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Taper vs. One Last Long Run

autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,472Member Member Posts: 1,472Member 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.
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Replies

  • yesimpsonyesimpson Posts: 1,372Member Member Posts: 1,372Member Member
    If you haven't done 26.2 in training (which is fine, I never ran 13.1 before my first half, and managed to complete it in a shorter time than I expected, and I'm sure people do the same for marathons) I wouldn't ramp it up and attempt it the week before the actual thing. Your body will gain more from being fully rested.

    It's normal to have these worries. If you've done 22 miles in training I would imagine adrenaline and grit will take you over the finish line.
  • PackerjohnPackerjohn Posts: 4,859Member Member Posts: 4,859Member Member
    Many marathon training programs don't have you going over 20 miles. Assuming decent mileage during your training program you will be fine and now is time to taper, not run the marathon a couple weeks before the event.

    Best of luck.
  • 60to3560to35 Posts: 297Member Member Posts: 297Member Member
    TAPER!! Your body will thank you for it and you will be on fresh legs race day.
    Have a great race!!
  • pomegranatecloudpomegranatecloud Posts: 816Member Member Posts: 816Member Member
    Taper. If you can run 22 miles, you can run 26.2 miles. All beginner plans have the longest long run as less than 26.2 miles. Do NOT run 26.2 the week before. One week enough not enough recovery time, especially if this is your first marathon, unless, you're ok with a injury or DNF.
  • CodefoxCodefox Posts: 307Member, Premium Member Posts: 307Member, Premium Member
    Taper. You will not regret it. You will definitely regret NOT tapering. I promise. It feels wrong and always will but it's the right way to prepare. You can't cram for a marathon and if you've done 22 miles you are more than ready.
  • RobD520RobD520 Posts: 420Member Member Posts: 420Member Member
    Taper! This one is not even close. If you have done 22 then you are ready. I have finished 10, and generally max out at 20 in my training.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    Yeah, taper. Marathon programs for beginners don't have a 26 mile run, let alone the week before.
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,472Member Member Posts: 1,472Member Member
    Ok. 2 full weeks of taper it is.

    I don't suppose my lax adherence to the training plan changes anything, either. 22 miles was 2 months ago before I failed to complete what was supposed to be my first marathon.

    Seriously - that last 10k is a full extra hour, on top of the other 4 I will already have run. I hear how that sounds like whining, but if it's this easy to talk myself out of finishing an 18 mile training run, I have no doubt that I can psyche myself out on race day.

    The good news is that I still have 2 weeks to do whatever I can to feel ready before the 2 weeks that everyone insists that I must taper. There's no reason for anyone but me to feel invested in any bad news here. I will try to suck it up.

    Thank you all for your advice. I suppose it's helpful that nobody even wanted to debate the side of psychological preparedness.
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 35,819Member Member Posts: 35,819Member Member
    Ok. 2 full weeks of taper it is.

    I don't suppose my lax adherence to the training plan changes anything, either. 22 miles was 2 months ago before I failed to complete what was supposed to be my first marathon.

    Seriously - that last 10k is a full extra hour, on top of the other 4 I will already have run. I hear how that sounds like whining, but if it's this easy to talk myself out of finishing an 18 mile training run, I have no doubt that I can psyche myself out on race day.

    The good news is that I still have 2 weeks to do whatever I can to feel ready before the 2 weeks that everyone insists that I must taper. There's no reason for anyone but me to feel invested in any bad news here. I will try to suck it up.

    Thank you all for your advice. I suppose it's helpful that nobody even wanted to debate the side of psychological preparedness.

    to be fair it sounds like you'e going to do whatever you like regardless of what people are telling you.

    and yes, if you're talking yourself out of 18 mile training runs, you do have bigger problems. good luck!
  • DavPulDavPul Posts: 61,895Member Member Posts: 61,895Member Member
    Ok. 2 full weeks of taper it is.

    I don't suppose my lax adherence to the training plan changes anything, either. 22 miles was 2 months ago before I failed to complete what was supposed to be my first marathon.

    Seriously - that last 10k is a full extra hour, on top of the other 4 I will already have run. I hear how that sounds like whining, but if it's this easy to talk myself out of finishing an 18 mile training run, I have no doubt that I can psyche myself out on race day.

    The good news is that I still have 2 weeks to do whatever I can to feel ready before the 2 weeks that everyone insists that I must taper. There's no reason for anyone but me to feel invested in any bad news here. I will try to suck it up.

    Thank you all for your advice. I suppose it's helpful that nobody even wanted to debate the side of psychological preparedness.

    I dunno, if I wanted to be 100% psychologically prepared I wouldn't run 26 miles before the event.


    I'd run 30. Maybe even 35 two weeks before and another 30 the week before. That way 26.2 would seem easy as heck and I'd be soooooooo psyched up to have such a comparatively easy day on actual race day. No reason to listen to all of these people years and years of running experience. They don't know what's inside our heads. No reason to trust the coaching program that we trusted for months while training for this event. We will show the world a brand new way to do this!
    is that enough debate for you? Can we just stick to the original plan now?
  • MeanderingMammalMeanderingMammal Posts: 7,870Member Member Posts: 7,870Member Member
    ... before I failed to complete what was supposed to be my first marathon.

    So what was your reason for the DNF?
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,424Member Member Posts: 24,424Member Member
    ... before I failed to complete what was supposed to be my first marathon.

    So what was your reason for the DNF?

    I'd be more concerned about the reasons behind that than debating psychological preparedness.
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,472Member Member Posts: 1,472Member Member
    ... before I failed to complete what was supposed to be my first marathon.

    So what was your reason for the DNF?

    I learned on race day exactly what they meant by technical trails. I decided I'd enjoy the rest of my vacation a lot more if I didn't break an ankle falling down the switchback into a pile of cactus.

    I was having trouble following the poorly marked trail, I had no idea how many miles I had actually covered, there were no other runners in sight until I hit the aid station and I wasn't confident that my corpse would be spotted by any potential runners behind me if I did fall off the poorly marked trail that I wasn't even certain I was even on. It was a bad experience all around. Not solely because of the distance.

    The race I signed up for immediately upon returning home is a nice flat road race, where the distance will be the primary challenge.
    DavPul wrote: »

    I dunno, if I wanted to be 100% psychologically prepared I wouldn't run 26 miles before the event.


    I'd run 30. Maybe even 35 two weeks before and another 30 the week before. That way 26.2 would seem easy as heck and I'd be soooooooo psyched up to have such a comparatively easy day on actual race day. No reason to listen to all of these people years and years of running experience. They don't know what's inside our heads. No reason to trust the coaching program that we trusted for months while training for this event. We will show the world a brand new way to do this!
    is that enough debate for you? Can we just stick to the original plan now?

    Indeed, it would be great to be that much more prepared before the race. I've only got the 5 years of experience. I said I heard you guys with all the agreement that I should do the taper. I even said Ok, *I'll* do the taper.

    Thanks, again, for trying to tell me I'm stupid to want to be psychologically prepared by having completed the distance before the race. Do you feel so strongly about it that I shouldn't even try for that distance in the next 2 weeks before the scheduled taper? I'm not exactly down to the night before, here.

    I've yet to follow a coaching plan exactly. I haven't exactly had good luck with listening to all the accumulated wisdom of the combined running experience of the internet. Nope, I'm not even sure what I was doing asking the question if all I was going to do is listen to what you've got to say and then do my own thing anyway. Sorry to have bothered you.
  • stealthqstealthq Posts: 4,307Member Member Posts: 4,307Member Member
    ... before I failed to complete what was supposed to be my first marathon.

    So what was your reason for the DNF?

    I learned on race day exactly what they meant by technical trails. I decided I'd enjoy the rest of my vacation a lot more if I didn't break an ankle falling down the switchback into a pile of cactus.

    I was having trouble following the poorly marked trail, I had no idea how many miles I had actually covered, there were no other runners in sight until I hit the aid station and I wasn't confident that my corpse would be spotted by any potential runners behind me if I did fall off the poorly marked trail that I wasn't even certain I was even on. It was a bad experience all around. Not solely because of the distance.

    The race I signed up for immediately upon returning home is a nice flat road race, where the distance will be the primary challenge.
    DavPul wrote: »

    I dunno, if I wanted to be 100% psychologically prepared I wouldn't run 26 miles before the event.


    I'd run 30. Maybe even 35 two weeks before and another 30 the week before. That way 26.2 would seem easy as heck and I'd be soooooooo psyched up to have such a comparatively easy day on actual race day. No reason to listen to all of these people years and years of running experience. They don't know what's inside our heads. No reason to trust the coaching program that we trusted for months while training for this event. We will show the world a brand new way to do this!
    is that enough debate for you? Can we just stick to the original plan now?

    Indeed, it would be great to be that much more prepared before the race. I've only got the 5 years of experience. I said I heard you guys with all the agreement that I should do the taper. I even said Ok, *I'll* do the taper.

    Thanks, again, for trying to tell me I'm stupid to want to be psychologically prepared by having completed the distance before the race. Do you feel so strongly about it that I shouldn't even try for that distance in the next 2 weeks before the scheduled taper? I'm not exactly down to the night before, here.

    I've yet to follow a coaching plan exactly. I haven't exactly had good luck with listening to all the accumulated wisdom of the combined running experience of the internet. Nope, I'm not even sure what I was doing asking the question if all I was going to do is listen to what you've got to say and then do my own thing anyway. Sorry to have bothered you.

    Well, all the accumulated wisdom is not going to be coming from the necessarily wise and experienced, is it? This is the internet after all. You need to be selective in the advice you take, but surely you've identified a few reliable sources of information by now?

    On the other hand, when EVERY beginner coaching plan directs you to do something, there is very likely a good reason. Glad you plan on following that advice. You'll be glad you did.
  • MeanderingMammalMeanderingMammal Posts: 7,870Member Member Posts: 7,870Member Member
    ... before I failed to complete what was supposed to be my first marathon.

    So what was your reason for the DNF?

    I learned on race day exactly what they meant by technical trails. I decided I'd enjoy the rest of my vacation a lot more if I didn't break an ankle falling down the switchback into a pile of cactus.

    I was having trouble following the poorly marked trail, I had no idea how many miles I had actually covered, there were no other runners in sight until I hit the aid station and I wasn't confident that my corpse would be spotted by any potential runners behind me if I did fall off the poorly marked trail that I wasn't even certain I was even on. It was a bad experience all around. Not solely because of the distance.

    The race I signed up for immediately upon returning home is a nice flat road race, where the distance will be the primary challenge.

    OK, so I can see why the anxiety, but flogging your mileage beforehand isn't the answer. You've already done a 22, so you've got the capacity to complete a 26.2.
  • lporter229lporter229 Posts: 4,901Member Member Posts: 4,901Member Member
    Although it's already been beaten into the ground, because I feel so passionately in favor of the answer, I am going to add one more vote for good measure. Taper! Taper! Taper! I know exactly one person that felt it would be necessary to run a full 26.2 prior to his first marathon. He can run a sub 1:45 half and finished his first full just under 5 hours. Do not underestimate the value of running on fresh legs! And don't underestimate how long it will take to recover from 26.2 either.

    I understand your anxiety given you first marathon experience. But a road race and a trail race are two different things. I can assure you that during a road marathon, you will be able to gain the extra momentum and psychological boost that you need from the crowd support and the other runners. This experience will not be anything like your last.
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,472Member Member Posts: 1,472Member Member
    I'll just reassure everyone that I'm planning on trying to follow the good advice and that if I fail at that, too - you all told me so.

    All other things being equal, assuming I start training even earlier (although, I really can't figure out how an extra 2 months still wasn't enough time to get it done) wouldn't it be the slightest bit beneficial to cover race distance in training before the taper?
  • MeanderingMammalMeanderingMammal Posts: 7,870Member Member Posts: 7,870Member Member
    Not really

    Your back to back longs should be giving you enough.

    In my current plan my 18 is the day after a 10 miler, and both my 20s are the day after 13 milers. Between those sessions you condition yourself to run on fatigued legs.
    edited April 2016
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