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I'm not new to marathon running but in my first three I've always just wanted to get there in about 4 hours. This time I'm going for a particular time, from 3.40 to 3.45. However, I made this decision quite late so I sort of improvised my training for that time. I did my 14 and 16 milers at marathon pace and I was encouraged to see that I could keep the pace for my target allowing for a few slower last miles. So far so good. I intended to keep on that strategy with my 18 tomorrow and 20 in a week but my friends at the club warned me I'm going to wear myself out by always doing my long runs at marathon pace. Indeed, in one interesting and sensible article on this website I read one of the training strategies is to do half of the long run on marathon pace or alternate one week marathon pace long run and one week easy long run.
Now my question: I've done two weeks marathon pace long runs and I've got two long runs left and two weeks of tapering. My legs don't feel very tired but I was wondering what would be best to avoid starting too tired on marathon day and, at the same time, do some marathon pace training in the last stage, considering that I normally do three weeks tapering rather than two.
Half of my twenty miler at marathon pace? Half of my 18 miler at marathon pace and easy 20? No more marathon pace on my long runs and some speed work in my short runs next week?
Many thanks for any advice,