Marathon Taper last four weeks


I have four weeks until the MK marathon the 6th of May. I run 3 times a week now, 2 *6/7 miles and a long run.

I've done an 18 miles run two weeks ago and a 22 mile run last weekend, not sure whether to do another 22 mile this weekend or cut back to 18-20?

I did struggle after mile 18 last weekend (ran/walked the last 4), but completed the 22 miles in 3hrs 50... So maybe just about on for a sub 4:30 at least...

Not sure what my last 4 weeks should look like though.


  • I would fit at least one more long run in but 20 miles should be enough. How was your 18 miler? What pace are you doing your long runs at? They should be around a minute a mile slower than you expect to be running on the day. You could try slowing down from the start or introducing walk breaks before you actually feel that you have to - you could run for three miles, walk for one minute or something similar rather than run/walking each mile.
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • DaisydooDaisydoo ✭✭✭
    Great news on the long runs RonanM. Been wondering how you were getting on. I managed 2 x 20 mile runs, then 13, and have tapered down with shorter runs (done a 9, 8 and some 6 miles). This week I've done a 7.5, 3 and I'm planning a 2 or 3 miles on Thursday before Sunday. Feels a bit odd, but from what everyone on here says, the taper crazies are just part of the process. Best of luck with the next few weeks ☺ 
  • Hi RonanM
    I hope you don't mind me jumping in here. I saw your thread as I was trawling through some of the forums.I have a project on the go and this thread may tick a few boxes for me here. Anyway,  I may be able to help. I am in my taper phase for London which is in 3 weeks (from last Sunday). I am having a three week taper, a four week taper is also quite ok. In some ways better as it gives you more recovery time. Are you running your marathon competitively, is it your first? Depending on what you are doing I would do this. If you are really only worried about getting around regardless of time and only want to finish then I would be really happy with the fact that you have already churned out a 22 miler. I would in no way attempt another one this weekend. I would cut it right back to about 12 miles, or half marathon distance (13.1). No more, seriously. You could then do a 20 miler three weeks out ( have I got the weeks right here) and have a good taper. I ran my last 20 mile training run last sunday for London and my taper will be 20 miles, 12-13 miles, then right down to 8-9 miles a week out. You need to recover and when you ease off your fitness levels increase considerably. If you could give me some info on your aims and goals fore the Milton Keynes marathon then we could have a look at what to do. Is this your first. Don't want to appear nosey like I am interfering, but marathons for me are a bit of a passion. As I say I can help you. Cheers RonanM
  • Hi Little Miss Happy.
    Thanks. I tend to run everything faster than marathon pace... as I think that if I'm ahead of the game, I can run/walk a bit at the end and still make the time. I'd be scared to follow a slower 4:40 pacer in case I fell off at

    Hi Daisydoo
    Not long for you now at all :) Good luck. I'm looking forward to not running so much for a while :)

    Hi Kwiacanfly.
    I will be 22 days off the race (6th May) this Sunday. I did 22 on Saturday (18 two weeks before this), 6 miles pace (<9 mins) both Monday and this morning Wednesday. I was planning to take Thursday/Friday off before my next long run on Saturday (3 weeks out). I want to get around in under 4:30, but find that after about 18 miles, my legs, energy etc... seems to go on me.

  • DaisydooDaisydoo ✭✭✭
    Thanks RonanM! Yep 4 days and I'm as nervous as a anything. Also looking forward to running less 😂 
  • Ok RonanM.Let me mull this over.Your training seems fine from what you have said here.If you are feeling jaded in the later stages of your long run then a couple of days off before your next long run is not a bad shout. If you have already done an 18, then a 22 miler then you have some good mileage in your legs. What pace are you running your long runs ?

  • Hi. I find it very hard to run slow, feels like I'm plodding.

    The 22 miles went like.... 9:30 for the first 5 miles, then 10-10:20 for the 2nd 5 miles, then 10:45-11 for the 3rd 5 miles, then between 11 and 12 for the last 7 miles...
    Was thinking of either 20 or 18 for tomorrow (3 weeks out)

  • DaisydooDaisydoo ✭✭✭
    Mine get slower as the distance progresses, but I start slower than you with my quickest around miles 3 to 7. It's the body learn to cope and also deal with using up the energy stores. One last long run and then taper time. Not long to go now ☺ 
  • Good luck tomorrow Daisydoo. Smash it :smiley:
  • I did 21 miles today and 22 last week, So now more long runs... My heart rate seemed to stay in the region of 170 which was slightly confusing and maybe even worrying in my late 40's!
    But it went well. Pace of 10m 09 secs for the lot and I didn't need to stop except a drink and gel walk for 60-120 seconds 4-5 times...
    I think I'll take it easy for the remaining 3 weeks though...
  • DaisydooDaisydoo ✭✭✭
    Great effort! Well done. Enjoy tapering ☺ 
  • Hi again Ronan. Sincere apologies for not getting back sooner. Stacks going  on here. It seems as if your last long run has gone well.You have all the miles in the bank you need for your long weekend runs. You can have a really good taper now. I have to pop into work for a bit but will be back on here later. I don't want to tell you how to suck eggs, but the taper is very important and some people still get it wrong. I have 2 weeks to go so I am in the middle of it too. So if I can be of any help I will. Catch you guys a bit later.  
  • Hi kiwiscanfly. Sure. Any advice is uesful thanks.
    FYI I had a 5 mile "walk" today.... wasn't planned, family :)
  • Hi again Ronan.A five mile walk today after a long run yesterday is a great idea. That will help alleviate any muscle soreness. I can fire this your way. The reason many people come unstuck in the taper is that they try and cram in too much or make up for lost time if they have had to miss one or two training runs. The idea of the taper is not just to recover from all your hard yards done on the road, or whatever. This is also the time when your fitnesss levels go up a notch. When you ease off you get fitter. It is all about stress and recovery. Your muscle fibres get damaged when you run and when you ease off they repair themselves and are stronger than before. Your physiological  system adapts to the training you put yourself through. But in order for this to happen you need to cut back. Hence the taper. Cramming in too much in the 3-4 weeks preceeding ( depending on how long your taper is) will possibly have you break down, get injured or not run well on the day of the marathon. There is a load of info out there about the taper. My long runs will go 20 miles-12 miles( done today )-then 9 miles for my last long run a week out. That would suit you. As long as you cut your mileage you will be fine. You can still do shorter faster stuff , just cut back on the mileage. I will hit the track Tuesday for 5-6 mile reps at marathon pace with recoveries as I am running competitively so needs must. But if you are only aiming to finish just keep it ticking over. Your fitness levels will not change much  3-4 weeks out. In the last week you will not gain or lose anything at all !  Sorry this is a bit long and I don't want to interfere but it is inportant. let me know if you need anything more. P.S. a run/walk strategy in your long training run and the marathon itself is fine and sometimes recommended. Again, depending  on what your aims are. Let me know if you need anything else. 
  • Thanks for the advice, appreciate it. I will keep it easy and just keep it ticking over (cut back), and then the last week, hold right back and hopefully I can get through ok.

    Thanks again

    Good luck on yours :)
  • Thanks Ronan. You too
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