Or do you think you are behind? Has work, school, life, etc. interfered with your marathon training? Is training not going as well as you had envisioned? With four weeks until race day, you may find yourself asking, can I really do this? Did I train enough? Did I do enough long runs? Well, we are here to put those feelings to rest.
Let us be the first to tell you that these feelings of “self-doubt” are extremely common and, well, quite normal. We can assure you that the majority of you are exactly where you want to be. You have done the training, if you continue to follow the schedule as written, you will soon realize that you have done more than enough to accomplish your goals. Missing a workout or long run is expected; that’s why we train for several months.
The people we are reaching out to are the ones trying to cram 20+ weeks of training into one month (and you thought we didn’t know); hills, speed, tempo, long runs, etc. It’s like studying for a final exam the night before. It’s impossible to learn a semester’s worth of information in just one night. A marathon is no different.
If you are healthy—and are willing to be dedicated over the next month—we are here to tell you that the marathon is still possible (as long as today is not your first day of your training); however, we want to ensure you focus on the right training variables to make sure you get to the starting line as healthy as possible.
Here are a few helpful hints:
1- Focus your workouts over the next month on your easy, conversational pace. The key at this point is “time on your feet” (frequency and duration). We recommend running 3-4x/week: 2-3 short runs x 45-60 minutes and one long run.
2– Respect the distance and change your goals from compete to complete. It’s important to realize your training didn’t go as well as expected, so this is not the race to try to set a PR or BQ.
3- Implement cross training such as cycling to increase the overall volume and intensity of your training.
4- Increase your long run by 20-30 minutes over the next two weekends, keeping in mind that your longest run should not exceed 3 hours. You’ll benefit on race day in getting some extra mileage.
5- Modify your taper. Many programs recommend a three-week taper to give your body enough time to recover before the race. However if your volume hasn’t been as high as the schedule recommends, you don’t need quite as much time to recover. Talk to the coaches about how to best shorten your taper.