Have you ever miscounted the number of weeks between when you start a training schedule and the day of your marathon?

Have you ever realized 2 or 3 weeks out from your race that your schedule ends a week or two early or else goes right through your race and has the race weekend actually happening after you are supposed to to the starting line?

About a week ago, I received this email in my inbox:

Question MarkHi Blaine-

I’m running Boston in a few weeks. I made a mistake on my training plan and I’m a week off and I wonder if you can give me some advice.

Somehow I counted the weeks incorrectly and my plan has two weeks left and the race is actually three weeks away. I’m concerned because I ran my last 20+ miler about 9 days ago and I should have done it on Sat (a couple of days ago) On Sat I ran 12mi and I’m not sure what to do next Saturday which will be two weeks out from the race.

Do I run another 12 miler or something longer? My guess is that there is no reason to run another 20 miler (I’ve done three) but I’m not sure. Ack!

Thank you for any ideas!


What do you think that Susan should have done?

The first thing that I needed to know about Susan was what sort of training plan she was on and the sort of mileage she was running, as well as how she was feeling.

Her training plan had her in the mid-40s mileage wise with her peak mileage just over 50 miles in a week. She was feeling pretty good without any excessive muscle soreness or fatigue.

My advice to Susan was to do a 15 to 16 miler this past weekend and then to run 10 to 11 miles next weekend, which would be 35% to 40% of her weekly mileage goals for her taper that she sent me.

I’ve found that for the mid-40s, a 3 week taper can sometimes be too much if you don’t have a lot of trauma to recover from, and since she was feeling well she’d be better off with a 2 to 2½ week taper.

Because Boston falls on a Monday, she gets an extra day for travel and rest for the weekend.

This is good as Susan will probably spend quite a bit of time on her feet walking around Boston and at the expo collecting her bib and chip.

My suggestion for marathon weekend in Boston is to try to pick up your things on Saturday and to avoid the crowds on Sunday, and instead to opt for an easy 2 to 4 mile jog to stretch out your legs and keep your systems cranking along in preparation for the Monday marathon.

Susan was pretty happy for the advice, as without the piece of paper in front of her telling her what to do she was worried that she might peak early and wouldn’t show up on race day in the best shape that she could. Now she has the peace of mind to get her workouts in and knows that she’ll be in the best shape that she can be on Patriot’s Day.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few tips that you can use to adjust your schedule:

  • The easiest thing to do is to just repeat the past week (if your schedule ends early) or skip the next week (if your schedule ends too late) so that race day will fall on the correct weekend on your schedule.
  • If you are only a couple of weeks away from your marathon and you are particularly sore or fatigued, then you may want to add a week to your taper so that your muscles have more of a chance to recover and you’ll have more time to rest before race day.
  • If you are particularly sore of fatigued and you catch the gaff early enough, it might be worth putting in a cut-back week where you run fewer miles and/or less intense workouts than what might be scheduled before resuming where you left off.
  • If you feel really good and the schedule only goes an extra week, then you might want to reduce your taper by a week and either skip the 2nd to last week of your taper altogether or else follow the workouts for Monday through Wednesday of that week and then follow the Thursday through Saturday workouts for the last week of your scheduled taper.

Have you ever had a similar experience? How did you adjust your training schedule? Would you have suggested something different to Susan?