Training

Weeks 13-16: The final touches

This final four-week phase is all about holding yourself together, staying healthy and injury-free and putting the final touches of ‘less not more’ to your running. By now all but the final few bits of hard work are done and you’ll be starting to ease back, run smart, do less, feel stronger, feel more confident (although a few last-minute wobbles are really common), and feel ready to tackle Race Day.

It’s easy to panic in the last few weeks before Race Day. You might think you’ve not done enough and try ramping up the miles. Don’t. You’ll only arrive at Race Day tired. These four weeks are all about balance, patience, calmness and confidence. You’ll do enough running to stay strong and keep building your Race Day fitness but not so much that you reach the Start Line lacking in motivation and worn out.

Week 13

This week you’ll complete your longest run. Focus, plan and prepare. You’ve come a long way since the start of January. Relax, be patient, be smooth and consistent, tick off the miles and complete your long run.

RUN ONE 50-minute easy run
Total: 50 minutes
RUN TWO 10-minute easy run; 10-minute steady run; 10-minute run at marathon pace; 10-minute tempo run; 10-minute easy run
Total: 50 minutes
RUN THREE 28-minute easy run, 2-minute walk x7
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes – or distance goal of 18 to 20 miles
Training tip

There’s no need to cover all of your long runs at target marathon pace. Start off 45 to 60 seconds per mile slower than your target race pace and then ease into continuous (6 to 10) miles concentrating on hitting pace targets.

Want more?

Focus your week on delivering your longest run. Add an extra couple of miles to your longest weekly run to hit 22 miles, and if you’re really feeling it, run the final six miles faster than your target marathon pace.

Week 14

This week sees you run smarter, run less, feel fresher, reach a peak and get race ready. Don’t be tempted to do more and throw in last-minute panic miles or you’ll risk being tired on the Start Line and could even jeopardise making the Start Line at all.

RUN ONE 40-minute easy run
Total: 40 minutes
RUN TWO 10-minute easy run; 3-minute run at marathon pace, 3-minute run at faster-than-marathon pace x5; 10-minute easy run
Total: 50 minutes
RUN THREE 45-minute easy run, 2-minute walk x2
Total: 94 minutes
Training tip

You don’t lose all the training benefits by doing less running the closer the marathon gets. You won’t lose any of the fitness you have gained over the past few months by being sensible and doing less as the race draws closer. Trust your training.

Want more?

Add in an extra 5-mile run at target marathon pace. Hit this pace bang on. Your goal should be to feel smooth, relaxed and in control. Like you could do this run five times over!

Week 15

A steady week of final miles will tie up your marathon training routine. Include some marathon-paced running this week. If you have a pre-race wobble, don’t panic. Be confident, kind to yourself and try to sleep a few extra hours over the week.

RUN ONE 30-minute easy run
Total: 30 minutes
RUN TWO 10-minute easy run; 20-minute run at marathon pace, 10-minute run at faster-than-marathon pace; 10-minute easy run
Total: 50 minutes
RUN THREE 70-minute easy run
Total: 70 minutes
Training tip

You’ll run a better marathon slightly under-prepared and fresh than you will slightly over-prepared and fatigued. Be confident you’ve done all you can. If you’re still not sure then reconsider your expectations and lower your goals accordingly.

Want more?

In your mid-week run, include 40 minutes at target marathon pace.

Week 16

You can only do too much this week. Your training should be light. Run regularly, but just a little, and resist the temptation to test yourself one last time.

RUN ONE 30-minute easy run
Total: 30 minutes
RUN TWO 5-minute easy run, 12-minute run at marathon pace, 5-minute easy run
Total: 22 minutes
RUN THREE Race Day
Training tip

How can something feel so amazing, empowering and exciting yet at the same time be petrifying, nerve-racking and full of so much uncertainty? It’s totally normal to doubt yourself, question your sanity, and worry about whether you can do it. Turn your ‘maranoia’ on its head and take control; reassure yourself and be ready.

Want more?

Remember, this week is about less, not more. If you’re tempted to do more, hold back and save your big effort for Race Day, when it matters.