I don’t really know of anyone who actually looks forward to this day, but the 3 hour (or 18-20 mile run) is obviously an integral piece of marathon training. We built up to one of these runs back in February, then pulled back on our mileage to let our bodies recover in preparation for another peak. Now, it’s time to recover again in preparation for race day.
For our taper we decided to peak now, 4 weeks out, and decrease our weekly long runs leading up to the marathon. So next week our long run will be 2 hours 15 minutes, then 1 hour 30 minutes, and 1 hour the week before the big day. Some plans have the peak run occuring 3 weeks out, but we chose this time frame to give our bodies that extra week of recovery.
We learned from our first marathon in 2010 that our biggest obstacle in marathon running is injuries and wear and tear on our muscles and tendons. Bottom line–if we are not injured, we will do well.
Here’s the stats from Lance’s Garmin: