recouperation, most sources suggest at least the number of days for the number of miles raced, 26 for a marathon... As a first timer it may take a bit longer to feel like jumping back in... You want to be sure that you are truly rested as I think the month after a marathon you are more likely to get injured. However you can start jogging easy as soon as you are not sore, or at least can jog without an altered stride... As you get more experience, and more marathons under your belt, you'll be able to judge this much better. Plus sometimes you'll find that you are in better condition, or don't run as fast as you are capable of ding and come out of the marathon with little or no soreness... I've run 24 and this last one I ran too easy... three days later I was jogging with no soreness and ramping up for another marathon next month (four weeks between). Others run back to back days, weekends or many multiples. It can be done if you have the time to get in great condition and your body can take the pounding, or you just run them all easy.
A marathon next spring is very doable.. you may not want to go back to the beginning of whatever program you used for this last marathon. That is don't start back at a long run of 6 miles and ramp up 2 miles per week. Instead consider running the first long run 8 and then jumping it 4 miles per week till you get to 15-16 and then hold there till you choose your spring race, then count back and get your 20s set...or try a more challenging plan... either way, good luck, hope you stay with it... -Rita
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