How much exercise can you handle in a year? "The answer comes down to muscle damage," says Tim Mickleborough, professor of exercise physiology at Indiana University. For example, he says, "eight weeks after completing a marathon, there's still muscle-cell regeneration going on. You haven't fully recovered, even though you might feel like you have."
Follow our guide to the number of yearly endurance tests a well-trained individual can manage and stay on the healthy side of the overtraining threshold.
|EVENT||NO. PER YEAR||R&R AFTER EVENT||TIME UNTIL NEXT RACE|
|Marathons||2 per year||8 weeks||6 months|
|Half Marathons||4 per year||4 weeks||3 months|
|Ironman Triathlons||2 per year||8 weeks||6 months|
|Adventure Races||3 per year||6 weeks||3 months|
|Century Rides||6 per year||1 week||2 months|
|Ultramarathons||1 every other year||8 weeks||Cross-train during off-year|