As it's that time of year when half and full marathons are coming thick and fast, I thought I'd talk today about a common mistake I see runners make in the lead up to such races... mile cramming. We've all been there, a week or 2 to go, and due to an injury or an illness you've not done the miles that you had hoped to do. You want to be as fresh as possible come race day, but you also want to have some distance under your belt. It can be a difficult conundrum and one I've certainly experienced!
My advice would be that even if you're feeling underprepared, ensure that you taper sensibly. It's much better to be on the start line having perhaps fallen a bit short on the volume front, than waiting for that gun with heavy legs and irritating niggles. Using the 2 weeks before race day to 'catch up' is not just detrimental physically, but it's also mentally exhausting. Doing a long run once a week can be tough enough on the mind, but doing one every other day or so with the aim of reaching a certain amount of miles will leave you feeling completely drained.
So when it comes to the couple of weeks leading up to the big day, don't cram in the miles with the hope that you'll be better prepared. Take your losses, be sensible and you'll be far fresher on that start line. Train smarter... run faster!
Written by Marc Brown