Active.com has an article about taking a break after your Fall marathon.
Training for a marathon is a long, arduous process that involves 18 weeks of gradually tearing down an athlete’s body and rebuilding it. Once a runner hits the starting line, he or she has developed a highly tuned aerobic and energy distribution machine. That’s the good news. The bad news is, it’s wrapped inside an abused and overworked skeletal and muscular system. It’s the equivalent of driving a car 200,000 miles, dropping a high-performance engine in it and trying to race the Indianapolis 500. The engine should hold up fine, but chances are, the chassis is going to have a few worn-out or broken parts before it’s over.
For my own training, I partly agree with Todd Henderlong’s opinion on the matter, and in fact took a month off after my last marathon. However, while it is a good idea to give yourself some time to rest and recover after a marathon, I do not believe that 2 months is necessarily called for, especially in competitive (as opposed to recreational) athletes.
This is not to say that a month off and then a month easy is a bad thing. For most folk, it is probably a good idea. I just don’t think that that much time off is neccessary for everybody.
I have been averaging two marathons per year for the last few. I run a marathon in the Spring, take a few weeks rest, and then work (gradually) into my 5k and 10k racing season. In the Fall, I run another marathon, take a month off, and then start training easy again for next Spring. In effect, I will be taking my two months as he has it outlined after my Fall race, but I certainly would not want to take two months off after my Spring race. Any racing I do in the Winter tends to be recreational anyway.
In the future, I may start running 3 or more marathons in a year, in which case I may run them back to back. I almost did that this year; I considered running one in early September along with my race in late October.
Rest won’t hurt you and can be just what is needed to rejuvenate a marathoner after their race, but don’t feel like you need to cut out almost 20% of your racing year per marathon that you run. The best advice is, try not to be too stupid.