How much time off before a half or full marathon?

I’m sure we have all read about different methods of tapering, resting and what to do before a half or full marathon, but what works best for you?

I know a few people who swear by not running at all the week of a race.  I have also heard on the flip side that if you don’t run for 5 days, that is the magic number where muscles start to atrophy.  If I had a race on Sunday I use to not run past Wednesday for my “rest” period.

Last year I did the Runner’s World Run Streak which went from Memorial Day to 4th of July.  I ran at least 2 miles a day. I also had some races during that time frame.  I ran a great half marathon and I also ran my 5k PR during then in a time of 24:52.  Since that experience I no longer take the “rest” days because I personally feel better and have a better race if I don’t.

Everyone is so different and I encourage everyone to figure out what works best for them, so this got me thinking.  I would LOVE to hear everyone’s strategies and what works best for them?


  1. kfouss | 1st May 14

    I typically run every other day – I get fatigued if I run too often. I’m doing the Indy Mini on Saturday and did my last run yesterday (Wednesday) so that I’ll feel well-rested. I think 3 days off will be the magical time. Let’s go PR! 🙂

  2. runswithpugs | 2nd May 14

    I need a few days to rest before a big run. Usually never more than two or three. I definitely won’t run the day before unless my nerves get the best of me. It’s funny how everyone is so different, but we all need to do what works best for us.

  3. beautea97 | 2nd May 14

    I’ve always followed the M, W, Th and long run Saturday schedule. For race week I cut it to M & W until race day. I’ll be curious to read what others say 🙂

  4. kylejkranz | 2nd May 14

    I always taper with a lowering of volume but I keep the intensity up so my legs stay neurologically fresh. If you built up smartly, running too little during a taper is almost as bad an idea as running too much.

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