“In Week 5, drop your mileage 25–30%,” says Gisselman. You’ll keep training hard, but not as long—you’re giving your body a chance to recover. In Week 6, pick up with the mileage you left off at in Week 4.
Make one of your workouts a hill session. Find a hill of any length and try to run 2,000 total meters on it. “If you have a 500-meter hill,” says Gisselman, “you’ll have to run it four times. If you have a 50-meter hill, just run faster.” Find a pace that you can keep for whatever distance you have available and add 20 seconds. Run up the hill, walk back down, and repeat until you’ve hit your 2,000 meters. Add either distance or intensity over time.
The last two weeks before the race are known as the “taper.” “You’ve accumulated a lot of [mileage] over 10 weeks,” says Gisselman, “which has enhanced your car- diovascular system and strengthened the tendons in your lower body.” Now the goal is to maintain it and recover until race day.
Limit your runs to about five miles at race pace, and cut out the hills and interval training. Your workouts should feel short and fairly easy.
Many marathons begin early in the morning, so spend the week before the race getting up early to acclimate. A few days out, prepare everything you’ll need for the race, including any nutrition you plan to consume on the road. Above all, be consistent. The morning of is no time to experiment with anything that may have a negative effect on your performance. Give yourself every chance to feel positive and assured when you take off from the starting line that morning.