Marathon tapering improvement

by Paul M
(West Bloomfield, MI U.S.)

How much is it possible to improve during taper of the 100 day marathon plan ?

"Hi Marius,
I've been following your 3:30 plan and today I ran a test 1/2 Marathon race - and finished 1:42. According to the predicter tool my marathon time would be 3:44. I am not sure why, but my heart rate was really high today too. My question is, do I need to lower my expectations or is there something I can do to improve my fitness prior to race day? I ran a 3:37 6 months ago and I am hoping to run with a friend to get him to a BQ 3:30, but not sure I can do it. What do you suggest?

Many Thanks,


Answer: Hi Paul, my general advice is for runners to use the half marathon time for the predicted marathon time - and stick with it for their marathon pacing.

However, you are in a special situation, as you already have a 3:37 under your belt 6 months ago and with the 100 day plan SHOULD be able to dip under 3:30. The big question is : do you feel your shape has improved since that ? Did you take time off since the 3:37, before starting the 100 day plan - or did you get straight to it ? (meaning : did you allow yourself to lose shape after the 3:37 or did you start the 100 day plan in pretty good overall shape)

Also (very important) : you did this as a test run as I understand, which is never the same as a race. Race day does something to you - and you can never run the same times in test races / practice as on race day. So the time in the half will be a fair bit slower in a test vs. an actual race, which is what the calculator is based on.

In your case I would probably aim for your 3:30 goal in your special case. That is : if you started the 100 day plan in pretty good shape and you feel a good improvement during it.

As for improvement of shape, you can certainly expect it in the tapering period - it is slightly individual but most get the touch in the legs back during that period.

I wish you all the best !

kind regards,

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