Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Two Week Taper

All of a sudden it’s only two and a bit weeks until the Moray Marathon! How did that happen?!


I arrived back from Budapest having not ran a step since my run in Glen Doll – as expected it was ludicrously hot and temperatures were between 38C – 42C each day. That meant that the week which in any traditional training plan would have been chock full of miles was for me, 100% sedentary.


Last year this would have freaked me out, but this training cycle has forced me to work at my most flexible which has certainly been another learning experience. Since I started my 12 weeks of training on the 1st of June (alongside a very stressful new job I might add) I’ve had one week in Derry, one week in London, one bladder infection, two colds, one very violent stomach flu/norovirus incident, and one week in Hungary. Such things do not a conventional training cycle make, but within that I have also nailed a half marathon and a 10 mile race at goal marathon pace and am injury free and happy. I suppose this is evidence that ticking off every run on your training plan isn’t always the only way to find success, but we shall see the proof in the race itself when I toe the line on the 1st of September in Moray.

To this end, I have decided to include one more full week of peak training and instead opt for a two week taper instead of the suggested usual three. I am not exhausted, my legs are not destroyed and I am not dreading my next run so I have a little more to give before it’s time to consciously cut back both mentally and physically before the big day. Maybe this will work, maybe it won’t; but this is the only way to find out.

I am aiming for a sub-4 finishing time and have decided to go out with an aim of 3:50-3:55. This means knocking out mile after mile of 8:46 – 8:57 minute miles, which still sounds a little intimidating, but I’ll just take it one mile at a time after half way and keep visualising doing this again in the last 400m….

Moray Marathon 2012

Moray Marathon 2012 – pic by Ryan Roberts

Finishing strong, like a boss …except this year, finishing half an hour quicker.

I’m trying to find thoughts and feelings I can use to motivate myself to keep pushing in the race when I don’t want to but I’m not finding much so far. I think it’s because deep down I’m not sure how much I really care about getting a sub-4 marathon time in 2ish weeks – it would/will be a great thing for me to achieve, but in the context of what I went through to complete the Highland Fling and what I’m aiming for in the 2015 West Highland Way Race, it seems kind of irrelevant. If it happens, then great; if not, then I’ve had a dodgy 12 week training cycle peppered with illness and there will be other marathons, including one in six weeks time with Kynon that I’m really looking forward to doing.


I’ve had a great ‘racing season’ so far this summer with PBs being destroyed all over the place – there is not reason to believe that my marathon PB cannot join them in bits on the floor. As long as I find something to set alight when I need to start kicking my ass around mile 21-22 then I’ll be fine. I don’t know what it will be, but I believe in myself. Or more specifically; I believe in my ability to bullshit myself into believing in myself for about an hour and a half on the road between between Hopeman and Elgin on the 1st of September. Whatever works, whatever it takes…

1 Comment

  1. Given a fair wind ( and no virus) i reckon you’ll kick its arse. All the best , it’s a marathon I’ve always wanted to do.

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