Ask the Experts: Taper and Race Week Q&A with Sam Murphy

Smooth your journey to the start line with expert advice from coach Sam Murphy

41 to 49 of 49 messages
30/03/2012 at 14:09
Thanks Sam! Will check the pages this afternoon
30/03/2012 at 14:10


Thanks for the taper plan - the only thing I'd flag up is the coming week:

20 mile LSR
4 miles recovery
14 miles including MP
Double 5.5 miles easy
6 miles including 1/2 mile intervals
15 miles including Parkrun

See, you have a 20 miler, a 14 miler and a 15 miler all within the space of 8 days. That's a bit much in my opinion, especially as you are meant to be widning down. The rest of the reduction in volume looks good but I'd say you need to reduce that 14 miler quite significantly or you'll be pretty fatigued during first week of taper which doesn't set you up very well for race day recovery.

30/03/2012 at 14:14
knight rider wrote (see)

Hi Sam, some good advice as always on here - good to read all the questions & answers.

Have you got a favourite race plan for your marathons that you stick to? Dr Vic made a good point of braking the race down into smaller chunks, but is there anyhting else you can think of that would help from a mental strength point of view?

Thanks, Colin.

Hey Colin - Great to see how well your training is going.

My favourite race plan is to break the race down into 2 x 10 milers and a 10k. I'll adjust my pace (upwards) throughout each bout. To really make this work, I always make sure I include 10 mile races in my training build up so that I have a good sense of the distance/pace. So I'd run the first 10 miler a bit slower than the second one and then think 'hey, only got a 10k to run now' which psychologically feels good and also puts you in the mindset of running speedily!

The other ways of breaking the race down include having spectators at different points of the course (as long as they are reliable enough to actually be there... otherwsie that can be a mental blow when you're feeling tired and low) or using landmarks on a course you know well.

30/03/2012 at 14:20
sal f wrote (see)

Hi Sam,

If you have a A, B and C target for the race how would you advise running it? Set out at A goal target (PB sub 3hr 12) then slow down if it feels too hard, or start at B (3hr 12-14m)  goal target then speed up at say half way if feeling strong?
The C target for me (3hr 15min) is only for if it goes horribly wrong on the day!


Hi Sally
Hmmm, it depends on how you've set your targets I think. There's been discussion on the forum about having a gold, silver and bronze target - but the point is that the bronze is still a medal - a podium place - so you're still happy with it. Sounds to me as if you wouldn't be at all pleased with your C target so is it really a goal at all?

I think you need to reflect on what is realistic, based on your training for this marathon. What do your build-up races (and/or training paces) predict? And if they predict that your 3.12 time is achievable then go for it, aiming to run a steady pace. There is minimal difference in your pacing to run a 3.12 or a 3.13 anyway, it's literally about 2 seconds per mile so the likelihood of being able to consistently adjust your pace by such a small amount is very low. I think you need to use the evidence from training in conjuction with what you desire to achieve to set the right goal. Good luck!

And thanks everyone! I'm off to get some lunch now

30/03/2012 at 14:37
And Thank You!
30/03/2012 at 14:48
Thanks very much for your advice Sam! This is a good and informative thread.
06/04/2012 at 13:57
Hi Sam,

I have also just had a deep tissue ham string massage and have booked in again for 19th April, is this too close to the London marathon being 22nd April?


06/04/2012 at 18:27

Hi Andrea

Depends on how you felt after it. If you are feeling a bit sore (or sluggish, which sometimes happens) then I would make it earlier that week, say the Tuesday. Thursday is a bit 'on top' of the race. if you keep it that day make sure the therapist knows you are marathon runnin gon the Sunday so they don't go in so deep.

07/04/2012 at 12:38
Thanks Sam, taking your advice and moving the appointment.

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