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when exactly do i start to taper?

It has been a VERY busy time for me. My sister is getting married in less than two weeks, I am swamped at work, and marathon training is reaching a peak.
I have been doing pretty well with marathon training though. I have taken a more relaxed approach to it since my burnout/frustration a little while ago. I run one week hard....2 easy runs, a hill or speed session, and a long run of 3.5 to 4 hours on trails. The next week is just easy runs. This seems to keep me fresh for the hard sessions although I am still worried if I am really ready for this. If 3.5 or 4 hours is my limit, how does that bode for my projected finish time of 5 to 5.5 hours? And if it is going to take me that long to finish (appears so based on my tral half marathon performance) is my body really ready to be a marathoner? Can I even finish if 4 hours is my upper limit? despite some self doubt and maybe some embarassement at the possibility of a 12 minute mile race pace (sorry, I am just a bit self concious, especially at the starting line with sub 7 and 8 milers) I am pressing onward. I just want to finish, check it off of life's to-do list, and see how I enjoy it. If I enjoy it I will definitely be back, if it is a disaster, I will stick to half marathons and 10K's (trails of course!) I must say that I will be looking forward to some time off after the marathon, not from running entirely, but from taking an entire day of my weekend to train, although I do LOVE trails.
I have also come to the conclusion that the trail who's distance I was concerned about is DEFINITELY NOT 5 MILES. I timed myself on the trail and I know I was running at a semi-decent pace (10-12 minute miles) and it still took me 75 minutes to finish! I know I am slow, but not 15 minute mile slow, especially since I was running at a good pace the whole time! I now think that this course must between 6 and 7 miles, which makes some of my other runs a bit longer than I thought (17 as opposed to 15, ect.) I also timed myself on a trail that I know is a mile, and ran it in 11 minutes just to check myself. I guess I really need a Garmin eventually.
Well back to work, I am swamped and lucky I had time to check back in and have some coffee. Hopefully I can catch up with the rest of you soon! Happy Trails...


You seem so much more relaxed about your marathon. That is going to be so beneficial come race day. You may surprise yourself and run the marathon quicker than you think.

I think my longest pre-marathon run was 3.5-4 hours and I ran mine in 5:15 without too much trouble. Thought my first half was 11 minute miles and my second half was 13 minute miles...

Trails rule! It sounds like your taper is going well. You'll do fine.

You need to have faith that those long runs in the bank will see you through the marathon distance. They will! You can do it!

How long is your taper? I've always done 3 weeks for marathons. I tapered 2 weeks for my last 50K and I'm tapering 3 weeks for my upcoming 50K.

Good luck!

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