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Taper vs. One Last Long Run

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  • MinimalistShoeAddictMinimalistShoeAddict Posts: 1,958Member Member Posts: 1,958Member Member
    As a first time marathoner whose goal is just to finish the race, would you consider it more beneficial to back off the running for 2 weeks prior to the race, or making sure that you were absolutely confident that the distance isn't beyond your ability by running 26.2 the week before?

    I'm a month out and haven't gotten beyond 22 miles, ever. Ideally, I'd like to hit 26.2 two weeks before the race and accept a slightly shorter taper. I'm just running out of time and worried about Everything.

    I did not read all the responses but am positive that 99% of all experienced runners said taper. 22 miles was longer than what my training plan suggested prior to my first marathon.

    Pushing yourself to run further this close to your marathon is a really bad idea
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,436Member Member Posts: 1,436Member Member
    Or am I still missing some other point that you're trying to make? Please use small words. I'm not getting it.

    You're fixated on your plan having not included a 26.2mi distance. The vast majority of plans top out at 20 miles and people successfully use them to prepare for marathons.

    Meanwhile:
    • The plan you chose wasn't appropriate to your ambition; a four hour plan with a five hour target is significantly different
    • You didn't follow your plan, either pace or distance. I'll assume that as you were winging the plan you probably didn't do the runs in their intended sequence either.
    • Your feeding plan was inadequate - This is a purely planning issue, rather than rehearsal. I take in about 200 cals per hour when I'm running long, on the basis that I'm burning c600 per hour. The only rehearsal I do is using the nutrition on a run to ensure I don't have an adverse reaction.
    • You went out too fast - You ran faster than you had done in training, you recognised that and just went with it. If you'd slowed to your planned pace it's likely you would have completed as intended.

    There are lots of lessons in there for you to learn from, or you could just continue to insist that you're a special snowflake and just winging your own plan that'll take you to 26.2mi in advance of your race is the way ahead.

    With respect to using an Ultra plan, noting that the plan linked to above relates to a 50miler, paces are significantly different. My road marathon pace is 9:30/mi, my trail marathon pace is 10:30/mi, my planned 12 hour pace is 12:30-13/mi in the early stages and I'm fully anticipating that dropping to 15-16/mi later in the race.

    Thank you for your input. Now I understand that you are of the belief that the training plan is the gospel. I have no desire to argue with you about that. I simply do not feel the same. As an exercise in data collection, I may decide to make a better attempt at plan selection and follow more closely.

    You may hold the opinion that my fueling problem was due to poor planning. I will continue to maintain that a practice run would have highlighted the necessity of better planning quite nicely. Sometimes, I need to learn the hard way. I recognize this.

    I did not run faster than I did in training. I made a note of how much my treadmill lies and carried on. To the level of my training. At which point I ran out of gas. We could argue all day about why that was, but I ran what I trained.

    If you're already expecting to have to drop the pace by 2 minutes per mile in your 50 mile race, does that mean that you intend to go out too fast?
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,436Member Member Posts: 1,436Member Member
    As a first time marathoner whose goal is just to finish the race, would you consider it more beneficial to back off the running for 2 weeks prior to the race, or making sure that you were absolutely confident that the distance isn't beyond your ability by running 26.2 the week before?

    I'm a month out and haven't gotten beyond 22 miles, ever. Ideally, I'd like to hit 26.2 two weeks before the race and accept a slightly shorter taper. I'm just running out of time and worried about Everything.

    I did not read all the responses but am positive that 99% of all experienced runners said taper. 22 miles was longer than what my training plan suggested prior to my first marathon.

    Pushing yourself to run further this close to your marathon is a really bad idea

    Thanks. I did the taper. I wasn't completely satisfied with how the race turned out, even though I achieved my target time. I'm still planning to run the full distance in practice before I tackle the next one, and I've picked up a few tips that might help, too.

  • stealthqstealthq Posts: 4,307Member Member Posts: 4,307Member Member
    Or am I still missing some other point that you're trying to make? Please use small words. I'm not getting it.

    You're fixated on your plan having not included a 26.2mi distance. The vast majority of plans top out at 20 miles and people successfully use them to prepare for marathons.

    Meanwhile:
    • The plan you chose wasn't appropriate to your ambition; a four hour plan with a five hour target is significantly different
    • You didn't follow your plan, either pace or distance. I'll assume that as you were winging the plan you probably didn't do the runs in their intended sequence either.
    • Your feeding plan was inadequate - This is a purely planning issue, rather than rehearsal. I take in about 200 cals per hour when I'm running long, on the basis that I'm burning c600 per hour. The only rehearsal I do is using the nutrition on a run to ensure I don't have an adverse reaction.
    • You went out too fast - You ran faster than you had done in training, you recognised that and just went with it. If you'd slowed to your planned pace it's likely you would have completed as intended.

    There are lots of lessons in there for you to learn from, or you could just continue to insist that you're a special snowflake and just winging your own plan that'll take you to 26.2mi in advance of your race is the way ahead.

    With respect to using an Ultra plan, noting that the plan linked to above relates to a 50miler, paces are significantly different. My road marathon pace is 9:30/mi, my trail marathon pace is 10:30/mi, my planned 12 hour pace is 12:30-13/mi in the early stages and I'm fully anticipating that dropping to 15-16/mi later in the race.

    Thank you for your input. Now I understand that you are of the belief that the training plan is the gospel. I have no desire to argue with you about that. I simply do not feel the same. As an exercise in data collection, I may decide to make a better attempt at plan selection and follow more closely.

    You may hold the opinion that my fueling problem was due to poor planning. I will continue to maintain that a practice run would have highlighted the necessity of better planning quite nicely. Sometimes, I need to learn the hard way. I recognize this.

    I did not run faster than I did in training. I made a note of how much my treadmill lies and carried on. To the level of my training. At which point I ran out of gas. We could argue all day about why that was, but I ran what I trained.

    If you're already expecting to have to drop the pace by 2 minutes per mile in your 50 mile race, does that mean that you intend to go out too fast?

    I suspect that you actually did run faster. I've seen several posts by runners who typically run on a treadmill switching to road running, and all of them complained that running at what was supposedly their pace on the treadmill seemed way too slow. Running at what they felt was their normal pace tired them out more quickly.

    Conversely, I've tried to run on a treadmill after road running, and my treadmill pace is quite a bit slower than my road running pace.

    There was a study done that showed the same phenomenon happens with other runners: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22357398. Hardly conclusive evidence, of course, but it does indicate that you were not likely running at the same pace you were on the treadmill, no matter what it felt like to you.
    edited May 2016
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    It's also really easy to run faster in a race without realizing it. I did a 17 mile race as a training run in Jan with the intention to run at my training pace and thought I was until I checked my watch about 5 miles in (I had been trying to run by feel) and realized I was much closer to race pace and slowed down. And even so it was a struggle to keep my pace down throughout the event and I felt like I was going super slow, which is not how I feel during a normal training run.
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,436Member Member Posts: 1,436Member Member
    stealthq wrote: »
    Or am I still missing some other point that you're trying to make? Please use small words. I'm not getting it.

    You're fixated on your plan having not included a 26.2mi distance. The vast majority of plans top out at 20 miles and people successfully use them to prepare for marathons.

    Meanwhile:
    • The plan you chose wasn't appropriate to your ambition; a four hour plan with a five hour target is significantly different
    • You didn't follow your plan, either pace or distance. I'll assume that as you were winging the plan you probably didn't do the runs in their intended sequence either.
    • Your feeding plan was inadequate - This is a purely planning issue, rather than rehearsal. I take in about 200 cals per hour when I'm running long, on the basis that I'm burning c600 per hour. The only rehearsal I do is using the nutrition on a run to ensure I don't have an adverse reaction.
    • You went out too fast - You ran faster than you had done in training, you recognised that and just went with it. If you'd slowed to your planned pace it's likely you would have completed as intended.

    There are lots of lessons in there for you to learn from, or you could just continue to insist that you're a special snowflake and just winging your own plan that'll take you to 26.2mi in advance of your race is the way ahead.

    With respect to using an Ultra plan, noting that the plan linked to above relates to a 50miler, paces are significantly different. My road marathon pace is 9:30/mi, my trail marathon pace is 10:30/mi, my planned 12 hour pace is 12:30-13/mi in the early stages and I'm fully anticipating that dropping to 15-16/mi later in the race.

    Thank you for your input. Now I understand that you are of the belief that the training plan is the gospel. I have no desire to argue with you about that. I simply do not feel the same. As an exercise in data collection, I may decide to make a better attempt at plan selection and follow more closely.

    You may hold the opinion that my fueling problem was due to poor planning. I will continue to maintain that a practice run would have highlighted the necessity of better planning quite nicely. Sometimes, I need to learn the hard way. I recognize this.

    I did not run faster than I did in training. I made a note of how much my treadmill lies and carried on. To the level of my training. At which point I ran out of gas. We could argue all day about why that was, but I ran what I trained.

    If you're already expecting to have to drop the pace by 2 minutes per mile in your 50 mile race, does that mean that you intend to go out too fast?

    I suspect that you actually did run faster. I've seen several posts by runners who typically run on a treadmill switching to road running, and all of them complained that running at what was supposedly their pace on the treadmill seemed way too slow. Running at what they felt was their normal pace tired them out more quickly.

    Conversely, I've tried to run on a treadmill after road running, and my treadmill pace is quite a bit slower than my road running pace.

    There was a study done that showed the same phenomenon happens with other runners: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22357398. Hardly conclusive evidence, of course, but it does indicate that you were not likely running at the same pace you were on the treadmill, no matter what it felt like to you.

    That doesn't seem to be the same direction as I'm describing. When I run outdoors, trying to go nice and slow so that I can finish the 18 mile run, or this past Sunday, racing a marathon, 10:15 - 10:30 is what my GPS reports. If I tried to do 10:30 on my treadmill for 20 miles, I would fail. It is too fast.

    Whatever anyone believes about how fast I was running - if I were truly running even 10 seconds faster per mile than I had in training, I am doubly impressed that I accomplished such even splits for the first 20 miles.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Posts: 21,601Member Member Posts: 21,601Member Member
    stealthq wrote: »
    Or am I still missing some other point that you're trying to make? Please use small words. I'm not getting it.

    You're fixated on your plan having not included a 26.2mi distance. The vast majority of plans top out at 20 miles and people successfully use them to prepare for marathons.

    Meanwhile:
    • The plan you chose wasn't appropriate to your ambition; a four hour plan with a five hour target is significantly different
    • You didn't follow your plan, either pace or distance. I'll assume that as you were winging the plan you probably didn't do the runs in their intended sequence either.
    • Your feeding plan was inadequate - This is a purely planning issue, rather than rehearsal. I take in about 200 cals per hour when I'm running long, on the basis that I'm burning c600 per hour. The only rehearsal I do is using the nutrition on a run to ensure I don't have an adverse reaction.
    • You went out too fast - You ran faster than you had done in training, you recognised that and just went with it. If you'd slowed to your planned pace it's likely you would have completed as intended.

    There are lots of lessons in there for you to learn from, or you could just continue to insist that you're a special snowflake and just winging your own plan that'll take you to 26.2mi in advance of your race is the way ahead.

    With respect to using an Ultra plan, noting that the plan linked to above relates to a 50miler, paces are significantly different. My road marathon pace is 9:30/mi, my trail marathon pace is 10:30/mi, my planned 12 hour pace is 12:30-13/mi in the early stages and I'm fully anticipating that dropping to 15-16/mi later in the race.

    Thank you for your input. Now I understand that you are of the belief that the training plan is the gospel. I have no desire to argue with you about that. I simply do not feel the same. As an exercise in data collection, I may decide to make a better attempt at plan selection and follow more closely.

    You may hold the opinion that my fueling problem was due to poor planning. I will continue to maintain that a practice run would have highlighted the necessity of better planning quite nicely. Sometimes, I need to learn the hard way. I recognize this.

    I did not run faster than I did in training. I made a note of how much my treadmill lies and carried on. To the level of my training. At which point I ran out of gas. We could argue all day about why that was, but I ran what I trained.

    If you're already expecting to have to drop the pace by 2 minutes per mile in your 50 mile race, does that mean that you intend to go out too fast?

    I suspect that you actually did run faster. I've seen several posts by runners who typically run on a treadmill switching to road running, and all of them complained that running at what was supposedly their pace on the treadmill seemed way too slow. Running at what they felt was their normal pace tired them out more quickly.

    Conversely, I've tried to run on a treadmill after road running, and my treadmill pace is quite a bit slower than my road running pace.

    There was a study done that showed the same phenomenon happens with other runners: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22357398. Hardly conclusive evidence, of course, but it does indicate that you were not likely running at the same pace you were on the treadmill, no matter what it felt like to you.

    I run about 50% on treadmill and 50% outside. This is absolutely matches my anecdotal experience -- the two types of running are not interchangable. I would recommend that anyone who plans on doing a road race train outside as much as possible to get a sense for the differences in "feel" and pace.

    I would never say that running on a treadmill doesn't count (it can still be an intense workout and I do use it as part of my training), but it's more challenging to run outside. You're using more energy and you're having to constantly pace yourself and make the decisions that are made for you on a treadmill.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    It's typical to run quite a bit faster in a race than in training.
  • VladimirnapkinVladimirnapkin Posts: 299Member, Premium Member Posts: 299Member, Premium Member
    There is no need to run longer than a couple of hours in your build up to the marathon. (I have run many marathons and ultras.) It is completely normal to feel awful in the final miles, but if you are forced to walk or slow way down, then, by definition, you went out too fast. Don't feel too bad about this, as it is a pretty normal thing to do. Just don't do it again. The value of a training program or a coach is the benefit of experience you don't have, and someone else to blame if the race doesn't work out. If you only do part of the plan, or argue with your coach, then you are on your own.

    And finally, why does everyone think they have to run a marathon? You can be a complete badass and hard core athlete and only run the 5k. The benefit is that you can run one every other weekend without damaging yourself.
  • MeanderingMammalMeanderingMammal Posts: 7,870Member Member Posts: 7,870Member Member
    Thank you for your input. Now I understand that you are of the belief that the training plan is the gospel.

    No. There's a continuum between slavish adherence, and taking a plan and barely following it, then blaming the plan for not including the one session that has little value to the objective.

    Most of my plans end up modified, but it's a question of asking what the value of a particular session is, and how can that value be generated in other ways if there is a change.

    As an example, this weekend I'm supposed to be doing a 1o miler today and a 20 miler tommorrow, instead i've got three races; this afternoon, tonight and tommorrow morning, leaving me short. To compensate I've shuffled other sessions around and added an extra 20 miler, two weeks ago.
    If you're already expecting to have to drop the pace by 2 minutes per mile in your 50 mile race, does that mean that you intend to go out too fast?

    That's goin back to plan the race and race the plan, I have a number of objectives in the duration of the race and there is a big difference between going out too fast, blowing out at the 20 mile point and going out to achieve different objectives.

    It's a 12 hour race, not a 50 mile, so the plan allows for me to complete my objectives, then keep going for the duration. I'm not wanting to overdo it as I have another race a month later.
    edited May 2016
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 35,819Member Member Posts: 35,819Member Member
    Where's the 'flogging a dead horse' gif when you need it?!
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,436Member Member Posts: 1,436Member Member
    There is no need to run longer than a couple of hours in your build up to the marathon. (I have run many marathons and ultras.) It is completely normal to feel awful in the final miles, but if you are forced to walk or slow way down, then, by definition, you went out too fast. Don't feel too bad about this, as it is a pretty normal thing to do. Just don't do it again. The value of a training program or a coach is the benefit of experience you don't have, and someone else to blame if the race doesn't work out. If you only do part of the plan, or argue with your coach, then you are on your own.

    And finally, why does everyone think they have to run a marathon? You can be a complete badass and hard core athlete and only run the 5k. The benefit is that you can run one every other weekend without damaging yourself.

    What is wrong with the culture these days that you think I need someone else to blame? I'm not blaming the program for not getting me there, whether I followed it 100% or barely glanced at it - I'm not blaming anyone here who suggested that I stick to the plan, either. I'm blaming myself for not doing what I "know" I need to do to be prepared for a race - the entire distance of the race. I AM on my own, and I know that.

    If you choose not to run a marathon, that's great. Good for you. I set a goal for myself to run a marathon, which I will complete properly to MY satisfaction, because it is MY goal.
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,436Member Member Posts: 1,436Member Member
    Thank you for your input. Now I understand that you are of the belief that the training plan is the gospel.

    No. There's a continuum between slavish adherence, and taking a plan and barely following it, then blaming the plan for not including the one session that has little value to the objective.

    Most of my plans end up modified, but it's a question of asking what the value of a particular session is, and how can that value be generated in other ways if there is a change.

    As an example, this weekend I'm supposed to be doing a 1o miler today and a 20 miler tommorrow, instead i've got three races; this afternoon, tonight and tommorrow morning, leaving me short. To compensate I've shuffled other sessions around and added an extra 20 miler, two weeks ago.

    The plan just is. I would argue that I gave it more value than "barely following it." The plan is probably completely adequate for it's stated goal. I didn't expect miracles when I started modifying the bits that didn't suit me. I just thought of it as a guideline for building my long runs up to a point that it should support running a marathon.

    Because all the things I had read about glucose/glycogen conversion and rates of uptake, I thought I ran too slowly to ever hit the wall. I don't blame that on the training plan. I was wrong. Fine. Beat me up about that if you like.

    But I did run what I had trained, and it got me to the point that I had trained to. At this point, I'm just trying to reconcile the idea that "everyone bonks around 20 miles" with the fact that training plans don't carry past that distance.
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,436Member Member Posts: 1,436Member Member
    Where's the 'flogging a dead horse' gif when you need it?!

    I could find it for you, but it's probably easier to just unfollow the thread.
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 35,819Member Member Posts: 35,819Member Member
    Where's the 'flogging a dead horse' gif when you need it?!

    I could find it for you, but it's probably easier to just unfollow the thread.

    I actually find all the running advice on here useful
  • VladimirnapkinVladimirnapkin Posts: 299Member, Premium Member Posts: 299Member, Premium Member
    If you really want to have a good marathon, or any race distance, the best thing you can do is run with a club and do workouts with a group. The long run is an important piece of proper training, but it's just one piece. It won't make you go faster. You've got to be doing some kind of strength and speedwork. This can be intervals, hills, etc. This is much more fun and rewarding when you do it with other people. You'll push yourself harder, too.

    But any marathoner will benefit from improving their 10k time, first.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Posts: 21,601Member Member Posts: 21,601Member Member
    Thank you for your input. Now I understand that you are of the belief that the training plan is the gospel.

    No. There's a continuum between slavish adherence, and taking a plan and barely following it, then blaming the plan for not including the one session that has little value to the objective.

    Most of my plans end up modified, but it's a question of asking what the value of a particular session is, and how can that value be generated in other ways if there is a change.

    As an example, this weekend I'm supposed to be doing a 1o miler today and a 20 miler tommorrow, instead i've got three races; this afternoon, tonight and tommorrow morning, leaving me short. To compensate I've shuffled other sessions around and added an extra 20 miler, two weeks ago.

    The plan just is. I would argue that I gave it more value than "barely following it." The plan is probably completely adequate for it's stated goal. I didn't expect miracles when I started modifying the bits that didn't suit me. I just thought of it as a guideline for building my long runs up to a point that it should support running a marathon.

    Because all the things I had read about glucose/glycogen conversion and rates of uptake, I thought I ran too slowly to ever hit the wall. I don't blame that on the training plan. I was wrong. Fine. Beat me up about that if you like.

    But I did run what I had trained, and it got me to the point that I had trained to. At this point, I'm just trying to reconcile the idea that "everyone bonks around 20 miles" with the fact that training plans don't carry past that distance.

    Do you think people would bonk less around 20 miles if they pushed themselves harder in training and had even less physical reserves going into a race? Not trying to be snarky, but I'm not following the logic there.

    Long runs are hard. Doing longer runs doesn't necessarily make you less likely to bonk on subsequent runs.
  • RobD520RobD520 Posts: 420Member Member Posts: 420Member Member
    I finished a half marathon this morning. My objective was to go way slower than I am capable so as to have less recovery issues. (I am working on my second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and don't want to have to back off on my classes this coming week.)

    I though I came out WAY slow. I made the mistake of not turning on my stopwatch, and timeclocks were infrequent on the course.

    This "crawling" pace was 1:12 faster than my goal pace. I have tons of experience, and still can't believe my pace was that far off.

    Perception of effort in a race situation can be really unreliable....
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,436Member Member Posts: 1,436Member Member
    Thank you for your input. Now I understand that you are of the belief that the training plan is the gospel.

    No. There's a continuum between slavish adherence, and taking a plan and barely following it, then blaming the plan for not including the one session that has little value to the objective.

    Most of my plans end up modified, but it's a question of asking what the value of a particular session is, and how can that value be generated in other ways if there is a change.

    As an example, this weekend I'm supposed to be doing a 1o miler today and a 20 miler tommorrow, instead i've got three races; this afternoon, tonight and tommorrow morning, leaving me short. To compensate I've shuffled other sessions around and added an extra 20 miler, two weeks ago.

    The plan just is. I would argue that I gave it more value than "barely following it." The plan is probably completely adequate for it's stated goal. I didn't expect miracles when I started modifying the bits that didn't suit me. I just thought of it as a guideline for building my long runs up to a point that it should support running a marathon.

    Because all the things I had read about glucose/glycogen conversion and rates of uptake, I thought I ran too slowly to ever hit the wall. I don't blame that on the training plan. I was wrong. Fine. Beat me up about that if you like.

    But I did run what I had trained, and it got me to the point that I had trained to. At this point, I'm just trying to reconcile the idea that "everyone bonks around 20 miles" with the fact that training plans don't carry past that distance.

    Do you think people would bonk less around 20 miles if they pushed themselves harder in training and had even less physical reserves going into a race? Not trying to be snarky, but I'm not following the logic there.

    Long runs are hard. Doing longer runs doesn't necessarily make you less likely to bonk on subsequent runs.

    If the marathon distance long run was 3 weeks or more before the race, so that they had enough time to recover their reserves, would they necessarily have less physical reserves for the race?

    I don't know that doing longer runs isn't a learning experience. I can't financially justify a whole ton of races, so I really feel invested in doing well on race day. To me, that means there's no room for surprises. Like, not knowing that my fueling strategy that works for 20 miles isn't going to keep working for another 6. I don't think that there isn't any value in practicing that.
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,436Member Member Posts: 1,436Member Member
    RobD520 wrote: »
    I finished a half marathon this morning. My objective was to go way slower than I am capable so as to have less recovery issues. (I am working on my second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and don't want to have to back off on my classes this coming week.)

    I though I came out WAY slow. I made the mistake of not turning on my stopwatch, and timeclocks were infrequent on the course.

    This "crawling" pace was 1:12 faster than my goal pace. I have tons of experience, and still can't believe my pace was that far off.

    Perception of effort in a race situation can be really unreliable....

    I must've gotten REALLY good at pacing with all that steady state, then. My heart rate for that first 20 miles of my marathon, the miles that I ran, matches with the 20 mile training run that I did on the treadmill, 3 weeks earlier. Within 3 bpm. So, either I can run a pace that is 43 seconds per mile faster than my training run at the same perceived level of exertion without having it affect my heart rate, or my treadmill is really calibrated wrong, like I keep saying.

    edited to add:
    I'm impressed with myself for keeping it down to the level that I ran in training. I know that means I probably ran all my long runs too fast. I'm impressed with how even my pacing was. I never could have done that a year ago. I attribute it to spending all that time working on my cadence. And that got easy when I started editing all the music in my playlist to the same tempo.

    edited May 2016
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