When To Stop Strength Training Before A Marathon: Strength training is a crucial component of a well-rounded marathon training regimen, enhancing muscular endurance and reducing the risk of injury. However, knowing when to phase out strength training in preparation for the marathon is equally important. Generally, it is recommended to cease intense strength training routines approximately 2-3 weeks before the race.

This period, known as the tapering phase, allows the body to recover from the cumulative stress of training and adapt to the newfound strength gains. During this time, the focus shifts towards lighter, maintenance exercises that help preserve muscle mass without causing undue fatigue. The tapering process is a delicate balance; reducing training volume while maintaining intensity ensures that athletes arrive at the starting line feeling fresh and prepared for the grueling marathon ahead.

Stopping strength training too close to race day can lead to residual fatigue, potentially hindering performance. Conversely, discontinuing it too early may result in a loss of the strength gains acquired during training. Striking the right balance is essential for peak performance. To consult with a coach or good fitness professional who can tailor the tapering phase to individual needs and monitor progress, ensuring that strength training complements the overall marathon preparation. By timing the cessation of strength training effectively, athletes can maximize their chances of achieving their personal best in the marathon.

When To Stop Strength Training Before A Marathon

When should you stop strength training before marathon?

Two weeks before, cut out any heavy or difficult strength work that you’re doing. But the first three to four days of your race week, you can do light strength training core work, hips, or anything that’s not too difficult; typically bodyweight exercises.

Strength training can be a valuable component of a marathon training program, helping to improve overall performance and reduce the risk of injuries. However, as the race date approaches, it’s important to taper off strength training to allow your body to recover and adapt for peak performance on race day.

In the final weeks leading up to a marathon, typically around 2-3 weeks before the race, it’s recommended to gradually reduce the intensity and volume of your strength training sessions. This is known as the tapering phase. During this period, you should focus more on maintaining your current strength levels rather than trying to make further gains. This will give your muscles a chance to recover from the previous months of training and be in optimal condition for the demands of the marathon.

In the last week before the race, it’s best to limit strength training to very light, bodyweight exercises or dynamic stretches. These activities can help keep your muscles engaged without causing additional fatigue. To prioritize rest, adequate sleep, and proper nutrition during this period to ensure your body is in the best possible shape for the marathon. Every individual is different, so it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly. Consulting with a coach or healthcare professional who is familiar with your specific training regimen can also provide personalized guidance on when to stop strength training before your marathon.

How many days should you rest before marathon?

Take at least one or two days off from running during marathon week. Some people prefer to take off the two days before the race, while others will take off Friday before a Sunday marathon and do a very easy 20 to 30-minute run the day before the race to work out last-minute nerves.

The number of days you should rest before a marathon can vary depending on your individual training plan, fitness level, and how your body responds to tapering. In general, most marathon training plans incorporate a tapering period of approximately 2-3 weeks leading up to the race, with the final days involving reduced intensity and volume of training.

During the last week before the marathon, it’s common for runners to incorporate a significant reduction in training volume, with a focus on maintaining fitness and allowing the body to recover. The final long run, often referred to as the “dress rehearsal,” is typically done about 2-3 weeks before the race. In the final week, you might include a few short, easy runs or light jogs, but the emphasis should be on rest and recovery.

In the last 2-3 days before the marathon, it’s recommended to prioritize complete rest or very light activities like walking or gentle stretching. This period allows your body to fully recover, replenish glycogen stores, and repair any minor muscle damage. Adequate sleep, hydration, and proper nutrition are crucial during this time.

When should you do your longest run before a marathon?

The vast majority of plans recommend running no more than 20 miles in your longest run, and usually suggest doing so 3-4 weeks before race day.

The timing of your longest run before a marathon is a critical component of your training plan. Generally, the longest run, often referred to as the “peak” or “longest training run,” is typically scheduled about 2-3 weeks before the marathon race day. This allows your body enough time to recover and adapt before the actual event.

The peak long run serves several important purposes. It helps to build endurance, both physically and mentally, as you cover a significant distance that’s close to or at the full marathon distance. It also provides an opportunity to practice your race-day nutrition, hydration, and pacing strategies.

For most runners, the peak long run will be between 18 to 22 miles, depending on the specific training plan and individual fitness levels. Some more advanced or experienced runners may go slightly beyond this range, while others may stick closer to the lower end of the spectrum.

After your longest run, it’s crucial to incorporate a tapering phase into your training plan. This period involves reducing the volume and intensity of your runs to allow your body to recover and be in peak condition for the marathon. The tapering phase typically lasts 2-3 weeks leading up to the race, with the final days involving light activity and rest.

How many gels per marathon?


If you are running under 60 minutes, top off your energy with an Energy Gel or four Energy Chews five-minutes before you get going. For runs over 60 minutes, you need to bring fuel along with you. We recommend eating one Energy Gel or four Energy Chews every 45 minutes along the way.

The number of energy gels you should consume during a marathon depends on several factors including your individual energy needs, your training level, and how well your body tolerates them. Energy gels are a concentrated source of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and sometimes caffeine, designed to provide a quick and easily digestible source of fuel during endurance activities.

A general guideline is to aim for around 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour during a marathon. Most energy gels contain about 20-30 grams of carbohydrates. This means that you might aim to consume one gel every 45 minutes to an hour during the race. To practice this strategy during your training runs to see how your body responds.

To drink water along with the gels to aid in absorption and prevent potential stomach discomfort. Water stations along the marathon route provide an opportunity to hydrate in conjunction with consuming gels.

It’s worth noting that some gels also contain caffeine, which can provide an additional performance boost for some individuals. If you choose to use gels with caffeine, be mindful of your overall caffeine intake and consider how it might affect your performance.

What is a good breakfast before a marathon?

A big breakfast on race morning might cause stomach upset. Instead, try to eat at least an hour before the race. Many people opt for easy-on-the-stomach carbohydrate foods, like a banana with peanut butter, toast and jam, a granola bar and a piece of fruit, or some sports drink/juice.

A good breakfast before a marathon should provide a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and a moderate amount of healthy fats. The meal should be easily digestible and familiar to your digestive system, as race day is not the time to try new foods. Aim to eat your breakfast about 2-3 hours before the race to allow for digestion and minimize the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort.

A classic marathon breakfast option is oatmeal topped with fruits, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds. This combination provides complex carbohydrates for sustained energy, fiber for satiety, and a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

Alternatively, a whole-grain toast or bagel with a spread of peanut or almond butter, along with a banana, can also be a great choice. The bread provides carbohydrates, while the nut butter offers protein and healthy fats, and the banana provides additional carbohydrates and potassium.

For those who prefer a lighter option, a smoothie made with banana, Greek yogurt or a plant-based alternative, and a scoop of protein powder can be a convenient and easily digestible choice. This provides a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and some healthy fats.

Should you drink milk before a marathon?

Whether you can tolerate dairy products before running depends on your sensitivity to lactose and how much and when you consume them. While dairy products can give some people stomach upsets or other forms of gastrointestinal (GI) distress, there are ways you can still enjoy them before a run.

Drinking milk before a marathon can be a part of a balanced pre-race nutrition plan, but it’s important to consider individual tolerance and preferences. Milk is a good source of protein, carbohydrates, calcium, and other essential nutrients, which can be beneficial for providing sustained energy during a long race.

To be aware of your own digestive system’s response to milk. Some individuals may experience discomfort or digestive issues when consuming dairy before a strenuous activity like a marathon. If you know that milk doesn’t sit well with you, it’s best to avoid it in the hours leading up to the race to prevent potential discomfort or gastrointestinal issues.

If you do decide to include milk in your pre-marathon meal, consider opting for a low-fat or lactose-free option, as these tend to be gentler on the stomach for some people. Pairing milk with other easily digestible foods like cereal, oats, or a banana can help balance the nutrient profile and provide a well-rounded source of energy.

The most important factor is to choose foods and beverages that you have successfully consumed before during your training runs. Practice your pre-race nutrition plan during your long training runs to ensure it provides the energy and comfort you need on race day. Consulting with a sports nutritionist or dietitian can also provide personalized guidance based on your specific dietary needs and preferences.

How often should marathon runners strength train?

Twice per week

The hard part for runners is fitting it in around run’s and ensuring you do so that DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) does not impact on your training sessions. How often should runners’ strength train? Ideally twice per week, giving 3-4 days of recovery between strength training sessions.

Marathon runners should incorporate strength training into their overall training regimen to improve performance, prevent injuries, and promote overall health. A well-rounded strength training program can help increase muscular endurance, stability, and power, all of which are valuable assets for marathon runners.

Ideally, marathon runners should aim to include strength training sessions 2-3 times per week. These sessions should focus on exercises that target key muscle groups involved in running, such as the legs, core, and upper body. Compound movements like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and planks can be particularly effective in building overall strength.

To strike a balance between strength training and running. The timing of strength training sessions relative to running workouts is crucial. For example, it’s generally recommended to schedule strength training on days when you have lower-intensity or shorter runs, or on days when you’re not running at all. This allows for adequate recovery between sessions and helps avoid overtraining.

As the marathon race date approaches, it’s advisable to gradually reduce the intensity and volume of strength training sessions during the tapering phase. This ensures that your muscles are fresh and ready for the demands of the race. To listen to your body and adjust your strength training routine based on how you feel throughout your training cycle.

Does weight lifting help to prepare you for a marathon?

Conclusion. Weight lifting is crucial for marathon runners, as it improves endurance, prevents injury, and increases strength and muscle mass.

Weight lifting can be a valuable component of marathon preparation. While running is the primary focus of marathon training, incorporating a well-structured strength training program can offer several benefits. 

Firstly, weight lifting helps to improve muscular strength and endurance. This can enhance running economy, form, and overall performance. Stronger leg muscles, particularly in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, can generate more power and support your body’s stability throughout the marathon. A strong core and upper body can help maintain proper posture and arm movement, which can be especially important during long races.

Secondly, strength training can help prevent injuries. A balanced strength program that targets both major muscle groups and stabilizers can correct muscle imbalances and weaknesses. This, in turn, reduces the risk of overuse injuries that can occur during high-mileage marathon training.

Lastly, weight lifting contributes to overall fitness and body composition. It can help increase lean muscle mass, which can lead to improved metabolism and body fat percentage. This can be beneficial for marathon runners in terms of energy efficiency and overall health.

When To Stop Strength Training Before A Marathon


The timing of when to conclude strength training in preparation for a marathon is a critical consideration for any serious runner. The tapering phase, typically occurring 2-3 weeks before the race, plays a pivotal role in allowing the body to recover, adapt, and ultimately perform at its best. By gradually reducing the intensity and volume of strength training during this period, athletes strike a delicate balance between preserving muscular endurance and avoiding undue fatigue.

Failing to adhere to this tapering timeline could potentially lead to suboptimal performance on race day. The residual fatigue from intense strength training sessions could hinder an athlete’s ability to execute their marathon strategy effectively. On the other hand, discontinuing strength training too early may result in a loss of the hard-earned gains achieved during training.

Individualized guidance from a coach or fitness professional is invaluable in tailoring the tapering phase to an athlete’s specific needs. This personalized approach ensures that strength training complements the overall marathon preparation, rather than detracting from it. With a well-timed cessation of strength training, athletes stand a greater chance of reaching their full potential on race day, crossing the finish line with a sense of accomplishment and pride. By understanding the importance of this strategic pause in strength training, runners can enhance their chances of a successful and fulfilling marathon experience.

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