Length of taper for Manchester Marathon

I have the Manchester Marathon on Sun April 28th and would like to go out on a 20 mile run tomorrow on Tuesday 16th. I have been a regular runner since last Spetember when I started weekly Parkrunning. I decided to do the Marathon at the beginning of February. My weekly routine since Feb has been training at my local club (East Cheshire Harriers) on Tues and Thurs which is mainly 2 or 5 minute intervals around the track for an hour at a time, Parkrun Saturdays (now down to 19.48 with 10k at 40.48) then long run Sundays. My long runs have built up from 10 miles to 18 miles, for the longer runs I've done 2 lots of 16 and 1 lot of 18 all at about 8.30 to 9 pace. Given that I've only really been doing the longer stuff beyond 5k and 10k training since February I wasn't sure whether a three/four week taper is necessary. I'd like to fit in a 20 miler tomorrow then take it easy up to race day, this'll be a good confidence booster but was unsure if it would allow me enough time to recover over the next 12 days, I'd  be going a minute slower than race pace, say 9min miles so I'd of thought so, but the often quoted requirement for a three/four week taper has put a little doubt in my mind.

Thanks in advance and good luck to anybody else running on the day!


  • I'd not do it so close to race date. You're better off going in 10% undertrained than 1% overtrained. Save your legs for the day.

    To do a good marathon you need to be REALLY happy running 20 milers. So doing one so close to the race isn't really going to let you get there, and will probably go against you.

    For the next marathon - aim to run 5 or 6 20 milers and build in that taper.

    Enjoy your race !
  • Don't do it, you will regret it.  Last 20 miler would be 3 weeks out for a novice marathoner and only experienced marathoners would really do one 14--20 days pre race.  They say you need a day a mile to recover from a long run, you would still be tired and wouldn't do the race justice. Everyone needs to taper. 

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    What he said.  You certainly don't want to be stressing your body beyond what you've done up to now. If you want the confidence of having one more longish run inside you, maybe 14/15 tops.  Keep a bit of quality in your taper training to stay sharp, but don't hammer anything.

  • Good advice, thanks, always been wary of the need to taper since I did my first marathon as a complete newbie and thought it might be a good idea to do a heavy leg weights session with barbell squats etc 4 days before the big race, really, really, really bad idea.... as was running in what I didn't realise at the time were racing flats, you can imagine the painimage The problem is you can think you are recovered after three to four days following on from a long run but the deeper impact of a recent long run might only begin to surface after 8 or 9 miles on race day and then it's too late, there's no turning back. Advice heeded, think it will be a much shorter morale boosting 14 miler, then a few short low intensity speed sessions over the next 12 days and a parkrun to keep the speed in the legs, hoping to get under 4 hours.

    Thanks again!

  • LOL - thanks for the tips on the heavy weights session 4 days before a marathon. I'd not thought of that, but now I know its a bad idea - I shall heed your advice ! image

    Have a good race.
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