Adjusting Your Marathon Training Due To Injury

BY Hal Higdon

Has an injury affected your marathon training? Hal helps a runner re-work their schedule to still show up prepared on race day.

Have a question about running? You’re in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon’s Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


I am currently training for the Flying Pig Marathon in May. Due to illness and an injury that took away two weeks of running, my long run schedule has gotten out of whack. I still want to try to do the full marathon, but I also want to make sure I do it by building up my long runs safely. My longest run so far has been 13 miles. With six weekends left before race weekend, any tips on how to adjust my long run schedule? I have been using Novice 1, but this will be my fourth marathon, so I do have experience with the distance. I thought I might skip some of the stepback weeks, or reduce my taper, but thought I first better check with you to see if there is a better option.


I am less worried about your not getting in that final 20 than I am in your reinjuring yourself by finishing the program too aggressively. If this were your first marathon, my advice might be different, but maybe not. Let me suggest this for a strategy. If my math is correct, you are about to go into week 13 with an 18-mile run followed by a stepback 14, then 20: 18-14-20. How about doing instead 14-15-16? You’ve gone the distance before. Doing a final 20 is partly physical and partly psychological. Trust your running base to get you those extra 10 miles on race day.

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About Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for ‘Runner’s World‘ and author of 34 books, including the best-selling ‘Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide’. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that over a quarter of a million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks. Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans — check out more of Hal Higdon’s training plans on his website.