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 Question about tapering before a marathon...
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Kansas, OK
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 100

Question about tapering before a marathon... Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:33 pm 

I'm running the OKC Memorial on April 24th.

Last week, here is what my schedule had me doing (starting with Monday)
4-12-4-10-4-16-0 for 50 miles
And this week my schedule calls for
4-10-4-3-0-20-0 for 41 miles

I won't bore you with the remainder of the schedule. Here's the deal: I'm supposed to run a 4 man relay at a different marathon this Sunday. My schedule calls for a 20 miler, so I think that I'm going to do a half-marathon instead. I will do my part of the relay and then run another leg for the 13.1 miles (very hilly). That's still not 20, so what I also did was last weekend I didn't run the 16 that I was supposed to, I instead ran 20 knowing about this weekend coming up. My mileage stayed at 50 though because I couldn't get out of bed on Wednesday. :o)

That's my thinking anyway. What I would like to know is if instead of the half I should step it up and run the 19.8 miles (three legs of the relay) or not. Or have I sufficiently compensated by last weekends run? I don't know. I probably overanalyze this stuff too much!

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Question about tapering before a marathon... Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 5:36 pm 

I'd say your planned half-marathon is more than enough to substitute for a 20 mile training run. After all, you'll be racing the first 10K or so, and the course is a hilly one too. If you're really worried, then maybe try pushing it up to a tempo pace in the last few miles to better simulate the effects of exhaustion and depletion during a longer run.


South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Question about tapering before a marathon... Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 8:11 pm 

If you're recoverd enough to put in another 20 miles then I say go for it. But if you had trouble getting out of bed on Wednesday then you may still need more time to recover. So, rather than run 20 this weekend you might want plan on something like 16-18. It also depends on how fast you plan to run the your first leg of the marathon. Keep in mind, your long runs should be run comfortably easy. If you are racing your leg of the marathon this weekend and then adding additional milage you're going to be stressing your body much more than if you had just done an easy 20 miler.

If you don't need to "race" your leg than I suggest you run at an easy long run pace and do the additional milage at the same easy pace. I've often run in a 1/2 marathon on a day when I was supposed to cover 18-20 miles. So rather than "race" the 1/2 marathon I go out at my long run pace and after crossing the finish line I turn around and go back out and reverse the course. If I need another 7 miles to get in 20 then I run back to the 10 mile mark and then do another estimated 1/2 mile based on pace time, then turn around and head back to the finish line. This still allows me to take advantage of the fluid stations along the course so I don't have to worry about carrying my own water. At the point where I'm ready to turn around and head back there are usually plenty of people on the course so I'm not running alone.

You just need to adjust for what your needs are. Keep in mind, it's best to reverse the course rather than doing another loop (for a loop course that is) because the fluid stations are more likely to still be available in the later miles of the course rather than in the beginning miles of the course.

I did this once at the Staten Island 1/2 marathon to get in a long run of of 22 miles. By the time I returned to the finish line for the second time there were only a few runners/walkers behind me and all the spectators had pretty much packed up and gone home. A few spectators who were leaving saw me nearing the finish and shouted out encouragement to me. I just smiled back and said thanks; I didn't have will power to explain that I had already finished the race earlier and was just putting in more miles.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Kansas, OK
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 100

Re: Question about tapering before a marathon... Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:24 am 

That's funny! Great advice. I appreciate it. I think that I will actually just have to play it by ear. I know if I go at marathon pace I can do the 20. But if I get sucked into the competitive vortex and race my 6.6 leg, I will probably just do the half marathon. I won't know until I get there. How's that for discipline? :o)

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