How close to race day for big runs?

I am doing the Budapest Marathon on Oct 7th. My normal fitness level is around the half M distance. I usually do around one or two 10m runs a month, along with my other gym work and swimming,,, so if a half comes up short notice I fancy I am always able to give it a go.

I have done a few half's over the years but only the one full Marathon, Edinburgh 2 yr ago.

My training was going OK until recently.

I did the Ryesdale Half on 29th July, and did my 16m run the weekend prior, along with a couple of 10k's. Ryesdale felt a little leggy for me going into it on the back of the 16m and the mid week runs,, but was good training value. It was also quite hilly and the weather that day was pretty horrid.

I noticed the following week that I had picked up a couple of niggles and a recurring shin splint had re-surfaced. As I was working shift the following weekend anyway I decided to just do some shorter runs and swimming that week. I had leave coming up in August so was confident of making it up while off. The plan was hit 18m in August and then 20/21m in early September giving me time to taper off prior to October.

My daughter had a birthday part and we were all heading into the town on Aug 14th so decided to get some new running shoes as I though that might alleviate the shin splints,, my old shoes were getting on a bit so thought it worth a try. As such I just kept things up with 10k runs until then.

I went out with the new shoes on Thursday last week, deciding on another 10k in order to break them in a bit prior to doing my 18m run.

Then another setback. I awoke on Friday absolutely full of the Flu. I'm not talking man flu either, its been awful. Full on aches, shivers, fevers the lot,,even my eyes where streaming. I am starting to feel a little better but still aching and sweating so not exactly myself yet. I am hoping to be able to start training again by the end of the week / weekend,,,,but obviously not going to be able to go right back into a 18m run straight away. Fortunately I am off most of next week as well,, its just really frustrating the time I planned to get the most training in I have been unable to.

So how would you approach the final 6/7 weeks training? Can I keep doing long runs up to the end of September? I think I need at least three big runs before but would normally give at least a week recovery from the really long 18+ runs. I think when I did Edinburgh I did two 18's and one 20 before,, or one 18 and two 20's.

Just feel like time is going to dictate more what I can do now than anything. I should say tho that I am not bothered about times etc,,, just finishing will be enough.


  • The taper is typically two or three weeks. Most plans start dialling back mileage at the three weeks to go point. I'd suggest doing your last long run three weeks out rather than two, given your niggles. So that would be September 15th. Ideally that would be a 20 miler, with a 16 or 17 the week after and a 12 one week out.
  • That sounds ok tbh and gives another couple of weeks,, my main concern with whats happened lately its been 3 weeks since I did that half and 4 since I did the 16m. Kind of lost a bit of momentum.

    I know after getting over this flu I cant go right back into my 18m anyway,,, just hope I haven't been set back too much. With all the 10k and shorter runs I hope that will have been enough to sustain where I was already up to (16m),,, so I dont have to go back to go forward again.

    At least while being down ill my legs have had a longer rest period to recover, than they would have had otherwise. The new shoes felt great that one time I got to try em out lol.
  • If it's any consolation, I did a marathon double in the spring with six weeks between them, and managed to get shingles between the two. The furthest I ran during that time was 12 miles. I was only four minutes slower in the second marathon, which would likely have happened anyway as it was hillier and hotter. Of course, I did have the benefit of training for and running the first marathon, but the point I'm making is that fitness doesn't drop off that quickly.
  • I can’t remember who said it, but something along the lines of “if you’re undertrained, you won’t perform to the best of your ability, if your youre overtrained, you may not make it to the start line at all”. Ok, I’m mangling this, but best not cram extra miles that bring injury risk right beforehand.  
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