Exercise! - Marathon training and tapering

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07-30-2005, 06:52 PM
Hello all!

I know that there are lots of runners here, so I want to ask you a question. I have signed up for a full marathon and a half marathon this fall, and I really what to do both of them. My plan is to train for a full marathon and do the half as a "training run". I don't really care about how fast I run, I just want to finish both races.

However, I have a problem since the half marathon is 3 weeks before the full marathon. Normally I would run a 20 miles run 3 weeks before a marathon and then taper, but this time that won't be possible.

I can either run a 20 miles run the week before the half marathon and get a 4 weeks taper, or run a 17 mile run the week before the half and a 20 miles the weekend after, and get 2 weeks of taper. If that's what I decide on I will take it very easy during the 2 taper weeks, but if I do 4 weeks I have to train more I think... I don't have as much time to train for these events as I should (the full marathon is in 12 weeks), so it's tempting to do only 2 weeks of tapering.

Can any of you offer any advice?

Only Me
07-30-2005, 10:06 PM
First, my disclaimer, I'm only training for 10ks/halfs right now, so I've not experienced the longer runs for marathon training (only up to 24k for me).

If you're treating the half as a training run anyway, could you show up early to register, etc, then run 7 miles before starting the half? That would also probably help you resist the temptation to race the half since your legs would already be a bit tired.

Otherwise, how many 20 milers are you going to be doing? And how do you generally recover from longer runs? I would think a longer taper might be better than a shorter one, but it probably depends on how you recover.

07-30-2005, 10:53 PM
It's been a while since my marathon, but if I were in your place I'd try extending the long run the week BEFORE the half to 20 miles, then do the half (remember to do it as a training run, NOT a race), then start your taper early. You could do 17 the week after the half, but be careful not to peak or tire too soon. Your body will be pretty battered by then from all the training anyway. If you train well from now on, you won't harm your race with a long taper. And if you don't have a lot of time to train, I highly recommend hill work and interval work to build your strength.

Good luck. I wish I was training too - my feet gave out 4 years ago in the middle of a half, and have never been the same since. (I didn't listen to my body which was CLEARLY telling me to go for physio or just forget about the race.)

07-31-2005, 09:34 AM
Racing is much harder than a training run, even if you are taking it easy, so a half is going to be harder to recover from than a 13 mi training run.

Also, I think it is much better to go into a race a little undertrained and well rested, than overtrained and tired. If it were me, I'd go for the full 3 weeks taper.

Good luck,


07-31-2005, 11:17 AM
Hmm... Thanks for your input all of you! You're probably right, I should do the 20 mile run before the half, and maybe a 15-17 the week after the half.

I like Only Me's idea of running more before or after the half too, to make it a 20 mile run. I'll have to think more and listen to my body when I get there.

Hopefully I'll be closer to my goal weight by then too, and that alone will make it easier. 15-20 punds less to drag along should make the hills and long runs feel a little easier!

Thank you all of you, it feels so good to be able to ask all kinds of exercise related questions here and know that I get good sensible answers from you!