Fans cheering at mile 20 of the Boston Marathon

After the Longest Long Run, Marathon Training

By: Coach Dan Fitzgerald, Founder/Coach of The Heartbreakers, Co-founder of Heartbreak Hill Running Company


The feeling of relief after a 20-miler. The LAST long run. 


The feeling after you make any movement after your 20-miler. 

"Ah" and "ouch". Relief and soreness. It feels good, don't you think? It's an accomplished pain that's resonating in our muscles right now.

I spoke to so many of you this week who finally had that breakthrough run, that run that confirms for you unequivocally, "I can do this." You finished a solid week of training with a 20-22 miler. You have the sense of relief and the soreness to prove it. All of those weeks of training have been building toward that day. When it comes to marathon day, you'll be sharper and more rested than you were this weekend. You'll be even stronger.

It's very tough to power through that long run. If you had bathroom issues or ran slower than you wanted, don’t sweat it. Be proud of what you accomplished this weekend in the deepest depths of the training program. Now, imagine a day when there are tens of thousands of runners AND hundreds of thousands of spectators powering you through. Race day adrenaline is very real. But, hold that thought: We've gotta talk taper first.

We are still training. Tapering IS NOT time off. It's taking that large volume of running and training that we've done and SHARPENING it. Imagine yourself as a solid piece of granite from which we will carve our final master sculpture of you as a fierce and focused marathoner. It will be unveiled on race day - not a day before. That day is our target and our focus. Each day as we chisel away and sharpen the program, your strength will grow. Little by little, the strong marathoner will emerge more clearly. 

The taper is careful work. We're going to expand the rest period between workout/hard days and they will be a little faster (or the same for some) but shorter and less frequent. 

This week's assignment is to bring your legs back. Be gentle to them after the 20-miler. Stick to your training rhythm (the amount of days and which days you run) but scale it back in terms of your expectation for the first couple of runs of the week. 

Finally, if you have aches and pains ADDRESS THEM! It's time to get the treatments (or continue treatments): ice the aches, roll out the soreness, stretch after your runs. Leave nothing to chance. Chance is the enemy. You should have finalized your nutrition plan and tested it this weekend. If you did not, try again this weekend. EVERYTHING is focused on getting you to the starting line as the strongest, smartest, healthiest runner you can be. 

See you at mile 20 on April 17th. 

— Coach Dan (Instagram/Twitter: @coachdanbos)



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