3 Week Marathon Taper (sub 3:30 target runner)

Average Weekly Training Hours 03:35
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 03:35
Training Load By Week

This is a three week taper designed for runners targeting a sub 3:30 road marathon and has been prepared by Dr Garry Palmer

Over the period of 22 days, the taper in achieved by reducing both volume and duration of the sessions, whilst maintaining intensity.

The plan is best targeting to runners who have been running a minimum of 60 km (40 miles) per week for at least the previous 8-12 weeks in preparation phase. It also assumes they will have previously undertaken at least 2 long steady runs over at least 32 km (20 miles).

The plan uses a combination of target distance (for interval sessions) and heart rate based zone running (for longer aerobic efforts), but the athlete can easily switch these metrics to use the plan as duration based or pace based training sessions.

The plan is suitable for any road based marathon. However, please note, it assumes that race day is on a SUNDAY. The plan can be reused for future races.

The sessions prescribed are based on Dr Palmers book Elite Performance Running; From Middle Distance to Marathon

Sample Day 1
21.75mi
Long Steady Run

This is your FINAL long steady run and should be done very close to target marathon race pace, or around 10 seconds per km slower.

This is an excellent opportunity to check your race day kit is not causing any problems, rubbing, blisters or sores.

If possible, do the long run as part of an organised event, so that you can benefit from running with others, and have access to water and feed stations. If needed use a shorter event, such as a 10 mile run, or half marathon, and do a pre-event run to add the distance, but time this well so that you get to the start line as the event starts, or a few minutes after the events has started.

Sample Day 2
0:30:00
Roll and Stretch

As you get stronger you will also get stiffer. It is really important you maintain mobility and are fully aware of any niggles that could potentially hamper your performance. Get on top of them before they halt you in your tracks!

If in doubt get advice from a Sports Physiotherapist who has experience of working with runners, and get them to show you some specific stretches that are relevant to you.

Sample Day 3
1:30:00
80TSS
90 mins Steady Aerobic Endurance

The bread and butter of your fitness is to develop the best cardiovascular fitness possible. These sessions may (at first) appear tedious, but holding a fixed heart rate will ensure you get an excellent whole body work out. At the end of the session your legs will know they have worked, but with good post-exercise recovery practices you should recover really quickly.

Sample Day 4
0:30:00
Roll and Stretch

As you get stronger you will also get stiffer. It is really important you maintain mobility and are fully aware of any niggles that could potentially hamper your performance. Get on top of them before they halt you in your tracks!

If in doubt get advice from a Sports Physiotherapist who has experience of working with runners, and get them to show you some specific stretches that are relevant to you.

Sample Day 5
2:00:00
110TSS
120 mins Steady Aerobic Endurance

The bread and butter of your fitness is to develop the best cardiovascular fitness possible. These sessions may (at first) appear tedious, but holding a fixed heart rate will ensure you get an excellent whole body work out. At the end of the session your legs will know they have worked, but with good post-exercise recovery practices you should recover really quickly.

Sample Day 6
0:30:00
Roll and Stretch

As you get stronger you will also get stiffer. It is really important you maintain mobility and are fully aware of any niggles that could potentially hamper your performance. Get on top of them before they halt you in your tracks!

If in doubt get advice from a Sports Physiotherapist who has experience of working with runners, and get them to show you some specific stretches that are relevant to you.

Sample Day 8
16.16mi
Long Steady Run

This long steady run and should be done very close to target marathon race pace, or around 10 seconds per km slower. It is shorter than the run you did last week, and you should be comfortable running this significantly shorter distance.

This is another excellent opportunity to check your race day kit is not causing any problems, rubbing, blisters or sores.

If possible, do the long run as part of an organised event, so that you can benefit from running with others, and have access to water and feed stations. If needed use a shorter event, such as a 10 mile run, or half marathon, and do a pre-event run to add the distance, but time this well so that you get to the start line as the event starts, or a few minutes after the events has started.