London 2016 training advice

Hi all - I am running the london marathon in three weeks time and have come across a few problems and concerns with my training and am after a little bit of advice.

I reached 18 miles three weeks ago and felt ok during and after. The following week I hit a PB at brentwood half marathon (1.57) and was really happy with that. 
The last two weekends I have attempted to reach 20 miles and have failed miserably... First attempt was in horrible wind and rain and I made it to 7 miles before deciding enough was enough. Yesterday i went out for 20 miles and was feeling the best ive ever felt for the first 8 miles and then my legs slowly began to give up on me and I eventually had to call it a day after 15/16 miles.

I am now looking to start my taper which includes a couple of short midweek runs followed by 13 miles this sunday and then 6 next sunday. My only concern is that ive not hit a long enough distance in training. Do I attempt 20 again this week or will I just do myself more damage for race day? Is having reached 18 miles three weeks ago enough?


Im aware alot of this is in my head but any advice from previous experiences I would be grateful of.


Thanks, Tom  


  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    How fast were you running on your 18 mile run and your recent attempted long runs? And how fast do you hope to run the marathon?

  • From what I've read and my own experience, more big training now won't do you much good, but could do you harm. Lots of people run a marathon having only run 16 miles (I'm one of them!), don't underestimate the effect of the taper, the crowds and the adrenaline. 18 miles 3 weeks ago undoubtedly isn't ideal, but it's far from a disaster.

    Good luck!
  • Thanks for your replies!

    My target has always been to complete the marathon in 4.30 or under. 

    I ran my 18 miler in 2.58 (9.55/mile). 

    Yesterdays 15/16 miles was done at about 10.40/mile. I definitely started off too quick and need to learn to start alot steadier. 

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Even the average pace for that (assuming a massive slow down in the second half) looks a bit fast relative to your marathon pace. I think you're just failing to hit the distance because you're too tired and then you're pushing yourself to run too fast (incidentally, how fast were you running at the start of your run yesterday?).

    I think in your position I'd probably give up on doing any more very long runs, and just have a longer taper and make sure you're well rested on race day. You've done plenty of training already, some people never go beyond 18 miles anyway, and you're already tired, so pushing yourself even harder would be counterproductive. On race day, make sure you don't go any faster than 10:15 pace in the first half, even if you feel great.

  • Yep = you're knackering yourself out running too fast for too long.

    Your 18 miler is faster than your race pace even. You're meant to slow them down.
  • I ditto all of the above - too fast a start drags the energy out of you and sadly you cant recover from that. I have stuck fast to my pace every run and had more energy at the end UNTIL I forgot my own advice on yesterdays 20 miler - I started off doing 9 minute miles for first 13 then struggled badly from 15 onwards - annoyed with myself - got round but didn't feel good!! Lesson learnt!!!

    So easy to fall into the trap that you feel good and before you know it you are running too fast. Don't do any more than you have already now. Just rest and remember where its gone wrong and put it right on the next couple of runs- you will be fine!!!

  • Also Tom - remember that its just not about the physical ability its about mental ability too. Mind over matter. Don't give up. Stay focused - concentrate and if you are struggling don't stop or give up just walk run or slow down to 12 minute miles or similar - to get your mojo back.  Yesterday I so wanted to give up but knew I didn't have that option on the day so kept going. Just remember your goal and aim to get there even if it is slower than you had hoped for. image

  • Thanks for all the replies everyone - really appreciated! 

    Just reading back what you have all said to me makes sense and i'm aware of where I have gone wrong now! Too keen to make a quick start in order to improve my time when really I need to slow it down and take it a lot steadier - finishing the distance is the most important thing after all. 

    I set off yesterday and at one point I ran an 8.10 minute mile - really not necessary at all when I only have to hit 10 min miles in order to finish in 4.30. 

    Yesterdays run definitely got in my head and had me feeling really negative. Will slow it down now and begin my taper. 

    Thanks again to everyone

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