Last 20 miler

Hi there,

I would still like to do a 20 before my marathon on 7th April because I´ve only managed to squeeze in an 18 longest run in my training. This means reducing the taper to two weeks although a 3 week taper is usually recommended for best performance. From experience reducing the mileage less on my 3 week taper for my last marathon seemed to produce better results. Not only did I improve my time but I also finished very strong. So I am just wondering whether a two week taper could suit me better. Also considering that my training plan is not a hard one, more like a basic one in terms of mileage at least (speed is better than beginner´s but I have never done much speed work).

Or are three weeks definitely better to recover and refuel glycogen.

Should probably add that 3 weeks before my marathon on my 18 miler yesterday I felt strong and was running at a brisk pace (2.35). I´m aiming for sub 3.45 on race day.

Many thanks,



  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    I guess you can give it a try as we are all different.  

    If it was me, I would make sure I ran it at an easy pace and thought of it as time on my feet, i.e. taking roughly marathon time to complete the shorter 20m distance, rather than a test of pacing etc. 20 miles in 3:45 would be 11:15 min/mile which is probably too slow, but as your target pace for the marathon is 8:35/min/mile, around the 10:00 min/mile (max of 9:30 min/mile) would be the aim, i.e running for 3 hours and 20 mins as a target.

    But only two long runs in marathon training doesn't sound enough to have built the necessary endurance base, so I suspect you'll suffer towards the end of the marathon regardless of whether you do the second Long Run or not.

  • Thank you very much for your advice, stutyr. I meant only an 18 miler on this "round". I normally build myself up twice, 14-16-18-20, two weeks easy and then the same again. I´ve tested it and it works for me. My worry is more whether it is pushing it too much if I do a long run two weeks before. But as you say, we´re all different and, apart from wanting to do a 20 as part of the my build-up process which gives me confidence, I guess I would also like to try whether two weeks of taper works best for me.

  • Also-ranAlso-ran ✭✭✭

    We are all different, and some will have been hammering out 60 - 100+ miles per week for weeks on end - I've no doubt that 3 week taper is appropriate there. This time I conciously cut back my mileage as part of 'managing & minimising' injury. I am nowhere near as tired compared to last time and will probably go with a 2 week taper, and will do 22m+ lsr 3 weeks out and 20m lsr 2 weeks out. For me that is ok as I tend to do one 20miler per week anyway and I have an idea on my recovery timescales.

    What you need to do is weigh up the confidence aspect against the potential recovery time required from your 20 miler. Think back to how you coped previously, and go for it if the risk is low.


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