Help with terrible taper...

Hello everyone,

im looking for a little advice on my taper. I am running the Edinburgh marathon next Sunday and training was going well. I completed my last 21mile run (I have done 2x other 20 milers) over the bank holiday weekend. Unfortunately on that Tuesday (May 7) I was called to Devon to be with my father who had terminal cancer. He died the following day. I have decided to run the marathon anyway in his memory though I think my target time may be hard to achieve with the lack of mental focus I currently seem to have.  Following his death last Wednesday I didn't run at all until this Monday where I did 5miles easy with 2miles at marathon pace.

My question is really what can I do over the next 10 days to tick over and get me to the marathon as strong and rested as possible whilst not losing any fitness. Is a final 10 miler too much to do today? I probably won't be able to run Thursday or Friday due to the funeral. Mentally I am finding it quite hard to motivate myself to do much and certainly can't do anything that's too hard on myself. Shall I just tick over with 4-5miles every second day or is there something better to do? Advice MUCH appreciated!


  • Really sorry to hear that. A 10 miler sounds good to me. You have done all the hard work so do what you feel like.

  • Hi Rach,

    Wow, I'm sorry to hear that- my dad died last year, cancer too,  and my sister ran the London marathon a week later.  My running didn't go quite so well last year though.

    We found the uplifting atmosphere of London was really wonderful, and I think if you can aim to enjoy your race as much as possible. whilst remembering your dad, you'll be flying.  Part of what helped me with my last marathon a few days ago was thinking of how my dad fought, and still walked longish distances (he volunteered for the local scout group and they had a challenge to walk 26 miles of the Essex way within 24 hours) when he only had 1 working lung, so perhap you can draw strength from your father's fight.

    I would say go out today with a route you can bail on if you aren't feeling it.  Perhaps aim for between 6 and 10.  You have about 10 days left right?  

    Perhaps then do another 6-8 mile run this weekend, and then just a couple miles on the saturday at your intended race pace, just to loosen your body up for a bit of stretching etc.

    I know its hard to hear right now, but I'm just over a year on from what you've just experienced, and it does get better!


  • Hi Rach 


    I'm so sorry to hear about your father.


    I think the main thing for the marathon is to remember that you have done all the training and you have your long runs under your belt. There's not a lot you can do now to affect your fitness in either way. Just do what you can and keep yourself ticking over. I'm currently doing the same for injury reasons. 




  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    Sorry to hear your news image  You won't lose much fitness so I would just do whatever you feel like and whatever makes you feel a little better/helps you cope.

    I hope you have a good race, but if it comes to it and you don't feel like it, then don't race. There are other races...

  • Hi All,

    apologies, the funeral was on Friday so I haven't had a chance to thank you all for your replies. Angela, I am so sorry to hear about your father, it is a tough thing to go through but I know I am not the only one who has ever experienced loss so I am trying not to wallow about it but just be gentle with myself.


    i managed to run 2 x 5 miles last week with some pace work and a few short intervals and a 3miler this weekend. I am feeling very tired now though so I will be prioritising rest, hydration and good food before next weekend. What will be will be eh?


    thank you again for your support, it is so greatly appreciated.


    Rach x

  • So sorry to hear your news Iron Rach. I too am running next weekend and had a break in training last week due to illness. I read something Seb Coe wrote about the last 3 weeks of taper where he said " you can't gain much, but you can fXXck a lot up", so I'm happy in the knowledge that not getting my miles in means I've erred on the side of caution image..

    There is a very active Edinburgh Marathon thread in Spring Marathons. If you feel you would like to run with someone I'm sure others will make themselves known to you. I'm aiming for around 4hrs but who knows how it will go.

    I wish you all the best. To get around will be an amazing feat at such a difficult time. I am running Edinburgh because I was born there and my mum died of Cancer before I could get back from Australia to say goodbye (3 days before I was flying back with my 9 month old baby).

    It's devestating losing a parent- and can be physically quite exhausting. take good care of yourself. I will be thinking of you and willing you on image.

    Warm wishes,




  • Hi Cbo.

    What a lovely message, thank you so much. I am so sorry to hear about your Mum, how terribly sad not to be there with her. Whenever it is hard I am so so grateful that I was able to be with my Dad in the last moments. I do understand how fortunate that makes me and it is a comfort.

    I am so physically tired and terribly apathetic about things at the moment which will make the marathon tough. I would really like to be able to do the four hours but the focus that may require may just be about of my reach at this time. I hope I can just see the achievement it will be to finish. My husband is raising money for prostate cancer uk which is why we chose to continue to run so supporting him whilst he raises money for such a good cause and one so close to my heart should be reward enough.

    Wishing you the very best of luck for this weekend and thank you again for your kind words, they really do mean a lot.  To hear how you and Angela are coping is very reassuring and makes me realise that, though this is hard, many many people have to face loss every day and I, like them, will get through it.


    Best wishes and thanks,

    Rach x

  • Hi Rach, I think it really helps to know all the feelings you are going through are quite natural.  Personally, I prepared myself by spendinng a lot of time on the Macmillan Website and the section about Bereavement.  Helped to reassure me that some of the times when i wasn't acting like myself, that it was all part of the process.

    I also saw a counsellor for a period of time, and one of the most important lessons she taught me was how important it was to feel these feelings you're having, accept there will be times where out of the blue something will cause me to burst into tears.  Even now over a year on, and I still get those moments, though they are much rarer now.

    As someone who is tough cookie enough to run a marathon, I'm sure both you and Cbo will do great, and it will mean all the more because of your personal connections to the race and the charity.

    Good luck! and make sure you come back on here to tell us how you did!



  • Your right Angela about feeling feelings. I too saw a therapist when I returned to the UK- it was invaluable ( especially a person centred one or someone specialising in stages of grief).......


    I can be on a training run and think of how proud mum would be and it sends a tingle and a boost of energy!! Got to be helpful right image..

    It sounds like you are runnign with someone, but if you want to meet at the start ( I'm london rd,  private message me image..Best of luck, we will all be thinking of you.




  • Thank you once again for the support and advice, it has been very much appreciated. I have struggled with rollercoaster emotions over the last few days where I am fine one minute and then very sad the next but I hope those periods will lesson as time passes.

    Cbo, thank you for the offer of the meet up. I am fortunate to be running with my hubby and we are starting from Regent Road (is the London Road start for special/speedy people??!) but I will certainly come on and let you know how it goes. I think whatever happens I should be proud but it will be difficult if I fall short of my goal having trained so hard. C'est la vie eh?

    Best of luck for Sunday to you and all who are running, I hope you have a wonderful and successful race.

    Very many thanks again, Rach xx

  • So, tough race for many reasons. Knew it wasn't my day after about 6miles when, going downhill, I just couldn't make my target pace. Took a lot of willpower to continue at that point but I did it. Found struggling hubby at 21miles so decided to wander home together and not worry about time. Finished hand in hand in 4.34 so what really is there to complain about?! This race was always going to be about more than my sub-4 target. Hope you all had a good race and thanks again for the support.

    Rach x

  • Well done Iron Rach,

    I think it was definatly one of those days where it was about more than the race- certainly for me. It was a mentally tough one for another reason and a real inward journey. I decided at half marathon to not worry about time and never looked at my garmmin pace watch until the end. I decided to concentrate all my efforts on the finish...there will be other races, but there was never going to be another Edinburgh 2013, so being present and going through teh process of the Marathon taught me more than can be gained by a sub this stage ( I did 4:03:57).

    Once again well done.... you are clearly a strong woman, wife and daughter. Stay well.


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