For the last three months, I’ve been gradually increasing the number of miles I’ve been running each week. When going from running a few token miles to needing to survive more than 26, gradually training up would seem like a sensible approach to take!
But my 20 mile ‘long run’ last Monday marked the end of that process. Paradoxically, even with three weeks to go before the race, marathon training wisdom dictates that now is the point to actually start decreasing the number of miles one is running. So tonight, instead of the expected 10 mile tempo run, it was a much more bite-sized 4 miles (although still at tempo pace).
The idea here is that trying to cover even greater distances at this stage doesn’t increase your fitness significantly, or your likelihood of making it across the finish line. In fact, it can actually have a detrimental effect. Instead, over the next three weeks I’ll be gradually winding down, giving my body plenty of chance to rest and recover from the training it’s just been through, and to start putting away the stores of energy it’ll need come April 22nd. Experienced marathon runners will tell you that if you can run 20 miles three weeks before the race, your body is capable of lasting the full 26.2 miles on race day. The combination of the extra rest, stored energy and the pure adrenaline of race day should carry you those extra 6 miles
So the theory goes, and it’s a theory I’ll be counting on in three weeks time!