/ Marathon plan spare week left over...

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abcdef - on 12 Mar 2019

So, first marathon attempt and I have been following a 16 week plan (3 runs per week incidentally) with the last few long runs listed as:

....15 miles, 20 miles, 15 miles, 20 miles, 15 miles, 10 miles, Marathon

I started 17 weeks out from the big day, so If I get through unscathed I will have a week to spare, so what is the best strategy?

Should I make the final 20 miler be approx 22 miles so that it is nearer to the main distance, and chuck in an additional 12 miles so hopefully still leaving enough recovery/taper:

....15 miles, 20 miles, 15 miles, 22.5 miles, 15 miles, 12 miles, 10 miles, Marathon

Presumably 1 weeks total rest will be less beneficial than doing something? Any suggestions?

Post edited at 16:53
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plyometrics - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

Given its your first marathon, actually taking a full week off after your 22.5 mile long run, before heading into your final 4 week block wouldn’t be such a daft idea.

Important to keep your legs moving though, perhaps with some light cross training or very light recovery runs. 

You’ll get lots of differing, but equally valuable, views on this forum with a question like this. 

What’s important to remember is a week off running won’t decrease your fitness and has the potential to do you much more good than harm. 

Best of luck. 

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Irk the Purist - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

I'd stick an extra 20 in after the last 20. No point increasing what is already a long taper.

20, 20, 15, 10, race day

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summo on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

I'd have an easy to moderate week, long run 10-15m. Better to avoid injury, over training, etc.. there is more to risk by having another big week than you'd ever gain. Long distance running is a long game in all respects. 

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SouthernSteve on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

Have a nice week! Don't go mad and don't try anything you haven't done before - be it stretching, cross-training or speed work.

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dread-i - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

Have you tried a depletion run?

Go for a reasonable length run 10 or 15 miles, with no food prior to the run. The idea is that after an hour or so, you use up all the glycogen in your muscles. You run out of easily available energy and have to burn lard. It gets you used to running when you're knackered and trains your body to use fat as a fuel.  You'll still suffer on the marathon, but you can tell yourself that you'd be suffering more if it wasn't for your enhanced ability to use fat as fuel.

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The New NickB - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

Personally I have found that extra 20 milers are of benefit. First one hurts quite a lot, second one a bit less and so on. I also like to run the last quarter of a long run at target marathon pace. I think there is more benefit in that than stretching out to 22 or 23 miles. What are your taper plans? I like to go with much reduced mileage, but lots at marathon pace.

Post edited at 18:07
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Roadrunner6 - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

You shouldn't need a week off after a 20 mile training run.

I'm 5 weeks out from Boston and raced a 20 miler Saturday at 6:20 pace, so around MP.

Sunday was a very easy 7 miles, Monday was 6.5 miles around 7:30-8:00 min miles and tonight I start again with a workout. I'm tired but that's maraton training. Coming in from work getting a spoon and eating from a jar of nutella and then running 10-13 miles is pretty typical behaviour..

If you need a week off run a shorter distance and train more in the week. 

Personally I think more 10-15 miles is more important than odd long runs. 10-12 milers midweek. Long runs help mentally but aren't the be all and end all in terms of fitness.

I'd be more interested in finishing my long runs quick at around target marathon pace than actual distance. 

3 runs isn't much, your long run shouldn't be that much of your weekly mileage. You will suffer running a marathon off 3 runs a week, its not ideal, but plenty do it. 

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Dave B on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

Its very much an unknown how you respond. Quite often the mere fact of using a plan is the difference. 

I was apprehensive about the distance  so felt a longer run would help. What are you worried about?? (on the run!) 

I did a 22 then an 18 miles, but the 18 at a closer pace to marathon day goal than most training runs.. You are doing your training runs slower than race day pace,  yes ? However, the proviso is that the 22 would take less than 3.5 hours... 

I probably could have tapered more though without issue.... 

So that's 3 answers from 3 people.. 

Take your pick and blame the author when it goes wrong . 

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abcdef - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Dave B:

argh - lots of info and now reading on my phone so hard to respond properly. tbh my long runs are around the fast end of my approx calculated marathon pace so far, partly cause I find it really grim to run too slowly. 3 days training so far is straightforward and I am hopefully supplementing it by incorporating a lot of ascent (1000ft in 17 miles for example) - the marathon itself is pretty flat so hope it will feel 'relatively' easier as a result. and depletion runs I am used to as depending on schedule I go out before breakfast quite a bit

Post edited at 18:29
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McHeath - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

In many plans there's a half marathon race run at marathon tempo or faster about 4 weeks before the marathon itself - is this included in your plan, or are they all long slow runs?

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abcdef - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to McHeath:

there are intervals on day 1 of the three, tempo on day 2 and long run on day 3. tempo is up to 10 miles, timings are based around 10k pb. I believe the logic around it is to do the runs slightly quicker than standard marathon plan as way of compensating for only 3 days per week.

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ianstevens - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

Having trained both ways (buckets of miles vs fewer sessions of increased quality) I’d suggest the latter is better for most people - you don’t need to be smashing out 10+ miles five times a week as suggested above, especially if you’ve got a lack of training history (first marathon?). I’d be tempted to say the best thing would be to go out and practice your pacing - so 20-30km at your marathon pace. Gets you a) used to the intensity so you can do it without thinking and b)is a decent training session in its own right. Use it as a practice - wear the same clothes, eat the same food, wear the same shoes, run on the same surfaces/gradients.. and make sure everything works.

Dont overthink it - you won’t ruin your marathon by running to much or to little this far out. Do keep it up though, make sure your extra week matches the others in overall intensity. FWIW best marathon I ever did was impromptu and preceded by three weeks piecemeal training and bad eating.  

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McHeath - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to abcdef:

That sounds as though plyometric's advice to take a week off would be good, since you have no relaxed regeneration runs in the programme - give your body a chance to catch up with itself! ;-)

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