How much should I run in the week be­fore a marathon?

Runner's World (UK) - - TRAINING -

Get­ting your ta­per right is a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in achiev­ing a good per­for­mance. Too much run­ning in the last week will leave you tired, rather than re­cov­ered, and not fully reap­ing the ben­e­fits of your train­ing. But some run­ning is needed to keep your legs tick­ing over and stop you feel­ing flat on race day. Just how much will be partly de­pen­dent on how much run­ning you nor­mally do. A gen­eral rule is to run ap­prox­i­mately one third of your usual vol­ume but, of course, the type and amount you do on each par­tic­u­lar day of the last week is im­por­tant.

Ta­per­ing is a very in­di­vid­ual thing, and dif­fer­ent ta­pers work for dif­fer­ent run­ners. Even many top elite ath­letes like to take one or two days off be­fore a marathon. Ex­pe­ri­ence and look­ing back at pre­vi­ous pleas­ing per­for­mances will help you find the ta­per strat­egy that works best for you. The fol­low­ing is a guide for a run­ner who usu­ally trains most days of the week.

Pre­sum­ing your marathon is on a Sun­day it's good to do your last longish run (9-12 miles, at most) the Sun­day be­fore, hav­ing done a ses­sion with some pace within the two pre­vi­ous days. On the Mon­day, try a short, easy run of around 5 miles, or rest. On Tues­day or Wed­nes­day, do some easy run­ning and a mini in­ter­val ses­sion to keep your mus­cles fir­ing, run­ning the in­ter­vals a lit­tle quicker than race pace. Try 6 x 75 secs or 4-5 x 2 mins, with 90 sec­onds’ re­cov­ery be­tween ef­forts. On Thurs­day, try a short run of 3-4 miles. On Fri­day, rest or do a short run of 2-3 miles with per­haps 3-4 very easy strides. Satur­day should be a short run of 2-3 miles, or rest.

THE BAL­ANCE Do some run­ning in the fi­nal week be­fore a marathon, but leave enough for the big day.

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