taper advice

Hi there, I'm a bit of a plodder who's doing the London Marathon is a few weeks and am after a little advice. My training was going ok (just one week off to recover from runners knee), with me reaching 19 miles in about 3 hours. But, unfortunately, I was struck down with a bit of a cold last week and the weekend so missed my final long run of 20 miles yesterday. I'm now supposed to be beginning my taper but was wondering if I should try and squeeze in the final long run this Wednesday? I've completed 16, 18, 19 miles already, but I'm worried I have not reached the magic 20 miles. If I just pick up the plan now it will mean I won't have ran any real distance for two weeks - with next longish run of 13 miles this Sunday - and a four week taper which seems a long time. I don't want to do more harm than good, but I also don't want to lose my fitness I'm very confused about what to do next : / Thanks all.


  • It's only 20 days till London so not sure where you are getting the 4 week taper from?

    You have already done several long runs up to 19 miles, I can't see any huge difference between that and 20 miles. At this point I think it would be better to just follow the taper plan.

  • Hi James, thanks for the reply. That's my gut instinct at the moment - might be a bit much to do 20 miles this Wednesday, followed by 13 on Sunday. I was counting my taper as starting last week after my last long run (27th) which would have been four weeks, give or take. I was just worried the marathon seemed a long time since that date. Think I'm just stressing though.
  • Dude. If you're a plodder - why would you be doing 19 miles in three hours?

    What time are you going for?
  • Hi cougie, I'm hoping to finish in 4h 45mins. I think I'll be slowing a lot after 19 miles - I was totally shattered, so won't be keeping that pace up : )
  • (bangs head on desk)

    Thank god you missed your last long run.

    You do NOT race the long runs. And certainly not faster than your race pace.

    If you'd done that last long run you'd have wrecked your marathon.
  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Don't get hung up on the 'magical 20'.  It's just a round number and reaching that milestone is not so important for those training for marathons over 4:15 or 4:30.

    From here, if I was you, I would do a long run on Wednesday... but I would be content at having already reached 19.  Probably do 17 or 18.  Then you've got a reasonable long run series - just have confidence in that.

    But as cougie said... SLOW DOWN!  If 4hr 45 is your target, then your long runs should have been done at roughly 11:30 per mile (didn't your plan recommend something like that?).  But you are where you are, so go for the slower pace on Wednesday  - you might actually find that this feels physically harder than running faster... but try to stick to it.

    Obviously I don't know what plan you're following, but I'd suggest that you modify /ease off the plan for the remainder of the week and pick up the remainder from Sunday... including the prescribed 13miler (SLOW!!).

    On race day, don't set out at 9:30 pace like you did on that 19 miler, with the expectation that you'll slow down in the last miles.... because that's exactly what will happent.  Modify your pace from the start.  You'll enjoy it more AND get a better finish time if you set out at maybe 10:30 pace right from the start.

  • Thanks everyone for all the advice. Unfortunately, after feeling much better yesterday, I've woken up with a cough that's gone to my chest : ( Think I'm just going to have to rest now and hope for the best.

    It's very annoying as a week ago it was all going so well. Now I'm just stressing about all the running I'm missing. Who'd have thought I'd actually be missing the training!! I just hope I've done enough : /

    Again, thank you so much for the advice, especially about pacing. I don't have much experience on this sort of thing - it seems it's a fine balance between not doing yourself justice and going so fast you wreck the rest of the run. I have a lot to learn.
  • Hi all, I'm in a similar position - I'm aiming for around 4 hours at London and was hoping to do my last long run of around 21/22 miles last Sunday but unfortunately was ill. I was thinking at this late stage of doing more shorter runs during the week this week then 13 Sunday instead of squeezing in the last long one. Is this what people would recommend?
  • How many long runs have you done R ? Are you over the illness ? You could do it after work maybe ? All depends on what you've done so far and how you are feeling.
  • BikoBiko ✭✭✭

    I had to miss my last long run for London last Sunday due to a combination of general fatigue and my calves not feeling right.

    I've done 2 x 20, 2 x 18 and a 15 so I'm hoping it isn't the end of the world. I'll try and get a double figure run in (10-12m) this weekend and feel my way through. Want to ensure I get to the start line fresh.

    As I wasn't feeling great last Sunday all my runs from now until the day will be as slow as possible. Hoping to get around in sub 4:30, going to start off at around 10minute mile pace.

    I had been happy with my training until the last couple of weeks. But as it's my first I guess it was never going to run smoothly!

  • Sounds like you're doing great, Biko. Lots of long runs in there to give you confidence. I've only done 1x19, 1x18, 1x16, 1x14 due to a knee problem at around week 11-12 - if that makes you feel any better. Sounds like you did the right thing resting if your legs weren't feeling right.
  • I'm in exacty the same position - I ran 19 miles weekend just gone, but didn't run over Easter (well, I ran 8 miles which no longer counts as a long run in our marathon logic) so am considering a 20-miler this weekend.

    I was ill early in training so played catch up and have done 13, 15, 17 and 19 so far.

    Is a 2 week taper a no-no?

  • Hi cougie, I've gone some 15s, an 18 and a 20. I'm still a bit bunged up but did an 8 mile yesterday so will probably be fine To do a long one Thursday or friday (I'm off work for Easter so can go during the day this week). What would you recommend? I think I want to do one last long one for confidence more than anything to know I'm ready!
  • Well if you have a 20 already in there - I'd be wary - if you're not fully fit a long run will just take it out of you and the important thing is to get to the start line, fit and rested.

    Just see how it goes and err on the side of caution ?
  • My longest run was 19 miles in 4 hours because of managing itb niggles, but I'm still aiming for sub 4...
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